Direct Ferries

Europe’s leading ferry ticket retailer

Published on 28-Aug-2013

"The benefits IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions delivered paid back on our investment incredibly quickly. IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions have become a vital part of our e-business processes and it would be unthinkable to relinquish usage of these solutions." - Anthony Ritchie, IT Director at Direct Ferries

Direct Ferries

Travel & Transportation

Deployment country:
United Kingdom

EMM - Customer Experience Management, Smarter Commerce, Smarter Marketing


Founded in 1999, Direct Ferries Ltd. is Europe’s leading ferry ticket retailer and one of the UK’s fastest growing travel companies, offering one of the most comprehensive portfolios in the ferry transportation sector. The company offers real-time access to thousands of scheduled ferry crossings and sells tickets for over 70 pan-European ferry companies with over 1,000 routes covering Europe and North Africa.

Business need:
Direct Ferries needed better ways to improve customer experience and increase conversion rates. They did not have visibility on customers’ journeys on their site, especially on their booking process.

With the IBM Tealeaf CEM solution, Direct Ferries optimized their booking process. The unique replay ability gives Direct Ferries the visibility they need to understand customer behavior and discover obstacles customers encounter on their site.

The company can proactively confront issues in real-time to reduce and recover lost revenue and optimize their website.

Case Study

Founded in 1999, Direct Ferries Ltd. is Europe’s leading ferry ticket retailer and one of the UK’s fastest growing travel companies, offering one of the most comprehensive portfolios in the ferry transportation sector. The company offers real-time access to thousands of scheduled ferry crossings and sells tickets for over 70 pan-European ferry companies with over 1,000 routes covering Europe and North Africa.

To say the online channel is important to Direct Ferries is an understatement. Five years ago, the web accounted for only 10 percent of company revenues. Now, this figure is nearly 90 percent and the site services 80,000 visitors with over 40,000 quotes each day. The online channel has become mission critical to the success of the entire company.

Maintaining a consumer-friendly website is paramount to Direct Ferries’ success. The company relies on IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions to pinpoint customer struggle and improve the online booking process.


As with many e-businesses, Direct Ferries is constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience and increase conversion rates. To do this effectively, the company needed more visibility into areas where customers struggled on the site. This would enable Direct Ferries to find the missing link between its customers and obstacles they encountered in the booking process.

By relying heavily on existing tools like web analytics, it was difficult for the company to identify and resolve customer experience issues. The rigidity of web analytics tools was not conducive to understanding complex customer behaviors. Direct Ferries realized that in order to grow its online channel more efficiently, it needed a key site optimization solution.

A better approach

Direct Ferries chose IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions because they provide the insights that the company needs in order to optimize their online booking process. IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions’ unique replay ability – a page-by-page, browser-level recording of the actual customer experience – affords Direct Ferries with world-class visibility into online customer behavior. Now the company is able to discover previously unknown experience obstacles, reproduce problems and quantify their business impact. The result is the drastic reduction of customer struggle on the site and improved value that Direct Ferries’ delivers to its customers.

Furthermore, with advanced tools to incorporate KPI-based triggers and perform customer segmentation analysis, Direct Ferries can proactively confront issues in real-time and enhance the usability of its site. The use of IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions has led to an improvement in site conversion and customer satisfaction and the company has received full payback on its IBM Tealeaf CEM solution investment in just six months.

Win 1 – IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions enabled Direct Ferries to prioritize hundreds of website fixes.


Direct Ferries’ website is incredibly dynamic and complex, which can result in unforeseen technical hitches. At the same time, online customers use sites in unanticipated ways, which also leads to unexpected issues. When IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions were deployed, they quickly captured the entire customer interaction for each site visitor. As a result, the company discovered that it had hundreds of issues that needed to be tackled.


IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions helped Direct Ferries understand how to best prioritize these obstacles according to their scope and magnitude. By utilizing IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions to analyze the business impact, the company was able to quickly assess the revenue ramifications of customer struggle in the booking process and the technical issues that impacted conversion.


