Delta Air Lines is escalating the race for airline digital customer service by introducing a video chat test program at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), claiming the move is the first video chat customer service offered by an airline.
It sits within Delta’s multi-digital touchpoint customer strategy which includes Twitter, Facebook, email and telephone.
Five interactive digital screens with individual receivers will help customers connect with Delta Sky Assist agents, with a simple interface of one touch button to start the video chat.
Charisse Evans, its VP of reservations, sales and customer care, said:
“More and more people are choosing video chat to connect in their everyday lives, so we wanted to bring that channel to Delta customers. We have the best specialists in the business – and now, they’ll be able to deliver customer solutions in an even more personal, face-to-face way.”
Delta has adjusted one of the screens at a height to better serve customers with disabilities and includes a keypad option for engagement via text.
Airlines around the world are finding new ways to respond to customer needs away from the traditional channels of email and phone, and beyond social media. Some have turned to bots to improve their interactions, though customer preference and comfort levels with bots may vary.
Most recently, JetBlue partners with Gladly to integrate all customer service touchpoints under a single record in order to ensure continuity of information as customers shift from platform to platform. The airline also invested in Gladly through its JetBlue Technology Ventures.
Adding flexibility and especially continuity to customer interactions are definite improvements over the previous inadequate availability of customer service agents. The challenge ahead for airlines, and all travel companies, will be to adapt their customer response technology models away from reactive response and towards a proactive model which delivers solutions in anticipation of need.
There is still a long road ahead before travel companies understand the structure and deployment of proactive customer service and apply technology to deliver it, but each step of multi-platform interaction can bring companies closer to that ideal.