Airline Cuts Awards E-Mail Volume 75 Percent

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ATA Airlines Inc., Indianapolis, achieved a 75 percent reduction in e-mail volume for its ATA Travel Awards Program by automatically answering customers' questions via the Web, its Web-based customer service provider said this week.


The cost savings is estimated to exceed $136,000 annually, according to RightNow Technologies, Bozeman, MT.


ATA's program has surpassed 500,000 members.


ATA's 200-plus online answers are viewed more than 100,000 times monthly. More than 97 percent of customers who use the company's Web self-service resources find what they are looking for without requiring personal assistance from ATA staff.


Those customers who require personal assistance enter their questions into the RightNow e-mail system, which lets ATA customer service managers track the progress through resolution and to ensure a reply is delivered within 48 hours.


"When you make it easy to find answers online and you respond quickly to your customers' e-mails, they have greater confidence in your company and your programs," said Staci Pfingsten, ATA's award program marketing manager. "That confidence is key to building your business."


ATA is expanding its use of RightNow to other departments. Its human resources department is using RightNow to provide online answers to the tens of thousands of job applicants to ATA monthly. That lets the company manage all those applications with just one HR staffer.


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