Bhupender Singh, chief executive of Intelenet Global Services, says travel providers should modernise systems to give real-time travel updates
A study of 76 airports around the world, ranked three British airports (Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh) in the bottom ten, citing concerns in regards to delays and ageing facilities.
Research highlights that much of this is due to poor airport designs which breeds larger queues at check-ins, security & passport control, as well as long walks between gates.
Most recently, Heathrow experienced IT failure over its baggage system which forced thousands of passengers to fly without checked-in luggage.
Amidst growing concerns over Britain’s overstretched airports, despite their best efforts to revamp existing systems, attention needs to be directed towards customer service to ensure that appropriate responses are issued to customers when problems occur.
In the summer period, front-line staff are required to manage a high number of passengers, and so must be better equipped to respond.
Although there is investment being directed towards infrastructure and front end technology solutions to support passengers in better managing their travel plans, focus needs to turn to having trained staff on hand, to manage the huge influxes of passengers throughout the year.
Last year, UK terminals had a record 268 million people pass through them.
In today’s digital landscape, every passenger has been gifted with a platform to voice their discontent across multiple online channels. Every passenger has the ability to become a “citizen journalist”, documenting experiences on their camera phone and tweeting their frustration.
Storms quickly brew online, when things go wrong and customers expect a fast turnaround from travel providers. Research shows that 32% of customers who contact a company via social media expect a response within 30 minutes, and a further 42% expect a response within an hour.
With this in mind, travel providers need to be agile in their approach when tracking and monitoring engagement to fast-track communication so they can deal with multiple customer complaints effectively.
Airlines are tackling mounting costs pressures whilst also operating from small profit margins. Pay-outs are one of the mostly costly consequences of flight disruptions, which are a constant challenge for airlines.
For example, British Airway’s recent IT failure incurred £80m. The compensation process is hampered as a result of travel providers having to face the challenge of trawling through complex fair rules across multiple Global Distribution Systems.
To face the problems head on, travel providers are turning to cutting-edge solutions to encourage efficient communication processes and streamline the back-end workflow processes.
Automation and AI are helping agents by taking away the headache of going through comprehensive fair rules, allowing a greater focus to be placed on customer requests to forge a better relationship between agents and customers.
These have streamlined the process by 60 per cent, allowing travel providers to manage a higher volume of complaints more efficiently, which empowers the staff and boost customer satisfaction.
Equipping frontline staff with the technology and skills to operate means they will be able to respond quickly, calculate compensations automatically and increase the chances of having passengers fly with them again.