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Malaysia Airlines unveils new flight booking chatbot

According to a recent report, Malaysia Airlines, along with with a travel tech company that helps businesses connect to the global travel ecosystem, manage operations more effectively and serve travellers better, has launched MHchat, a new feature which helps travellers book flights and pay through the popular social media messaging app by the world’s largest social media platform.

Another report delved a little deeper into the ROIs that MA has set for the new chat platform. The report noted that the feature, which uses the travel tech company’s Chatbot for Airlines solution, is one of the digital initiatives unveiled by the airline earlier this year alongside MHguardian and MHfeedback.

Designed to mimic human conversation, the feature acts as a “travel buddy” that understands the needs of travellers, facilitating smoother transactions, immediate responses and allowing conversations to take place when it suits the customer.

On the messaging app, customers can use the chatbot to search for flights or ask a question related to a booking.

In a statement, the airline company said that its primary ROI for the app is to improve customer satisfaction and increase customer loyalty that will translate to a higher customer lifetime value.

Additionally, direct and measurable ROIs are sales generated through the app and the number of customer support queries that have been answered by the bot directly, rather than customers having to call the airline company’s contact centre or an agent manually answering via the messaging platform.

When asked how the airline ensures that the chatbot caters to cultural sensitivities, the airline company said it has to manage the expectations of internal stakeholders and customers that any new experience is always imperfect since the underlying technologies are constantly evolving.

According to the airline company’s statement, the chatbot is the same with smart assistants on one’s phone or PC that can respond to your voice queries up to a certain level of complexity even though it may not always interpret cultural differences in tone of voice, grammar and wordings correctly.

The company is currently surveying customers that use the service to get better insights on their experiences.

The company added that the chatbot also reports and analyses conversations automatically when there is not clear or concrete response available. Using that information, the airline company will then manually train the chatbot to better understand how customers interact with the airline.

Having launched its business solution on another incredibly popular chatting platform last month, the airline’s main focus in its Digital Innovation Roadmap is to build more AI and machine learning capabilities behind the scenes, that will make “incremental but noticeable improvements” in the way customers interacts with the airline on digital channels.

The airline company’s CEO  said that customer experience is a “key priority” for the airline and it is “deeply committed” to constantly improving it. Its digital transformation strategy lies at the heart of this, as the company continuously harness new and innovative technologies to enhance all touch-points for its guests.

Meanwhile, the executive vice president, airlines, Asia Pacific, of the partnering company (which is providing the technical guidance and help) said that agility is crucial when working on innovative digital solutions and the company managed to deliver the chatbot app in three months.

According to the executive VP, many airlines are embarking on turnaround transformation initiatives, driven by a real will to address competition but above all to improve the customer experience.

He added that the travel tech company will continue to drive technology improvements and bolster the chatbot with new features.

These include multi-language support, adding ancillary services to an existing booking, and even integration with the cloud-based voice service by a major multinational e-commerce company for voice capabilities.

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