Face-to-face remote selling technology, developed for the property sector during the COVID lockdown, will be used by the sales outsourcing and fulfilment homeworking start-up to offer customers a more immersive and personalised retailing experience
U-See Technologies to bring video conferencing sales platform to travel with Travel Solutions Network
Online video selling platform U-See Technologies is poised to take its first step into travel having agreed a partnership with homeworking start-up Travel Solutions Network (TSN).
The tie-up sees TSN look to exploit one of the COVID pandemic’s big trends, video conferencing which brought services like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to millions.
TSN, established by CTS Outsourcing Solutions founders Garry and Lindsey Winterburn in February, will go live on the U-See platform next week giving its homeworkers access to what it believes is the future of remote selling of travel online.
Tim Conniff, founder and chief executive of U-See Technologies, developed the platform after being approached by a property developer during the COVID pandemic.
He said it needed to continue selling its properties but because of lockdowns could no longer do this in the traditional manner face-to-face.
Conniff believes the platform has “massive potential” in travel. “Seeing the way travel is heading towards homeworkers we see a huge future for this technology,” he said.
“Homeworkers currently have a disconnect with the customer and we see this as bridging that by bringing product, content and consumers together with much more clarity and trust face-to-face.
“The idea for U-See was born out of the COVID pandemic. It was originally aimed specifically at the property market which we found was very archaic and we saw there was great usage in international property sales.
“Users absolutely loved the system because it allowed them to filter clients and for the customers it provided a great connection personally with the agent.
“We then touched on the car industry which, again, is very archaic, and made quite a bit of headway, and we also looked at boats and boat charter.
“All of these sectors are where there are high value ticket items and customers are not physically either with the sales people or the product. The platform brings them together and it allows them to share any data and content seamlessly.”
Although U-See has its origins in the property sector, the firm says the technology is highly configurable and can be adapted to use cases in different sectors.
The platform is also agnostic in terms of third-party technologies it integrates with, and this was one the reasons why TSN chose it above more generic video conferencing platforms that rose to prominence during COVID like Zoom.
TSN needed to be able to link the system to its phone technology because as well as operating as a virtual call centre for agents to build their own businesses it also provides a fulfilment service for travel partners to convert leads they generate over the phone.
This meant it needed to allow its agents to log in and out of the system when they are available to book calls and to sync it with their personal and work diaries to ensure they can manage their time accurately.
It also allows users to share their availability via email and on social channels and enable potential customers to reserve bookings for available time slots without showing details in their personal or professional diaries.
U-See has been integrated with specialist travel TSN’s partner Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform TProfile to give its agents more insight into customer intent ahead of the call and to generate offer documentation off the back of the sales call.
Ensuring privacy was also an important factor in terms of how the sales sessions are viewed by customers.
Only the information in a window for the shared video session can be seen by the customer and not any other information on the agent’s desktop like pop-ups, email alerts or other open internet browser tabs.
This means the agents can continue working in the background looking for additional content to share while the conversation is happening and add that to the shared sales window for the customer to view.
The U-See platform also provides professional bespoke virtual office backgrounds so agents do not have to worry about clients being able to see their homes or blur backgrounds.
Steve Endacott, chairman of TSN, said although U-See has been configured for its homeworker requirements, it has the potential to be the future of remote selling in all settings including contact centres, stores as well as for B2B sales and training.
“Homeworking tends to be all about a trust-based relationship so that means it has to be done in a geographical area because you will build your customer base and generate leads working with your local community.
“That means you could be wasting your expert destination or sector experience which you could promote nationally.
“If you have video you can do face-to-face on a national basis. Plus you get to see a customers’ reaction, you’ve not got to strain your ears to try to work out what they’re really thinking. They get much more telling visual signals than they ever would on the phone.”
Lindsey Winterburn, TSN chief executive, said: “I have 30 years’ experience in running homeworking networks and understand the booking process well.
“Initial calls to capture the customers’ requirements, will remain primarily done by phone as this is the quickest and most effective route.
“However, compiling a professional presentation of holiday options and delivering this over video will greatly improve the process for the customer, while allowing agents to see the reaction of customers. In my opinion this will undoubtedly increase conversions.”