Improving customer service efficiency in the travel industry

Apr 24, 2019

We discuss how chatbots can be used to support human agents in the travel industry, especially during crises and contingencies.



Customer service in the travel industry can be incredibly hectic and unpredictable. One day is quiet and the next, out of nowhere, a storm, strike, or volcano wrecks havoc on your network, and you have to deal with 10 times the workload of the day before. These disruptions will inevitably lead to delays in taking care of customers, and damage to the company’s brand.

Moreover, given the typical nervous state of customers who have been affected by delays, or are stuck somewhere far from home, a single customer will reach out simultaneously via multiple channels, increasing the workload and the overall confusion. On the other side of the phone/chat your customer service team is also struggling, they are trying to work as hard as they can, but they have to constantly fetch information from different systems and different areas of the company while keeping customers waiting.

Scaling up customer service is challenging

In these situations, the stress levels, tension, and chances for human error are incredibly high. To respond to them some companies try to have additional staff on standby and create backup systems, but the costs are high, and it is hard to scale up. Bots are a potential solution to help the human team but only if they are implemented in the right way.

They can sometimes play a role in getting initial information from the customer, such as their booking number, location, etc… but depending on the stress levels it can be a dangerous game to play. An upset customer could get even more upset if they can’t get through to a human or if the bot isn’t working perfectly.

To make the most of what chatbots can bring to this scenario there are two key strategies that can be followed: The first is to have the chatbot start the conversation and state clearly that its job is to ask for some initial details to make the interaction with the human agent faster; The second is to have the chatbot act in the background suggesting answers to the human operators and fetching all the necessary information from the company’s systems.

Using chatbots to help human agents

The latter is especially useful as it allows a human to always lead the interaction but also automates many of the more time-consuming tasks. This allows the human customer service agent to focus on what they do best: handling people with empathy and de-escalating the situation. At the same time, it allows the bot – which is ultimately a computer program – to do what computers do best: talk to other computers and handle data without errors.

Given the critical nature of this type of setup, it is extremely important to set up the system well and to work with a team of professionals who can create a custom system and guide you towards the best options for your company.

If you are keen to learn more or get started you can get in touch with our team: