One of my favorite things in recent years has been watching the (slow) but important revolution in customer service. People don’t like picking up the phone – ever – nor do they like the jazz music they hear when they do. Sorry, jazz people. Wouldn’t it make so much more sense to allow customers to engage where they hang out anyway, via text, WhatsApp and other simple solutions?
I was excited last year when Virgin Atlantic added text message based service. I rarely have time to sit on hold and even if I do, I’d rather be getting other things done in the meantime. I loved being able to book everything from award tickets on partner airlines to changing current bookings, all via text. But I don’t really text anymore, or at least not often.
The vast majority of my conversations are on WhatsApp, and now we’re talking. This new feature makes it so much easier to continue working through my day, just sending messages and carrying on until I see a pop up that the Virgin Atlantic representative has responded. Fire off a quick reply, and back to whatever I’m doing.
That aside, it’s also “free” to send messages on WhatsApp, which can be vital if you have internet connection abroad but would be charged for texts or calls. In other words, there’s a reason everyone is on WhatsApp!
What I love about it, is that you can use it for complicated things – not just bot style responses like many airlines offer on Facebook messenger or their websites. Ultimately, everyone has a different approach to how they wish to engage with an airline, and the more options a customer has (that actually work) the better.
I can’t wait to see more airlines and travel brands bring the conversation to us on our terms, rather than their painful one way portals where we fire off an email to no one, and hope. From an airline standpoint, it also seems to make sense financially. Surely reps can manage multiple WhatsApp chats at once, which makes every person more effective than someone stuck on a single call.
Sometimes calling is great, but when you got things to do, or are somewhere you can’t talk, this is brilliant and I’m just glad to see airlines embracing customers on their own terms. Well done on this one, Virgin. Let’s hope others get on board…