Weathering the Frustrated Traveler Storm

March 17, 2017
Customer Experience Vijai Shankar, Sr. Director Industry Marketing

Snowstorms, computer outages, lightning strikes! Oh my! For all business and leisure travelers, a common fear is what happens when there’s an unforeseen event, including technical glitches or extreme weather conditions, that cause last minute delays. Airline travel is a calculated process of time management.

Flights with layovers, having a friend pick you up when you land, or an important business meeting are just a few examples of common occurences that make your travel timing a juggling act. It can be difficult enough when everything goes as planned, so last minute delays or changes can have a catastrophic effect.

For travelers, storms, computer glitches and the like often mean large numbers of flight cancellations, massive crowds, endless delays, and a mountain of other headaches. For airlines, it means having to deal with huge spikes in call center activity, frustrated customers, and exhausted agents.

Despite what many customers may expect, your airline can’t control the weather, but there are steps you can take to improve your contact center storm preparedness and your traveler’s experience.

When looking to proactively deal with these incidents, airlines need to focus on two key questions:

  • How can we optimize the customer experience?
  • What steps can we take to ensure peak call volumes are balanced and costs are controlled?

Thanks to the digital and smartphone revolution, many aspects of airline travel have improved. For instance, smartphones can provide real-time updates on changing travel conditions, allow travelers the option to select another flight in the event of a delay or cancellation, and/or track the location of their luggage. Apple fans can even carry their boarding pass on their Apple watch, not to mention forgoing the need to carry and print envelopes of travel documentation.

However, there is one key area that is missing—the integration of effective customer service solutions, such as chatbots and live chat. These tools can dramatically improve the experience for both the traveler and the airline by providing an integrated self- and assisted-service solution. Travel leaders should provide a smooth booking process that helps get travelers to their destination as quickly as possible. This requires a transformation of the airline app into a Digital Travel Concierge that goes beyond just providing information on flights or access to a boarding pass.

To learn how airlines can transform their app to a Digital Travel Concierge, download the article here.

Vijai Shankar, Sr. Director Industry Marketing
Vijai Shankar, Sr. Director Industry Marketing

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