It’s not about chatbots vs. live chat: successful customer service blends the two

We recently read a paper that claimed that the new frontier of customer service will be delivered by chatbots, replacing the concept of live chat. We disagree.

As chatbot builders, having successfully launched 14 bots to the industry, we know that a bot only approach to customer service is doomed to fail. We know too that companies that utilise bot technology as a compliment to its service agents create a strong interlined team of digital and human.

We believe bots are built to empower humans, not to take work away from humans. As the volumes of interactions decrease with bots helping, human agents can spend more time on the complex, difficult and sensitive issues that chatbots just aren’t equipped for.

Here’s how we see the role of bots within the sphere of airline customer service.

The smiling first responder

When we first started consulting with airlines around digitalising elements of customer service, it was clear from the data that the overwhelming majority of inquiries to contact centers by phone or chat were easy questions.

Being asked 50 times a day ‘how do I check in online?’ or ‘what is my baggage allowance?’ and responding with an audible smile, every time. That’s tough! That’s where the digital first responder comes in: there to answer the 70% of incoming queries that are so easy a human can answer them in their sleep.

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The assistant in the background

Real personal assistants are a necessity for the very few. But the concept of having someone performing tasks in the background, to make our lives easier is one we should all experience. That’s where bots come in.

Checking prices, checking reward or upgrade availability, checking in, giving you the weather forecast for your destination, making relevant suggestions on how to maximize your time at the airport/in flight/at destination… all of these things and more can enhance your travel experience.

Its only possible at scale using bots.

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The assistant in the foreground

An airline customer service representative is not there to give currency conversions or to give advice about the best pizza restaurants at your destination. But bots can.

Airline reps are there to help with the complex and the sensitive, where bots aren’t.

Bots, in turn, can broaden the capability of service provision by the airline: not just checking flight arrival information, but helping with the broader traveler needs that can’t, and shouldn’t, be delivered by customer service representatives.

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Agents and bots in harmony are the new frontier.

And that frontier is being crossed, every day. Our bots are created individually for multiple airlines as white-label, bespoke digital assistants that enable and empower human agents to perform better.

If you’d like to know more about how a bot can empower your customer service team as well as serving as a retailing assistant, get in touch.