Web chat ‘cheaper’ and ‘better’ than traditional customer service in travel

Web chat ‘cheaper’ and ‘better’ than traditional customer service in travel

Customer feedback in the travel industry is better on chat services than traditional methods, according to analytics from a business process provider.

And the cost of providing web chat – and chat bot – services is cheaper than staffing call centres, said Nitin Sahni, travel expert at Intelenet.

He said: “What we have seen over the last year is companies being able to empower the customer to be able to use the channel they want.

“The way we see it is that the customer chooses what is good or not but companies have to provide the customer with all the channels he or she wants to choose.”

There has been a rise in companies adopting automated chat facilities since Facebook released Bots on its Messenger platform.

“In travel, you have to look at it in terms of the urgency of queries and the complexity, to determine which channel will be used,” Sahni continued.

For example, Sahni said airlines are “flooded” with calls when a flight is disrupted, so it may be easier for company and customer to post an update online or have a chat bot automatically answer passengers’ questions.

“Customers are getting the comfort that they are not having to wait in line for 20 minutes for someone to hear them.”

He also added that some customers prefer to have web chats on more detailed complaints, as it gives them a record of what they are told.

“Some customers prefer to have something in writing,” he added.

“If you look at the trends in the travel industry, at big companies like Priceline and Expedia, what they have done up until now is invest in the front end and acquiring more customers – the single big strategy has been gathering market share.

“But over the last few years that trend has shifted to customer experience and saving back end waste.

“That’s where artificial intelligence is playing a big role and we’ve stepped in there ourselves.”

  • Read a Travolution company profile on Intelenet here.

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