Airlines apps that support third party chat solution
Customer support features on airline Android apps in 2Q19 are dismal with only a small percentage of airlines investing in it. It is possible that users are falling back on the traditional toll-free number to ask for assistance via their mobiles instead of using the app, or the app features available are not seamless thereby diverting users to the call center. This is because for airlines, offering customer support via mobile apps means integrating with not just their traditional call centers, but also popular mobile communication formats such as chat-based, social networks, etc. videc’s App in the Sky reviews Android apps of 20 low-cost carriers (LCCs) and 45 full-service carriers (FSCs) globally to see how many offered the different types of customer support to their users in 2Q19.
CALL CENTRE/ TELEPHONE SUPPORT
Up to 60% of the total LCCs that were studied had an in-built telephone support tool for reaching call center support on their app as against 68% of FSCs. However, both these numbers are low considering most users would resort to this feature first in case of problems, especially when they are in transit.
E-MAIL/ ONLINE FORM SUPPORT
There is a huge gap between telephone and form-based support among airline Android apps offered by both LCCs and FSCs, and for good reason. This stood at 45% for LCCs and 27% for traditional carriers. Still, these are good numbers considering the form-based support system is time-consuming and a slower resolution mode. A fundamental reason behind airlines offering this could be to document all grievances and feedback received from users.
SUPPORT VIA SOCIAL NETWORKING PLATFORMS
While most airline businesses today have a presence on digital networking platforms, it is generally done less with the aim of supporting their customers and more to promote their offerings. As a result, only 30% of LCCs studied in 2Q19 offered customer support through the social media platforms built into their apps. For FSCs, customer support via social networks rested at 20%. But in the world of super apps – where companies integrate possibly everything in a single app – having a social support access directly from the app may become a regular feature down the road.
IN-APP CHAT/ MESSAGING SUPPORT
Chatting has emerged as a major customer engagement tool on websites but this has not translated into an in-app feature. Airlines have been rather slow in integrating third-party messaging platforms within their apps. Part of the reason could be integration issues itself, ultimately leading to a heavier app, apart from privacy issues. While 15% of LCCs offered an in-app chat tool, this was at 14 % for FSCs.
THIRD-PARTY CHAT/ MESSAGING SUPPORT
These are relatively early days for messaging services such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat or Line to roll out business profiles that could communicate with individual users. As a result, few airlines – 15% LCCs and just 4% FSCs – have such integrations. But expect more airlines to be onboarded as a business profile on these platforms. Ultimately, these communications take place on platforms customers are most comfortable with, and offer a broad range of back-end analytics for the airlines.