Let’s face it. Even though the contact center crisis has impacted nearly every industry, no sector endures more consumer criticism than travel and hospitality.
When large-scale disruptions happen, especially during peak demand seasons, travel and hospitality brands draw an outsized share of scrutiny. As a result, the pressure heats up on travel and hospitality leaders to come up with fast contact center solutions.
Until recently, that was a lot easier said than done.
For decades, contact centers tried to deflect customers and add capacity with solutions like IVRs, low-intelligence chatbots, and outsourced workforces. Unfortunately, none of these strategies could simultaneously accomplish two things: reduce the workload on agents and improve customer satisfaction.
But Contact Center Automation has made a smooth landing possible. Contact Center Automation is an approach in which companies automate their most common customer service calls using conversational AI while empowering agents to focus on more complex and nuanced customer challenges.
According to a recent survey, deploying Contact Center Automation is a priority for almost every customer service leader: 95% have either already adopted, are implementing now, or are planning to implement automation within the next year.
Among travel and hospitality brands in particular, the rising adoption of automation will be especially impactful. After a period where guest and traveler satisfaction hit all-time lows, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
✈️ Automation Is Delivering Differentiation For Airline Customer Experiences
In the years following the pandemic, every airline has been wrestling with the same challenge: capacity issues. While travel numbers have soared to record highs, weather-related delays and mass cancellations have continued to disrupt operations. In these cases, contact centers are unable to add staff quickly enough to handle both predicted and unpredicted spikes in call volumes.
More than anything, both controlled and uncontrolled irregular operation events drive up costs and anger customers. In the most recent holiday travel season, irregular operations led to 8+ hour hold times across several airlines. “We can’t just hire 300 agents for a single day,” said one Replicant customer, the Director of Guest Care at a top-10 airline.
How Automation Helps
Replicant helps airlines handle high call volumes without the need for costly outsourcing or increased agent staffing. Replicant handles caller authentication and routing and resolves reservation management calls such as FLIFO, flight cancellations, and flight modifications, freeing up agents to focus on revenue generating activities like new bookings. Common use cases include:
- Traveler Authentication
- Call Routing
- New Booking
- Flight Cancellation
- Reschedule Flight
- Travel FAQs
- Flight Information
- Modify Booking
- Add a bag
- Add a seat
- Upgrade seat
Top 10 Largest Airline Automates Calls With Replicant to Meet Unpredictable Demand
One Replicant customer, one of the ten largest airlines, was dealing with significant capacity issues. Irregular operations caused huge surges in their call volume that they couldn’t staff for. The impact of their capacity restraints resulted in multi-hour wait times and negative press across social media.
They partnered with Replicant to automate their contact center, specifically by having Replicant automate Flight Information, Flight Cancellation, and Add a Bag calls. After deploying, they gained the extra capacity they needed to manage irregular operations call volume spikes without adding staff, and freed up their agents to take on more high value customer service engagements.
“We don’t staff for the craziness. Otherwise, we’d increase our agents by 3X and only fully utilize them 5% of the year. Instead, we look to where we can automate.” – Director of Guest Care, Top 10 Largest Airline
🏨 Hospitality Contact Centers Fix the Guest Experience with Automation
It doesn’t matter if you’re a cruise line, hotel, resort, or casino: Demand for destination travel has more than rebounded in the last twelve months. But after years of lower revenues and down travel rates, hospitality contact centers have been hard-pressed to be operationally ready for the demand.
The result has been long wait times, frustrated travelers, and revenue loss due to uncaptured business. In most cases, contact centers must maximize their agents’ time to be spent on converting callers who are interested in booking a stay. According to a recent survey, the top challenges in the hospitality industry are: Business travel: 60.8 percent; Staffing: 55.7 percent; and Increased costs: 53.2 percent.
As both business and leisure travel continue to ramp up, hiring agents has become exceedingly difficult, while churn rates have climbed due to mundane tasks. As a result, hospitality companies have tried to increase wages in order to attract talent. But even after increasing wages, hiring agents in hospitality contact centers remains a huge challenge.
How Automation Helps
Replicant helps the Hospitality Industry handle high call volumes and prevents overflow calls from going to costly outsourcing centers. Replicant handles repetitive tasks like caller authentication and routing, and resolves reservation management calls like confirming, modifying and canceling bookings.
This frees up agents to focus on more engaging, revenue generating activities like new bookings. Common use cases include:
- Guest Authentication
- Call Routing
- New Reservation
- Cancel Reservation
- Property FAQs
- Confirm Reservation
- Modify Reservation
Paramount Hospitality Lowers Wait Times and Relies Less on BPO Using Replicant
Replicant customer Paramount Hospitality is a hotel management company with 6 large resorts in Florida. Because of the challenges related to hiring and retaining agents in the hospitality industry, contact center capacity was an issue for them. They relied heavily on a costly BPO to answer all overflow and after hour calls which amounted to about 25% of their total call volume.
Even with the help of the BPO, they had an average 10+ minute call wait time and a 10% abandonment rate equating to 1,200 missed reservations a month Paramount Hospitality partnered with Replicant to automate incoming booking, confirming, and modifying reservations calls during regular and after hours. Paramount will now spend significantly less with their BPO, need fewer agents, all the while increasing their contact center capacity.