Airline Customer Experience: Meeting Key CX Challenges

Addressing key challenges can help airlines like yours deliver better traveler experiences, increased customer loyalty, and more revenue.

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What are some current issues facing the airline industry? In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines are trying to find innovative ways to run their businesses in a recovering market. Automation is going to play a key role in being able to rebuild while remaining effective and agile. When the world is once again ready to travel, airlines will again face the old foes of rampant price-shopping, revenue compression, and increased expectations from travelers. So when it comes to the airline customer experience, each interaction and each touchpoint make a big difference.

One of the biggest concerns is low site conversion—with so many options for flight deals available, it’s become more challenging to keep and convert site visitors. In fact, the average conversion rate for travel websites is only 4%. And in a worldwide industry that had been known to generate revenues of $760 billion annually, even a small improvement in site conversion would deliver significant incremental revenue.

Increase conversion and revenue with personalization

Why do site visitors leave? What many airlines fail to consider is that, when your site visitors have questions they can’t get answered in the moment, they are left unable or unwilling to commit to a purchase. In fact, 55% of online consumers say they will abandon their carts if they can’t find answers to their questions.

A better understanding of site visitors—and their potential value—can help you capture more online conversions and increase revenue. Studies verify that an increase in personalization leads to more revenue. By tracking visitor behavior, miles membership status, cart contents, and purchase history, you can zero in on the highest-value customers on your site and offer to connect them with an agent in real-time. Plus, agents are provided with full context on each customer they interact with, enabling them to provide a more tailored experience and increase lifetime loyalty.

By understanding more about consumers and serving them more relevant messaging, airlines and travel companies can reduce customer acquisition costs by 21% and increase cross-sells by 17%. (Boxever)

Another way to boost site conversion and reduce abandonment is to make sure that customers can get answers to their questions when they are browsing flights, which could be anytime day or night. With smart email automation, like Astute’s Email Virtual Assistant (EVA), your brand can respond to incoming customer emails 24/7/365 with a real answer – not a generic confirmation message. Responding with a helpful, accurate reply within minutes increases your chances of converting that customer and helps build a stronger airline customer experience overall.

Improve customer experience by empowering travelers with smart self-service

Of course, your airline can’t afford to devote all its attention to only the top-value customers. The online experience can be improved for all visitors with the simple addition of smart self-service. The majority of consumers prefer to find their own answers, and making answers easier to find will reduce the number of potential customers who abandon their carts out of frustration.

And in these uncertain times, customers will be looking for answers to entirely new types of questions concerning the measures your airline is taking to protect them as they travel.

Consumers—particularly Millennials—are increasingly using mobile devices to engage with brands, and two-thirds of them feel companies across all industries need to provide faster and more intuitive in-app self-service. Airline customers in particular want a more robust mobile experience:

  • 79% say they would definitely use mobile bag update notifications
  • 67% want the ability to report mishandled bags using their smartphones
  • 65% want to receive baggage collection information like belt number and wait time via mobile

Many of today’s consumers prefer to use text or chat apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat to communicate—even with brands. In fact, messengers account for 91% of time spent by users on mobile and desktop. By offering travelers the ability to search and book flights, as well as get flight notifications and access to customer service, through the messaging apps they already use (instead of asking them to download yet another app), you can improve conversion, revenue, and customer satisfaction.

With all these options for consumer communication (and more emerging all the time), how can airlines decide where to focus their efforts to maximize results? The right technology can help you stay relevant with your customers by identifying trends and opportunities in real-time. If you can keep pace with consumers’ quickly changing channel preferences and expectations, you can stand apart from your competitors.

The technology solutions that make it happen

Astute’s engagement technology supports a wide range of airline customer experience goals:

Proactively engage the highest-value visitors on your sites, offering personalized assistance and increasing conversion. For example, the loyalty customer booking an overseas vacation for a family of six might merit a proactive touch, whereas the business traveler booking a single regional flight may not. Imagine what providing white-glove service to visitors with high purchase potential would do for conversion rates and average revenue per sale.

Power self-service experiences that feel like interacting with an intelligent human, instead of an FAQ. Visitors to your website, app, or messenger can communicate with a chatbot who engages them in a two-way dialog to find them the most accurate, relevant, and personalized answer to their questions. What’s more, Astute can pull from existing, approved sources to find answers, instead of requiring you to author every response.

Automate customer email replies with meaningful answers, not generic “we received your email” messages. Not only can Astute’s EVA deliver the near-instant responses customers expect, this automation tool can help increase efficiency in the face of cost-cutting measures.

Hear the voice of your customers with social listening, and enact agile marketing strategies to react in real-time. Social media contains a treasure trove of information about consumers’ preferences, expectations, and goals. Through leading-edge technologies like natural language processing, sentiment tracking, topic clustering, auto-discovery, and deep learning, Astute gives you the insights you need to make better business decisions.

Take the next step on your CX journey today. Schedule a demo to see how Astute’s technology can support you.

Learn more about Astute's customer engagement solutions.