The days of call-centres are numbered with avatars gradually replacing them over the next 10 to fifteen years.
Speaking at the Travel Technology Initiative’s Innovation Summit, Continental Airlines senior director of merchandising and ancillary revenue Chris Amenechi said the industry would have more intelligent approaches to the phone.
He also predicted the widespread use of kiosks and mobile kiosks to solve queuing and other passenger issues going forward.
“Wouldn’t you rather talk to someone who knew you and you can talk to in any language? That’s innovation, that’s avatar,” he said.
Amenechi added that for medium to high-touch customers, call-centres would still be important and be staffed with consultants with skill sets different to today.
He also talked about the development of mobile applications for exclusive services that travellers would be willing to pay for such as airport shopping concierges.
Continental launched its virtual agent Alex a year ago to try to deal with some of the traffic to the call-centre.
Amenechi said specific applications and the use of avatars for the trip cycle from pre-travel and post travel would increase revenue and drive down costs.
“A new way of travel is going to happen. You can imagine the avatar as a personal assistant going out and scouring sites and bringing back all the information to you. In-flight entertainment will change the way we enjoy travel and mobile will proliferate everything. The way we travel and these long lines will be a thing of the past.”