It was in 2008 that British Airways became one of the very first airlines to introduce an iPhone app. Built primarily as a clone of their WAP websites, these apps did not add a ‘Search and Book’ function until 2010. Fast forward to today and travel brands like SnapTravel are able to drive purchasing decisions via Facebook Messenger alone, all through bot-driven customer interactions. A lot has changed in under 10 years!
Whilst developments in platform functionality — and the airline industry’s willingness to embrace the changing world around them — have played a role, the majority of such a dynamic change has been driven by us, the consumers.
Take for example your own travel experiences; if you’re anything like me, you always seem pressed for time. In a previous era, before asynchronous messaging, our time would be under even more pressure as airlines forced us to archaic 1-800 numbers or in-app messaging platforms that ‘timed’ us out of our conversations at random. We revolted! We turned to social media channels to rant and brand-bash (and rightfully so). Then something happened, airlines started responding to us with legitimate answers to our questions. Now, in 2019, that public venting has matured to private messaging. Take for example Facebook Messenger who now powers 20 billion messages between consumers and businesses per month, a staggering ten-fold increase since 2017.
The modern traveler has fully embraced messaging as a customer service channel. When managed properly, a service experience via messaging will be quick, in-the-moment, and personalized. These benefits also apply to airlines, with messaging channels being both more efficient and ROI positive than traditional service channels.
As such, many airlines have embraced messaging channels for customer service. But there is still a long journey ahead, with many brands still in the ‘dip the toe stage’. The next industry winners will be determined by which airlines can successfully build meaningful 1:1 relationships with customers on their preferred communication channel – messaging. Once done right, the opportunities are endless; happier travelers, greater brand efficiency, and even the ability to drive revenue on messaging channels.
This report explores three key topics:
- The modern traveler has changed and airlines are yet to fully embrace it.
- The disruptive opportunity for airlines is offering customer service via messaging channels that combine bots and automation.
- Once airlines have fully harnessed the power of messaging channels for customer service, there is potential to drive commerce through care.
We believe that those which harness the recommendations and best practices set out in this report will be able to improve their customer experience while also driving commerce via new channels. Truly innovative airlines are already harnessing this disruptive opportunity and are using it to differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded and competitive market.
In this report, you will understand:
- Why 74% of travelers would purchase ancillary items if they were prompted by a messaging app
- Why 67% of consumers are willing to spend up to $60 on ancillaries per flight
- How to leverage automation and bots to intelligently scale your customer service offering
This is the year that airline customer service matures and evolves to fully meet consumers’ expectations. It’s time to make it easy for brands and consumers to connect, just as easily as messaging a friend.