Directline hires Red Eye for CRM project

Online travel agency Directline Holidays has brought in web analytics specialist Red Eye to improve its customer relationship management.

Directline has made significant inroads into the online travel sector and is now rated among the top five websites in the UK, largely on the back of SEO campaigns and organic search.

The Croydon-based retailer, which is rumoured to be for sale with a price tag of £40 million, said it wanted to forge a much more personalised relationship with its customers.

John Lucas, the firm’s new e-commerce director, said: “We are in the middle of implementing a much more robust and more sophisticated CRM platform that will talk to our E-CRM database and also help us to personalise our website so we can have much more personal dialogue with our customers.”

The tie-up with Red Eye will see a formal business rules drawn up to determine “when and where” Directline should be communicating with its customers.

Lucas said visitors to the site will be re-targeted if they drop off before purchasing. “It gives you the opportunity having captured some of the information to re-approach them in a very cautious way. From a sceptical point of view this can be quite intrusive, but it’s all in the delivery.”

The amount of traffic Directline drives through natural search will present its own challenges for Red Eye, Lucas added.

“Different types of businesses have different types of customers. I do not think [Red Eye] will have worked quite so much with a travel business that has such a large amount of organic traffic, and that comes with its own challenges.

“Volume is the name of the game and you have to work really hard to turn that into quality. It’s about conversions but it’s also about repeat business, trying to increase the loyalty.

“It’s also about a bit of an uplift in revenues, increasing the value of the basket. While we are communicating with our customers through various points of the buying cycle an important part of this is, having actually purchased a product, you can go back and suggest other products like car parking, hotel upgrades or attraction tickets. Often these ancillary sales come with a bigger margin.”

The move will also allow Directline to make a concerted move into social media, Lucas added. “With social media you have a dialogue with you customer and the CRM platform is your memory, your corporate memory.”

Directline hopes this approach will drive up loyalty and allow the business to further differentiate itself from competitors through its customer service, something Lucas said was apparent during this year’s ash cloud crisis when “some firms worked hard to help its customers while others did not”.

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