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AI with a Human Touch: The Winning Formula for Travel Contact Centers

AI with a Human Touch: The Winning Formula for Travel Contact Centers

The travel industry acts as a microcosm for key trends in contact centers. Traveler preferences vary dramatically across generations. While baby boomers gravitate towards the familiarity of phone calls, Gen Z embraces the swiftness of digital chat options. Further complicating the landscape, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize customer service, offering a future filled with automation and highly personalized interactions. Read: AI enables next level of passenger experience with Responsible AI and GenAI.

For online travel companies, navigating this environment presents a unique challenge of meeting increasing customer expectations while embracing an AI-powered future.

Contact Centers need to deliver lightning-fast solutions

Contact centers are the nerve centers in the travel industry, navigating disruptions big and small. From flight mishaps and itinerary changes to peak season meltdowns and geopolitical unrest, any hiccup creates a ripple effect. Airlines, airports, and online travel agencies (OTAs) all feel the impact. OTAs must react swiftly, rescheduling reservations, issuing refunds, and calming a frustrated customer base. A simple flight swap won't suffice for a business traveler on a tight deadline, nor will it work for a vacationing family with a meticulously planned itinerary. The pressure is on contact centers to deliver lightning-fast solutions while maintaining exceptional customer service (CX).

The multi-channel approach

Thankfully, technology is revolutionizing contact centers. The days of the traditional call center are fading as travel companies embrace a multi-channel approach. This means mastering new performance improvement strategies alongside existing toolsets. Customers now expect seamless support across various touchpoints: phone, live chat, and email – all readily accessible with a click or a tap.

AI poised to be a game-changer

This is where AI steps in, poised to be a game-changer for future contact centers:

Conversational AI, often embodied by chatbots and automated email responses, tackles routine interactions such as booking confirmations, simple itinerary changes, or answering frequently asked questions (FAQs). By automating these repetitive tasks, conversational AI frees up human agents to focus on more complex issues that require empathy, critical thinking, and nuanced problem-solving skills. This not only improves agent efficiency but also allows them to develop deeper customer relationships, fostering trust and loyalty. However, Gen AI Conversational bots are very different from old age bots, and capable of NLP and dynamic conversation. Click here to know how Coforge bots enable a seamless experience for travelers.

Agent Assist Tools take AI integration a step further. Imagine an agent equipped with real-time information and suggested responses during calls. AI can analyze customer data, past interactions, and even the current sentiment of the conversation, providing the agent with intelligent prompts and recommendations. This cuts down the time agents take to search, read & interpret knowledge articles and empowers them to resolve issues faster, more accurately, boosting first-call resolution rates and reducing customer wait times. For a world leading GDS, we are delivering GenAI based Knowledge Management bot PoC to enhance contact center agent’s efficiency by more than 25%. This is achieved by reducing hold time on calls , reducing the learning curve for new agents and, reduced errors.

Sentiment Analysis is another powerful AI tool that analyzes customer voice and text to understand their emotional state. By deciphering the emotional undercurrent of a conversation, AI can flag frustrated or upset customers, allowing agents to tailor their approach and de-escalate situations when necessary. Imagine a scenario where a customer calls irate about a missed flight connection. Sentiment analysis can identify the rising anger in the customer's voice, prompting the agent to adopt a calmer, more empathetic tone. This not only improves immediate interaction but also fosters a sense of understanding and builds trust with the customer.

AI for a smooth customer journey

The benefits of AI extend beyond agent support. AI-powered call volume forecasting and workforce management allow for better staff scheduling, minimizing customer wait times. This proactive approach translates to a smoother customer journey, reducing frustration and laying the groundwork for a positive experience.

The importance of the human touch

However, amidst the transformative power of AI, it's crucial not to lose sight of the human element. Travel is often an emotionally charged experience, and customers value the ability to interact with a real person, especially when faced with disruptions or unexpected challenges. A skilled human agent can listen attentively, empathize with the customer's situation, and craft a solution that goes beyond a simple automated response.

The key lies in striking a balance between AI automation and human touch.

At Coforge, we have enabled our clients to achieve this balance for the last 3 decades.

To know more about adopting AI for contact centers, write to us at

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