Case Study: Building a Better System

TekPartners Case Study - Building a Better System

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Business Situation

The client, a well-known cruise line, had been working with a system to manage guest accounts that was not meeting the company’s needs efficiently. While they had been able to introduce a universal guest account system for online bookings and other functions, the system was not able to truly unite all of a guest’s data under one account in a meaningful way for the cruise line.

The goal was to have a universal account for each guest that would encompass the guest’s history across several different brand entities owned by the client. However, due to incomplete or bad data collected over the years, the client was having problems with duplicate records for many guests instead of one complete account.

There were also issues with conflation of guests that had similar names and histories, guests with thousands of duplicate records, and other significant data problems. In addition to these backend issues, the client had a large backlog of tickets to work through, as well as a long line of incoming new tickets that were the result of guests having account issues related to the system’s longstanding problems.

Since a member of the client’s team had previously worked with our team here at TekPartners, the client reached out to our Professional Services division for assistance with these obstacles.

The Solution

TekPartners provided the client with four consultants to begin with and the team quickly grew to eleven as the project continued. The original timeframe for the project was eight weeks, but was extended to several months as the scope of the work became more clear. The client then continued the partnership as our team consistently exceeded the goals and expectations set forth.

The original goal was to work on the client’s thousands of backlogged tickets where guests had reached out for assistance while also handling newly created tickets. The team made a non-stop effort to clear that backlog and then proceeded to resolve tickets as fast or faster than they were coming in, effectively preventing the backlog from increasing. Due to the vast numbers involved, this was a huge effort by the team and helped the client better serve guests immediately.

The team then moved toward finding a better solution for the incoming tickets by identifying a system that helped guests more effectively request assistance with certain account issues. Our staff also worked to assist the client with data cleansing that would further support clearing the problems that created the backlog in the first place. These efforts are still ongoing as there were multiple issues in play that required a sophisticated approach over time to prevent data loss.

Results

From the start, our team worked diligently to clean data at a rapid pace and assist thousands of the client’s guests with their account issues. In less than a year, the client was able to quantify their bad data, identify where it was coming from, and begin working to fix those problems – all thanks to the efforts of our team.

One of the key solutions to the client’s data issues was streamlining the way guest account creation worked and the way data discrepancies were handled in the backend. This had been affecting the client’s business because the guest account system is a touchpoint for all guests throughout their trip. If there were issues tying a guest with previous cruises, for example, this detracted from the overall experience and led to further problems in the backend.

Under the old system, it was mandatory for guests to match their personal information to their reservation. If there was any discrepancy, the reservation would not link to their account and would funnel the guest to reach out to the team for assistance. This was the reason for a large portion of the backlogged tickets.

The new system would allow the guest to link their information with their reservation if enough criteria matched and did not demand that all data match perfectly. Rather than putting the burden on the guest to reach out to the team, the new system would trigger an email to the team to review the data point in question and escalate the case as needed.

Total Ticket Volume Trends(Open image in new window.)

The new system was implemented in November in the chart on the previous page. As illustrated here, the number of tickets created increased in the beginning as the system caught many data discrepancies for the team to handle. Over time, the team caught up, cleared the backlog, and brought the number of tickets down drastically from the historical average.

It was important to create an efficient method for identifying bad data while still giving guests an optimal experience. This system shifted the burden from the guest while simultaneously making it much easier for the team to find and handle issues in a timely manner instead of adding to a backlog.

Identifying the sources of the bad data was another important factor in helping the client streamline systems to pinpoint the issues and work toward better methods with those entities responsible for many of the errors. Going forward, our team will assist in these efforts by working on a real-time feed identifying the sources of bad data to help catch errors early on and avoid the mistakes of the past. Other ripple effects of our work with the client include changes to other processes and training for staff on the effects of these bad data points on the overall business.

Due to the number of issues our team fixed, the timeliness and quality of our work, and the insights we were able to provide the client, our team vastly exceeded the goals and expectations set forth in the original project. As a result, we continued to work with the client for much longer than the original eight weeks set forth, extending the project beyond the original timeline. We continue to work with this client to this day in order to assist with further projects.

Client Profile

The client is a well-known cruise line famous for its premier ships and world class vacations. An innovator in the cruise industry, this client has been the first to introduce many new entertainment options on board its ships. They are also known for taking guests to some of the world’s greatest destinations and being a leader in providing excellence service throughout the journey.

 

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