There are fewer worse things than being stuck at an airport right before Christmas - ready to burn off some steam at the end of the year, eager (or perhaps not) to see your family, or go somewhere sunny. Trapped with hundreds of strangers in uncomfortable seats, doing the duty free rounds once again is not what most have in mind. But it takes precisely one unpredictable thing to morph giddy holiday excitement into the five stages of grief.
That’s what happened last December, when air traffic ground to a halt at Gatwick Airport, the London hub that handles 45 million passengers per year and is Europe’s 8th biggest airport. The incident led to widespread traveller anger (of course), soul searching by airports around the world regarding drone policy and air security (interesting) and tremendous sunk cost; EasyJet alone announced the disruption cost them £15 million (wow).
How To Address Disruption
Disruptions are normal, and even expected, in travel in the travel industry, but there are ways to mitigate the pain and offset potential reputational damage. When drones strike, a volcano erupts, or blizzards wreak havoc, customer service needs to step up. But how does a business flex without warning? How do you find available workers, train them sufficiently, and get them to sensitively handle customers in a crisis, all in a matter of hours?
Automation Is Your Friend
AI presents an opportunity to rapidly boost team capacity by automating highly repetitive customer journeys, something DigitalGenius is doing today with global airlines like KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, either handling the BAU work to allow agents to crisis-manage, or accelerating urgent queries by filtering to the right team, classifying a conversation before it starts or automating responses to provide information or even launch a process.
Automation applications are wide ranging to managing these disruptions. The right provider will make automation configurable, enabling businesses to tactically match their automation approach as the situation dictates. For a step-by-step break down of DigitalGenius’ method of automation configuration, check out this explainer video.
If deployed properly, the cost and reputational savings delivered by automation are considerable. If you’re in travel, or a business that suffers from disruptions, reach out to us - we’d love to talk to you.