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Travel agents: traditional fax is Havana rough time on the nbnTM

Whether you like fax or not, there are still some businesses that prefer to communicate with you by fax. Without access to fax, you might miss out on selling last-minute travel deals and top-secret unadvertised hotel offers to your customers.

And of course, some customers prefer to confirm their travel itineraries and payment authorisations by fax, too. After all, fax communication is widely regarded to be more secure than email while in transmission. But once the paper fax arrives, your customers’ private credit card details sit in a tray for anyone to see (and potentially steal).

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Plus, with fax you suffer frustrating issues with paper jams, busy signals and replacing toner cartridges. Even worse, having to stand by the fax machine waiting for 10 pages to come out one-by-tedious-one.

Even more importantly, if a faxed booking form never arrives due to a signal error – that’s lost business for you, plus a very disappointed customer.

Now, the latest “not as good as it looked in the brochure” disappointment: traditional fax doesn’t work with the nbnTM.

Long story short… while fax is fact of life, it’s certainly not a fun fact.

But the good news is, you can change all that. There’s a much better way for your travel agency to fax. One that will cut your costs and give you more time to focus on making sales. So you sell more and each sale costs you less. It’s a win-win!

How? Online fax.

What is online fax?

Online faxing (aka ‘digital faxing’) is a way of sending and receiving faxes via the internet, without the use (or inconvenience) of a traditional fax machine.

You still have a normal fax number and you can even keep your existing fax number (which is an essential part of your business identity). Everyone can still exchange faxes with you just as they do now. The only difference is that, instead of using a fax machine to send and receive faxes, you use your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile. In fact, online fax systems feel instantly familiar, because the process is very similar to sending an email.

With just an internet connection and an online fax account, you’re all set to start. Even if that internet connection is the nbnTM.

Traditional fax and the nbnTM: experiencing turbulence

Unfortunately, while the nbnTM rollout should make your internet faster, it will also turn your traditional fax machine into a dinosaur.

When you get the nbnTM your phone line will become digital, and because your traditional fax machine is purely analog, it will simply stop working.

You may be able to find a suitable workaround, such as an adapter or a VoIP provider. But these workarounds are awkward and frustrating; you might be able to get them working sometimes, but at others, faxing will be a rocky and unpredictable ride. That’s wasted time – time that you need to spend researching the best travel deals for your customers.

The good news is: online fax works with the nbnTM because it doesn’t require a physical machine to plug into your line. It works just like email does.

So by moving to online fax, you’ll be able to focus on your core business –  making sure your customers have an unforgettable holiday experience.

Online fax will transform your travel agency’s operations, too…

Improving your document handling process is a Pisa cake

Almost every business thinks “Gee, wouldn’t it be great to go paperless”. And chances are, you’ve already streamlined most of your processes to remove as much paper communication as you can.

But travel is a paperwork-heavy industry, and traditional fax machines are one of the biggest culprits using paper.

Fortunately, online fax eliminates the need for fax paper altogether. Every online fax you receive is completely digital, which means you can view, action, archive and even save faxes to your CRM in a few clicks. All without printing.

What’s more, every online fax you receive is automatically saved and backed up in secure cloud storage.

And if you choose a good provider, you’ll get unlimited storage, so you can keep every fax you send and receive. Forever. Your fax history can simply stay there. Instead of being a big denial-pile of papers sitting on your desk, waiting to be filed or shredded, it’s just data (that won’t clog your own server).

Send faxes flying, straight from Word or email

If you’re a process-driven travel agent, you probably already have a bunch of templates and forms ready to go in Word.

The good news is that every time you have to send a form to a customer, online fax saves several steps in the process. And there’s no printing required. You can quickly type in some basic details for your customer, then fax the form straight from Word or your email app. Simple.

No matter whether the recipient is using online fax or traditional fax, your form will arrive looking exactly the same as all their other faxes.

They won’t know the difference. But you will. You’ll have saved several minutes, and several sheets of paper, every time you send a fax.

With online fax, you’re free to Rome

Need to visit clients at their office or home to confirm travel plans? With online fax, you can. It’s like having a fax machine in your pocket.

The tablet or mobile you already own becomes your new fax machine. Simply snap a photo of the document on your device, and use your online fax app to send it to the airline, hotel or wherever it needs to go.

No need to take documents back to the office with you, only to have to dispose of them later. Just snap, send and it’s done.

Online fax: far more private and Secure

In booking holidays, you’re collecting a lot of personal and sensitive data. You need to receive and store the customer’s full name, contact details, date of birth, passport number and credit card details to make travel arrangements on their behalf. And they trust you to keep their personal information safe.

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With online fax, there are no printed faxes sitting in a tray for anyone to read or scoop up by accident, because faxes come straight to your digital fax inbox.

There’s no concern about data security, either. In fact, online fax is more secure than email.

Online fax data is protected by TLS version 1.2, which is currently the most up-to-date security protocol available. Data is encrypted using a combination of private and public keys, so it’s unreadable by outside parties who don’t have the right keys to decipher it.

In other words, your customers’ personal information is safe with online fax. Their passport details and credit card numbers can’t be intercepted by a hacker and used to steal their identity.

Unavoidably, some customers are attached to fax

Even if you use fax begrudgingly, the truth is that some of your customers still prefer to communicate with you by fax.

For older customers who aren’t used to email, the idea of downloading, printing, signing, scanning, uploading, attaching and sending a credit card authorisation form is an absolute nightmare. Too many steps and far too much hassle for them. Those customers are positively delighted to receive a faxed form, sign it and whip it straight back again.

Your customers might still be using old fax technology, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

You can enjoy all the time-saving benefits of digital fax, while helping your email-averse clients to process their holiday forms in a way they feel comfortable. That’s the kind of customer service effort they’ll appreciate and tell their friends about.

Online fax is significantly cheaper than traditional fax

For starters, you don’t need a fax machine, because you can use any computer, tablet or phone you already own. No special machine also means there are no consumables or wear: no paper, toner or maintenance costs.

By switching to online fax, most businesses save over $600/yr compared with traditional fax. That’s a 5 star deal!

For a low monthly fee, you get all the benefits of online fax: the compatibility with the nbnTM network, the convenience of a paperless system, and the freedom to send and receive faxes from anywhere.

Keep cruising with your existing fax number

Considering how many airlines, hotels and tour operators have your fax number on speed dial, your fax number plays an important part in your business identity.

If you’re expecting to get the nbnTM soon, you need to make a decision about your existing fax number immediately.

Most online fax providers will allow you to keep your existing fax number. But to do this, they have to physically port your number across to an entirely different infrastructure. No matter which online fax provider you choose, this will take 6-12 weeks.

If you get the nbnTM connected at your premises before your number is ported across – even if the port is already underway – your old number will be disconnected at the exchange.

To get the same fax number back, you’ll need to apply to have it physically reconnected. This takes time, and you could potentially even have your fax number taken by someone else in the meantime.

Check the estimated date for when the nbnTM network is planned to be available at your address.

Still have questions?

Give us a call on 1800 283 361 to chat about how eFax will benefit your travel agency.

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