Through this analysis and prioritization, IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions helped Direct Ferries increase conversion rates and save significant time that otherwise would have been spent resolving errors that were not detrimental to its customers. The company is now able to perform quick corrective actions to optimize the site and reduce lost revenue on an ongoing basis.

Win 2 – Utilizing the unique customer behavior insights gleaned from IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions, Direct Ferries responds to customer struggle more efficiently.


The Direct Ferries marketing team regularly e-mails discounts and promotions to its customers to increase sales. Shortly after one of these “eshots” had gone out, the company received a complaint from a customer that had not received a 10 percent discount on his booking. The customer claimed to have clicked through from the e-mail marketing message but still had not received the discount.


Using IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions Direct Ferries was able to locate and replay the customer’s exact session. The visual evidence provided by IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions showed that the customer had not clicked on the e-mail link as he had indicated. Armed with this qualitative information, the customer service team was able to quickly resolve the customer’s concern.


The insights gleaned from IBM Tealeaf solutions enabled Direct Ferries to make minor changes to their e-mail promotion so that future recipients would clearly receive the discount. IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions provide Direct Ferries with the ability to see exactly what customers experienced, enabling the company to quickly remedy technical problems or customer issues.

Win 3 – IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions help Direct Ferries recover significant revenue each year by combating fraudulent transactions.


Fraud is increasingly a concern for travel companies selling via the web. Before implementing IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions, it was almost impossible for Direct Ferries to monitor and investigate fraudulent activities on their site. As a result, fraud was costing the company significant revenue every year.


IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions helped Direct Ferries combat fraud by deploying a process for documenting each customer interaction and transaction. This enabled Direct Ferries to establish pre-defined triggers to alert the fraud team of suspicious behaviors. For example, if a customer used more than five credit cards while trying to complete a transaction, the team can quickly access this information and view the customer session in IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions. These insights help the team determine whether it is indeed fraudulent activity and if any action is required.


With IBM Tealeaf CEM solutions providing a detailed and permanent record of each customer interaction with the site, the fraud team is now able to more efficiently identify and investigate fraudulent activity. This has enabled Direct Ferries to recover tens of thousands of pounds of otherwise lost revenue every year.

About IBM Enterprise Marketing Management
The IBM Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) Suite is an end-to-end, integrated set of capabilities designed exclusively for the needs of marketing organizations. Integrating and streamlining all aspects of marketing, IBM’s EMM Suite empowers organizations and individuals to turn their passion for marketing into valuable customer relationships and more profitable, efficient, timely, and measurable business outcomes.

Delivered on premises or in the Cloud, the IBM EMM Suite of software solutions gives marketers the tools and insight they need to create individual customer value at every touch. The IBM EMM Suite helps marketers to understand customer wants and needs and leverage that understanding to engage buyers in highly relevant, interactive dialogs across digital, social, and traditional marketing channels.

Designed to address the specific needs of particular marketing and merchandising users, the IBM EMM Suite is comprised of five individual solutions. Digital Marketing Optimization enables digital marketers to orchestrate relevant digital interactions to attract and retain new visitors and grow revenue throughout the customer’s lifecycle. With Customer Experience Optimization eCommerce professionals can turn visitors into repeat customers and loyal advocates by improving the digital experience of every customer. With Cross-Channel Marketing Optimization customer relationship marketers can engage customers in a one-to-one dialogue across channels to grow revenue throughout the customer’s lifecycle. Price, Promotion and Product Mix Optimization allows merchandisers and sales planners to make price, promotion and product mix decisions that maximize profit and inventory utilization. And with Marketing Performance Optimization, marketing leaders, planners and decision-makers can model and assess mix, and manage marketing operations to maximize ROI.

Over 2,500 organizations around the world use IBM EMM solutions to help manage the pressures of increasing marketing complexity while delivering improved revenue and measurable results. IBM’s time-tested and comprehensive offerings are giving companies such as Dannon, E*TRADE, ING, Orvis, PETCO, Telefonica | Vivo, United Airlines and the power and flexibility required to provide their customers and prospects with what they expect today – a more consistent and relevant experience across all channels.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Tealeaf CX, Tealeaf cxView, Tealeaf cxImpact

Legal Information

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