Flying under the radar to improve business systems and customer service

Flying under the radar with Email Hippo

Directline Flights is a UK based, flight-only travel agency, providing a value-added interface between airlines and travellers.

As the no-frills airlines pay no commission, Directline Flights charges a service fee and offers bookers the benefit of having a real person to help advise, book flights and manage their booking.

Typical clients are a bit older, they’re confident enough to look and book online but not necessarily as tech-trusting as Millennials. That’s why it’s important that the website is simple and easy to use. Tony Bradley, Managing Director of Directline Flights explains how it works; “We make people feel as though they’ve just walked through the door of a friendly, local travel agent. We provide an extremely easy friction-free user experience and build trust and loyalty with our clients. When we correspond by email, we use real names and encourage replies, as we are all about reassurance and customer service.”

The problem caused by a bad email address

Email is absolutely key to the business. It’s vital that accurate email addresses are used when flights are booked. That’s because booking flights can be stressful. If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive quickly, the booker will complain, or may even think the transaction hasn’t gone through, panic and book again.

When a bad email address was entered, Directline Flights’ first contact then became dealing with a complaint. They were either be explaining that a booker has typed their email address badly, or having to unravel a double booking directly with the airline. Liaising with no-frills airlines isn’t straight forward; many have such strict booking policies that refunds can’t be given. A bad email address causes wasted time, expense and inconvenience all round.

Before Email Hippo was integrated, about 2% of people made a typing error when booking. That’s not a big number, but the impact on the business was significant. The company sells about 500 flights a day, so 35-70 people a week were entering the wrong email address and generating all sorts of problems.

As the number of bookings grew, email unravelling rose up the list of daily irritations until reaching a point when Tony and his team went to their web developers to look for a solution.

Because errors come from such a small percentage of bookers, Tony didn’t want everyone having to enter their address twice. Most clients tend to be careful and accurate, it’s just the occasional typing slip-up that needs to be caught early.

Four hours later, problem solved!

They needed to eliminate errors without creating an extra step in the booking solution. That’s when the website developers got involved - and Directline Flights discovered email validation. Email Hippo was the most expensive service considered, but the developers trusted it as it was so comprehensive and well written. In fact the total time taken to find, test, integrate and check the Email Hippo API was just four hours.

Email Hippo is under the radar

Tony is completely happy with the integrated API that filters bad emails from booking forms. If people type their email address wrong, the API returns the result and the booker sees a polite message; ‘Please check for accuracy’. It’s all very simple, effective and courteous - perfectly in tune with the Directline Flights experience.

‘The perfect thing about Email Hippo is that it just works. It sits there completely under the radar and nobody needs to think about it. It solved the problem so completely that we’re not conscious of it being there.’

Email Hippo has improved the user experience and given the Directline Flights team more time to build positive relationships with clients. You could say email validation has really taken off at Directline Flights!