The Chatbot Chronicles

By: Jan Kolar, Simone Santarelli

In the past few years, the new digital era has been radically revolutionizing the transportation industry. The way that transport companies provide services to customers—as well as the way the passengers perceive the services while traveling​—is constantly evolving.

In addition, customer expectations are quickly adapting to new opportunities onboard. Passengers expect their transport providers to offer the same comforts they have at home or in any public locations, but they also expect the services onboard to be affordable, trustworthy and satisfactory. Innovation is crucial.

The best way to meet these brand-new expectations and to improve services onboard is to work more closely with passengers and fully understand what they need. The customer journey is an incredibly important factor in enhancing the travel experience. The sheer number of passengers doesn’t make things easier for transport operators, either. Building a deeper and more trustworthy relationship entails giving customers a reliable ​free Wi-Fi solution​ and a sense of control upon their journey through advanced digital platforms onboard.

Being more digital enables multiple opportunities for transport operators. Smart tech solutions allow operators to get to know their passengers in depth, thanks to additional opportunities that efficient 360-degree customer care can eventually offer. Today, data collection becomes easier and comes through a powerful funnel connected to new sources. Data collection ensures not only a fundamental source of information to monitor and comprehend real-time customer behavior but also a contribution to obtain a deeper analysis of the post-journey.

A detailed study of the data can guarantee a predictive analysis to foresee potential problems and eventually intervene before they occur, reduce service interruption, and increase customer satisfaction. Being able to offer complete and customized services to passengers stems from a deep knowledge of their behavior through data collection.

New challenges for transport operators

This new digital era offers ​opportunities to operators​ to review and refresh the expectations in a much smarter way. Granting safe trips, providing the best travel experience, improving efficiency, optimizing operating costs, and increasing network capacity have all posed serious challenges.

New technologies like AI, big data and connectivity have impacted their modus operandi and modified the environment, bringing up new expectations and business goals including creating new communication channels, translating in real time into customers’ languages, automating customer care, personalizing tips and promotions, and enabling continuous follow-up post-travel.

The most advanced central management systems​ allow operators to handle numerous tasks and monitor real-time information all at the same time with a single platform, and fully control remotely most of the services so that providers reap the benefits in cost-cutting and time savings.

Digital transformation helps transport operators reach the next milestone in customer care by pursuing the mission of collecting data to enhance the experience and understand customers’ behavior onboard through the most advanced and automated (AI-driven) customer care.

The passenger journey

Human interactions have many peculiarities. Over the last few years, customer care has walked hand-in-hand with the latest developments in artificial intelligence. Companies worldwide have competed to develop the most sophisticated chatbots and provide a fully automated experience to customers as well as optimize the way transport operators provide service through all the phases of the passenger journey.

And passenger expectations have changed. Today they include the availability of high-quality Wi-Fi onboard, real-time information, destination planning, onboard services, security, baggage tracking, customer care and automated support before, during and after the journey.


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