Make this Holiday Travel Season the Jolliest Time of Year For Your CX Team with Bots

By Elaina Ransford

Travel during the holidays is notoriously difficult. Not only does the seasonal uptick in travel create bottlenecks and delays, but the unpredictability of the weather also exacerbates these challenges. The holidays may be the jolliest time of year, but getting to the holidays can be an intensely stressful period for CX teams.  

Last year, airlines prepared for a record 51 million travelers (3.5 percent higher than the previous year) by offering 91,000 more seats per day through additional flights. This year promises to be equally busy, and with 91,000 extra travelers per day, customer service teams need solutions to give superior service without breaking the bank. Tensions run high during the holiday travel season, and it’s paramount to address issues rapidly and effectively to get travelers to their destinations as seamlessly as possible.

That’s why airlines should give their customer service teams the gift of travel bots this holiday season.

Custom bot workflows allow agents to deflect tickets, automate rote information collection, and seamlessly transition between bot interactions and live agent interactions. Give a gift that will bring joy to your customers and your agents.

A CX Gift That Keeps on Giving: How to Use Custom Holiday Bots for TravelThe Beginner's Guide to Customer Service Bots for Travel and Hospitality

Custom bots allow customer service teams to create dialogue and workflows that are season-specific.

The holiday season is replete with unexpected, airport/regional-specific issues. For instance, consider a storm that forces all flights out of a particular airport to be canceled. Naturally, this would create a sudden influx of tickets related to rebooking, refunds, and accommodation options.

With custom bots, regional or local managers can rapidly create a chatbot that addresses this specific issue for all travelers coming in and out of that airport. For instance, the branch manager can create a bot for all customers who have booked a flight out of that airport so that when those customers start a chat, they are presented with an option for “Question related to City X storm.” The bot would then give answers and solutions related to the the most frequently asked questions (rebooking, refunds, and accommodations), thereby reducing ticket backlog and giving customers quick solutions  — as opposed to requiring them to wait on hold extensively while agents are weathering the storm.

Custom bots like such can supplement brand-wide bots, as they are only triggered based on specific customer actions or circumstances (such as being a customer with a flight out of City X, or clicking a button option for “Question about weather-related delays/cancellations”). Because of this, the customer experience is completely seamless, with no broken hand-off between agents or branches, and no delays in time to first response.

In-app custom bots can also reduce friction for stressed out, on-the-go customers. Seventy-nine percent of customers say they prefer messaging to other forms of customer service, but this percentage is likely even higher for international travelers, who may not necessarily have data or calling service, but do have access to airport Wifi. Additionally, messaging (with a human or a bot) is a more convenient CX than phone/email communication for customers who are on-the-go, or who need immediate assistance in a certain language that may be difficult to get access to via a call center.

Custom bots can and should include “escape hatches” for users to chat with an agent at any point. The flow from bot to agent and even back to bot again helps expedite the ticket while still giving the customer a tailored experience. For instance, say that customers select “Request a seat change” as the category for their question, but then tell the bot they want to “Purchase a separate seat for the infant they are traveling with.”

Because the customer did not select “Purchase a new ticket” initially, this ad-hoc request will need to be transferred to an agent. The agent can seamlessly enter the conversation, find a seat for the infant, and then go back to using the bot for the customer to input their traveler information and payment. By sending the customer back to a bot, the agent saves time without sacrificing the customer experience.

Custom holiday bots help give travelers the immediate assistance they need for urgent requests, without requiring CX teams to double their staff or break the bank.

Bring Back the Holiday Spirit With Custom Dialogue

Holiday travel can be extremely tense, and tempers often run high by the time a customer contacts an agent. To help alleviate this tension, branch managers can give their CX a touch of holiday cheer with bots for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and the New Year by integrating holiday spirit into their dialogue. This can be as simple as adding a snowflake emoji into the chatbot greeting, or as cheeky as saying “Don’t worry, your flight didn’t get gobbled up! What can I help you with?”

Give Back to Your Customers And Your Agents This Holiday Season

Creating a custom bot can take mere minutes, but can save your agents and customers thousands of hours throughout the travel season. Use this form of dynamic automation to make the holidays a time of cheer, relaxation, and giving. After all, traveling during the holidays should be an exciting, comforting experience.

Learn more about custom bots for the travel and hospitality industry with this guide

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