Summer 2022 is upon us and, as the Washington Post covers, all indications suggest travel will be back to the pre-pandemic era. But the war in Ukraine, high inflation, and lofty gas prices have added uncertainty in the travel world and increased the likelihood for out-of-practice travelers to make errors. Travelers aren’t as attentive on the basics of travel preparation as they were pre-pandemic.
Without the right Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) in place, the summer volume spike could result in long hold times and even more guest frustration. Here’s how having the right IVA, one providing an optichannel, self-service approach, can help you optimize conversations, solve labor shortage issues, drive operational efficiency, and create a best-in-class experience for travelers.
Handling rebooking and changes
Guests want to solve their problems with self-service tools. Your IVA should provide an optichannel experience so travelers can rebook with ease–from checking availability to changing their reservation–on their preferred channel.
Managing travel credits and refunds
Summer’s influx of travelers increases the volume of itinerary changes resulting in a new volume of credits and refunds, which can be challenging and costly. Your IVA should streamline issuing and using travel credits as well as handling refunds with self-service technology. This will give your travelers the reassurance needed to rebook with you on their next trip.
Communicating travel and safety updates
Customers expect to be notified of changes immediately and on the channel of their choice. An optimal IVA will integrate into backend systems for a personalized customer communication experience. The IVA should be able to send safety protocol details and reminders during key parts of your travelers’ journey to ensure a smooth experience for everyone, like gate information and ground transportation logistics. Your IVA capabilities should also include the ability to respond to travel interruptions with alternatives and, offer appropriate upgrades and promotions.
Maintaining loyalty and rewards programs
Many guests traveling this summer–some for the first time in years–will certainly want to access and update their rewards program. Your IVA should be able to offer travelers easy access to their profiles and be able to obtain balance information, request travel awards, enroll new members, and respond to questions. This provides the same consistent experience every time and ensures loyalty and return trips.
Providing automation for all CX travel tasks
Whether a guest is making a reservation or in the middle of their travel, when they contact you, they do not want to be kept waiting on hold. Your IVA partner should offer technology that eliminates wait times and reliance on live agents for traditionally difficult to automate transactions. Tasks that previously required human judgment, APIs, or structured data can now be handled via self-service with the right IVA partner on your side. This means customers will no longer have to wait on hold to ask about a fee waiver, a promotional code, or change on their itinerary.
Conversational AI can handle all of this and more. With the right technology partner, you’ll have an extension of IVA automation that allows tasks to be routed to back-office agents and/or RPA bots while our IVA maintains control of the interaction, ensuring an efficient experience and a self-service enabled customer journey. Can your current IVA company do that for you?