Chatbots are becoming a must have for airline companies. In the last couple of years airlines witnessed how messaging apps became part of their customers daily habits, and how those channels were an opportunity to talk to travelers.
AI has shifted the way companies handle their customer care. Most importantly, thanks to chatbots.
APEX recently reported that 14% of airlines are now using chatbots, and that number could go up to 68% by 2020.
The conference Accelerate Aviation, that took place few weeks ago in London, gathered most of the decision-makers from the airline industry, and who among other topics, discussed AI conversational strategies. AI is changing the game for airlines.
Why build automated conversations with your customers?
There are many reasons why airlines should integrate a bot.
- Time is always at stake when traveling. Airlines always face huge amounts of phone or email requests and are relying on human representatives to address them. Needless to say that the balance between cost-effectiveness and customer satisfaction is tight. As a consequence, travelers are often facing long wait times while they expect immediate answers. A smart Assistant can handle a big part of that volume, and thus improve significantly the customer experience.
- Ensuring that customer services match customers’ expectations is key. Up to 55% of millennials (Gartner) claim to have positive experiences with interacting with a chatbot. To engage with new generations, airlines have to adapt. Phone and email customer services are overrated for millenials. Airlines have to meet those travelers where they already are: messaging channels. Chatbots are available on any existing channels and offer travelers many features such as: delivering flight informations (delays, cancellations..) or other factors not related to the company itself. Millennials have a special love for this type of interaction.
- Airline bots can go much further, by discussing with passengers to purchase. Once a bot knows the passenger details and by building smart conversations with them, selling ancillary products or services is a piece of cake.
To keep up with the competition, airlines don’t have the choice but to experiment how those smart assistants can be integrated. Moreover, as we now observe the downfall of apps, as they are very expensive to develop and maintain, bots seem like a timely opportunity to provide great user experience.
Where do airlines stand?
There is a consensus among them regarding the importance of having a conversational A.I strategy. Nevertheless, while some are convinced and already exploiting a chat or a voice bot, others are either timorous or not aware of how to make the best out of them. Indeed, building a bot is easy. Making your bot useful is another kettle of fish.
This is why, before starting any bot development, a precise frame must be defined. Will the bot support customer services? or help increase revenues? or even allow bookings?
The airline Swoop, for instance, is focusing the chatbot topic on the digital customer experience, specifically on personalization.
According to Gartner, by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will take place via those virtual assistant, so airlines will soon hit the wall.
Airlines throughout the industry all agree chatbots have to be experimented. But as long as they deliver value by addressing customer and business use cases. Choosing the right provider is key.
If you want to develop a project and need guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out!