With technology advancement forever in motion, companies are constantly finding new ways to make for a smoother and more convenient customer service system while simultaneously saving on outgoings. Whether looking to purchase your next flight, browsing a new pair of trainers or even just scrolling through an eye-catching news feed, people may be noticing more and more Chatbots popping up to check if they need a hand.
With Facebook recently announcing its “Bots on Messenger” it’s really had people talking - especially in Silicon Valley - and industry leaders are considering Chatbots more and more as a real business benefit. In 1966 the first Chatbot was born to assist in psychotherapy, but now we have experienced a real growth in virtual assistants in all sorts of sectors. Notably within the travel field, there is United Airlines’ “Alex”, TAP Portugal’s “Sofia” and Virgin Holidays’ “Valerie”, who have all had resoundingly positive feedback when it comes to FAQs.
Concerning hospitality, Travelodge UK has admitted to saving on customer service costs as well as improving customer happiness thanks to its virtual assistant “Andrea”. It is clear that the three major bonuses to the Chatbot are that it can be programmed in any language, answer customer questions 24/7 and is of course wage-less so is an attractive, money-saving tool for certain businesses.
However, without being able to answer specific questions means that Chatbots can sometimes prove very frustrating and people prefer to speak with an actual human. In this way, if the Chatbot is unable to answer a given question, the introduction of a direct link to the customer service team would undoubtedly be the best way of taking care of customer satisfaction.
It will be very interesting to keep a watch on where this recent programming trend will go. Will it take off and how might it affect the hospitality industry and travel booking process? Whatever the Chatbots’ journey, it is paramount for businesses to ensure that customer value remains the highest priority.