WhatsApp chatbots have touched down in the airline industry

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Building a WhatsApp chatbot is a relatively new concept. The official WhatsApp API that allows companies to create business accounts was announced in August 2018. However, unless you were one of the 90 select companies that were part of the early access beta program, you only got the ability to use it earlier this year.

WhatsApp can be a powerful customer engagement tool for enterprises and businesses, especially airlines. The messaging app has over 1.5 billion active users who send 65 billion messages per day. It’s reasonable to assume that a fair proportion of your customers are active users.

Airline customer service and WhatsApp

In the airline industry, customer experience is more important than ever before. Customers are looking for instant, real-time customer service. If an airline can’t provide that, they’ll look elsewhere for their next flight. To make it easy to get in contact, airlines need to ensure that they’re present on the communication channels that their customers use.

However, it’s equally critical that airlines are available 24 hours a day. There are two ways to achieve this: assemble a huge customer support team or use a chatbot powered by conversational artificial intelligence. Unless an airline has money to burn, a chatbot is almost always the most cost-effective option.

Getting started on WhatApp isn’t too challenging. After setting up your business’ phone number and applying for the WhatsApp Business API to create your business profile, you can build your chatbot.

Why should you create a WhatsApp chatbot?

WhatsApp is a powerful channel for customer engagement but why exactly should your airline build a bot for it?

Be where your users are

WhatsApp is the largest messaging app in the world. On average, nearly 1 in 5 people on earth use WhatsApp. Being present on WhatsApp allows your company to be where your customers are. Having a bot on the platform lets you provide those customers with an excellent customer experience that helps to ensure that they continue flying with you.

Provide a user-centric customer experience

The days of customer service being solely managed over the phone are over. Airline passengers are more digital than ever before. Many customers now prefer sending a message over making a phone call. With a WhatsApp bot, your airline will be able to answer their questions on one of their preferred channels.

Reduce support costs

One of the most important benefits of a WhatsApp chatbot is the reduction of support costs. By answering your customer’s most common or frequently asked questions without the need for human help, chatbots can reduce customer support center call volumes by up to 70%. That allows airlines to stabilize their staffing levels and lets their current support staff focus on value-added tasks, like resolving complicated issues and selling ancillary services.

Mindsay and Iberia: Creating a WhatsApp chatbot

We’re proud to have worked with Iberia to build a WhatsApp chatbot that will help them to continue to provide innovative, world-class customer support.

Iberia WhatsApp ChatbotWith the launch of their new WhatsApp chatbot, Iberia’s passengers can use WhatsApp to:

  • Get information about their trip
  • Check the status of their flight
  • Check-in to flights within the Schengen Area

Released earlier today, you can try Iberia’s Spanish-language WhatsApp bot yourself by messaging +34 676 67 60 04. Iberia will be adding more functionalities to the bot so keep an eye out for these additional features.

For non-Spanish speakers, don’t worry. We’re already working with Iberia to create the English version of the bot. So, you’ll be able to try it soon too.

"After working with Iberia to successfully launch the bot on their mobile app and Facebook Messenger, we’re thrilled to continue to be their trusted partner for the launch of their WhatsApp bot. From automated check-in to live flight information and FAQs, Mindsay technology allows Iberia to provide one-to-one customer engagement at scale. It’s been a privilege working with Iberia to deliver the best conversational AI in the airline industry."

Guillaume Laporte, CEO, Mindsay

Mindsay and Iberia have worked together to create this new customer support channel following the earlier work we’ve done to develop bots for their mobile app and Facebook Messenger.

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