Improving crisis customer service for travel companies

May 22, 2019

We discuss how chatbots and AI can help travel company’s manage crises and contingencies.



The travel industry is a special place. Sometimes it is a beautiful world where your work makes people happy and shows them corners of the world they had dreamed of. Other times, something goes wrong, things change, and all of a sudden you have to notify thousands of people at the same time and pray they see the message before heading to the wrong place.

These situations are sometimes euphemistically called “contingencies” and are a recurring problem that all travel companies have to face. The challenge is that they require an exponential increase in the number of messages or calls the company sends out as well as some way to verify that the information has been correctly received by the customer.

Dealing with sudden increases in customer service volume

For most companies, it is simply unfeasible and unthinkable to hire enough staff to deal with the surge in messaging needs. It would be too costly, and they would only be needed for a few, unpredictable moments throughout the year. Hiring extra staff only for these “special” occasions is not feasible as they usually happen without warning.

As a result, most companies resort to sending an email and posting signs on location. It works, to some extent, but email open rates are usually low and the signs and staff on location tend to only catch travelers when it is too late to do anything.

Thankfully, new technologies can offer a solution that allows companies to scale their notification and customer service efforts without the need for additional human resources.

Chatbots can help your human team

We are talking, of course, about chatbots. These incredibly adaptable programs can be used by travel companies to notify customers through messaging apps, answer questions they may have, and refer the issue to a human operator if needed.

A great advantage of using chatbots to send this kind of message is that they operate on platforms like WhatsApp that are checked, on average 23 times per user per day, and have much higher open rates than email.

In its most basic form, this emergency notification system would consist of a chatbot that sends a standardized message to each customer and takes note of whether it was successfully sent and read. If the message cannot be sent, the bot can try sending a second message to get the person’s attention before escalating. the problem to a human agent if it is not read.

In a more advanced scenario, the chatbot could also provide additional information or even allow users to make alternative arrangements, such as booking a hotel or a different flight directly from the chat. The possibilities are endless and are constantly expanding.

To help you make the most of what is available and create a chatbot that truly suits your needs, we have put together a team of experts that will be glad to analyze your company’s needs and help you get started. You can reach out to us by using the link below.