Last year, more than 6 million Americans took airplanes for their end-of-year holiday trips. With such high volumes of passengers and inevitable winter weather issues, it’s not a matter of if something will go wrong during the holidays, it’s a question of when.
To prepare for the holiday chaos and deliver a stellar travel experience through wind, sleet and snow, airlines must have a strong support strategy in place. This includes gaining a comprehensive understanding of the issues of holidays past, implementing smart technology that provides customers with fast and accurate information, and empowering live representatives to handle the complex situations the holidays inevitably bring.
Ghosts of Holidays Past
Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it — the old saying rings especially true when it comes to customer service. Before the holiday madness begins, it is essential that customer service teams know what the most common issues and most asked questions associate with past crises, and ensure they are prepared to answer them this time around.
A comprehensive and centralized knowledge management system can help track which questions are more likely to be asked during the holiday season. For example, customers may be more likely to ask about rental car options if a flight is cancelled on Christmas Eve because they are less willing to wait for a later flight and miss out on family memories. Travel companies can tap into their historical data to prepare their digital channels and customer support teams to handle these unique situations and make sure customers get the answers they need, fast. Being caught off guard by a customer question is not the kind of holiday surprise CX teams want, and this is something they can curtail with the implementation of smart knowledge management tools.
Get Smart with AI — The Gift that Keeps on Giving
With so many people traveling during the holiday season, customer service agents are tasked with resolving thousands of questions — many of which are repetitive and may take less than a minute to answer. The problem is that these simpler questions quickly pile up and take time away from customers who are dealing with complex situations. This is why a lot of travel companies are looking to chatbot technology.
Equipped with natural language processing (NLP), modern chatbots can understand context and provide quick and accurate answers to customer queries. For the traveler looking to confirm a gate change or even start the process of rebooking a flight, chatbots create a convenient channel that can quickly and effectively resolve these issues. During the holidays, time is of the essence in these situations and chatbots help cut out much of the waiting on hold, ensuring a customer’s needs are efficiently taken care of.
When the Human Touch is Needed
Although chatbots can resolve many customer questions, sometimes situations call for escalating to a live agent. Even in these situations, chatbots play a critical role, recognizing when a situation requires the human touch and seamlessly transitioning the customer to the right agent to address their specific needs. This ensures that customers are not bounced from representative to representative looking for the right person to resolve their issue.
Furthermore, implementing chatbots as an internal tool provide agents with a wellspring of customer information to better do their jobs. Acting as a resource, chatbots give live reps the information they need to provide a highly personalized experience and ensure customers don’t have to repeat information or re-explain their problem when they are transferred. Ultimately, this mitigates any customer frustration and makes them feel like their issues are truly being heard.
Holiday travel can be extremely stressful — with passengers wanting nothing more than to get to their destination and airlines trying their best to support them. Travel companies will need to improve their CX strategy with smart technology like chatbots to ease the stress of both customers and employees, and therefore ensure everyone is home for the holidays.