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Are conversational channels a destination or a stopover for the airline industry?

October 6, 2022

With digitalization, businesses have had to explore new ways to communicate with their customers more efficiently, especially in the post-pandemic world. What consumers want, need, or expect is now, in many ways, a question mark for numerous industries.

In 2017 – 2018, many businesses started using chatbots as a booming trend. However, many had to learn the hard way what not to do, how not to implement it, and other harmful practices that led to frustrated, unsatisfied customers. 

“You get a transformational tool when applying technology and combining it with the conversational paradigm. However, using it inaccurately or poorly can adversely affect customers. When chatbots are used correctly, they can generate satisfaction, efficiency, and cost savings.”-Gonzalo Cadenas, VP of Technology of the Airlines Reinvention Studio at Globant.

So, how can the airline industry make the most of this technology? How can conversation channels become their new communication wingman? 

Gal, a chatbot reaching customers with flying colors

Gol Airlines, a major airline in South America and Brazil, had difficulty answering customer support questions, especially regarding COVID-19 restrictions. They implemented Gal, a virtual assistant, offering customer support 24/7, with an 85% retention rate, and handling 90% of 900,000 inquiries all on its own.

Gal includes features that simplify the interaction between the airline and its customers, allowing passengers to have more visibility of important information about their flights, their check-in process, and essential travel topics.

Conversational cruising

According to survey results done by Humley, 87% of users would interact with a travel chatbot if it could save them both time and money. Conversational channels, such as chatbots, virtual assistants, messaging, live chat, and voice chat, are proving to be an innovative and needed addition to every business communication strategy. To the airline industry, they represent a paradigm shift in how they interact with their customers. 

“…in the event of a flight delay, an AI-powered chatbot can automatically and proactively communicate changes via messaging, text, and email channels. This solution can even help customers quickly reschedule connecting flights as needed.”

As a fast, direct approach to reaching customers, conversational channels are a way to bridge the relationship between humans and technology, between the business and its consumers, and achieve a proper understanding of their needs. Customers increasingly turn to self-service options to find solutions to their demands on their terms. However, their expectations of a self-service channel are for it to be easy, powerful, and personalized. 

Cadenas notes, “Customers demand a simple, intuitive way to resolve their needs independently, without waiting in line or navigating complex UIs. Conversational Channels adapt companies to their customers, making them feel in control and empowered.”

Benefits aboard

The advantages of using AI-powered chatbots introduce a wide range of benefits for the airline industry, resulting in:

  • Accomplishing business optimization through efficient automation
  • Increasing consumer satisfaction on key touchpoints throughout the journey
  • Offering a personalized travel experience
  • Augmenting revenue via Conversational Commerce 
  • Saving costs from the contact center, counters, and passenger servicing

AI-powered chatbots offer responsive customer support 24 hours, seven days a week, enabling clients to find the help they need in an empathic and reliable way. AI-powered chatbots are like offering customers their travel agent, in this case, a specialized industry and context AI agent, improving satisfaction by providing a more accurate resolution. To achieve higher accuracy, integrating different AI agents to cover other roles is necessary, which will help achieve a more “personalized” and meaningful interaction.

Globant’s Airlines Reinvention Studio 

Globant’s Airline Reinvention Studio focuses on augmenting the passenger’s satisfaction throughout the journey, placing the traveler’s experience at the forefront by building top-of-the-line strategic solutions for the industry.

Through Globant’s Airline Reinvention Studio, one major airline reached an operational savings of 500k-700k dollars per month through a conversational channel designed and built by Globant. They drastically reduced contact center calls and served between 500k and 800k passengers per month. The retention rate was 86%, increasing client satisfaction and digital experience.

Learn more about our aviation business solutions here to explore how reinvention can help you reach your goals.

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The Airlines Studio leverages our cross industry expertise to help a highly competitive and regulated industry reinvent. We drive digital transformation by putting the passenger experience front-and-center in all strategies to boost business