From cutting costs to streamlining processes, chatbots are optimizing the way industries function. Particularly in the hospitality sector, which is ridden with queries and requests at any given point of time, chatbots are bridging the gap between customers and services.
Customer service and delight is the very crux of the hospitality business. Be it airports, hotels or tours, each one aims to acquire and retain their customers for the long-run. With increasingly homogenized product offerings and services, customer service becomes an essential determinant of success. However, the volume of customer traffic is often so high that it becomes increasingly difficult for human teams to deal with customer queries and offer them personalized attention. Chatbots have emerged as an ideal option to help solve this problem.
Due to their ability to manage millions of interactions at a time, chatbots are giving companies the ability to improve the overall customer experience by giving them streamlined access to information and support pertaining to their needs. According to a Gartner report, by 2020, customers will prefer to interact with chatbots to resolve 85% of their immediate queries. This further indicates why AI-based chatbots are becoming an integral part of businesses across industries. Here are five things chatbots are doing to help the hospitality industry:
Responses in real-time
While most complex questions require intervention from human teams for thorough analysis and problem-solving, chatbots can address most basic queries that are largely predictable in nature. These queries are also usually the most common ones, such as “Does the hotel provide airport transfers?” On most occasions, chatbots can answer customer queries of this nature based on a business’s FAQ data. Chatbots are available 24×7, which also helps customers get quick responses in real-time. Having a chatbot answer basic queries instead of a limited number of human employees provides customers with instant responses in a manner that is efficient and effective for them and the business until human intervention is necessary.
Cutting customer service costs
Chatbots’ mass-serviceability proves to be a helpful cost-cutting option for hospitality businesses. Enterprises also achieve operational efficiency, as they get the desired results in a fraction of the time. However, since they are mostly programmed to answer basic questions, chatbots cannot completely replace human employees, but instead, are able to complement them. This enables customer service representatives to focus on more complex questions, thus being able to improve the overall customer experience.
Increased customer engagement
Companies are using chatbots to improve customer engagement by programming them to initiate or follow up on conversations. Several travel portals are using their chatbots to send out messages to customers on popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, conveying information such as flight details and e-tickets and urging consumers to respond with any queries that they may have. The customer can respond with questions on flight information, changes in bookings and other related suggestions. Chatbots can also be programmed to engage customers with offers and coupons, thus giving them the incentive to continue using the service, or go ahead with their initial purchase intention.
Customers are more likely to respond and engage with messages that are tailor-made for them. One of the major benefits of AI-based tools such as natural language processing is that they are largely customisable and are able to learn with every interaction. Thus, through chats with customers, a chatbot can give them personalised recommendations, offers and information, either by initiating or continuing a conversation. This helps to keep customers interested in the service and is likely to bring them back in the future.
Invaluable data and insights
Any business in the hospitality sector requires a deep understanding of customer habits. Using chatbots, companies are able to give each customer a personalised experience. This is gathered through insights from the chats, including feedback, past purchases, and overall experience. Thus, companies are able to understand, and even predict, each customers’ needs and intent through AI-based analytics, and can then target them accordingly. Additionally, they can use this data for information updates on their platforms in real-time.