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Imagine what will drive the airline call centre of 2021

Lydie Lambert

Altéa Reservation Desktop Web Product Marketing Manager, Amadeus IT Group

Getting ready for the next innovations that will improve airline call centres was a key topic debated during our most recent Altéa Reservation Desktop Web (ARD Web) user group. Seven airlines, 14 airline delegates, and 10 Amadeus experts, gave their views and brainstormed for two days on airline call centre topics. Our customers shared with us that their number one objective this year for their call centre is increasing travellers’ satisfaction.

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Think about how technology has impacted the travel experience in the last couple of years. Now, imagine how it will influence airline call centres by 2021. What will the major changes be? How do you think these changes will impact travellers interacting with a call centre for a re-booking or for buying additional services?

We have identified 5 trends that we believe will make a major impact on customer servicing in the next 5 years.

  1. 360 customer view & personalisation will reach every touch-point
  2. Social media enquiries about booking & additional services will be managed with the call centre agents’ expertise
  3. Web-chat is likely to overcome traditional channels
  4. Virtual queuing will become a must have option
  5. Virtual & augmented reality will spread out as they help sell additional chargeable services

Last year, user group members identified improving the way social media queries are handled as a critical priority for improving customer servicing. This social media focus was confirmed again by most of our members, along with a 360 customer view and personalisation as the most critical innovations for call centres.

The importance of social media came as no surprise to us. Have you noticed how many times you check your mobile during the day? According to research , an average person checks their mobile 85 times a day. We use our mobiles for searching, booking, shopping, and interacting with a call centre when changes are needed. Are call centre agents ready for these multi-channel interactions starting on a public wall and ending with private messenger? Most call centres are not ready yet.

Fully understanding who your passenger is, before an agent picks-up the phone, will make the biggest difference by 2021 between companies. Identifying upfront that your agent is talking to a business traveller who is vegetarian, flies premium economy and sometimes business class, can help agents upsell the right services. This traveller knowledge will impact a call centre’s bottom line and will improve traveller satisfaction. Your traveller will also feel better understood when interacting with call centre agents.

By 2021, call centre agents should be able to interact with travellers via their preferred channel with personalised service. How ready is your call centre?


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