Automating human interaction is a trend that is here to stay. The latest approach is Intelligent Assistants – a one to one human computer conversation channel otherwise known as “chatbots”. Intelligent Assistants simplify and improve interactions between humans and computers using a mixture of structured conversation logic and machine-learning backed artificial intelligence to understand customer queries. These systems address customer queries, solve various tasks and collect information about users in a manner resembling human conversations. They understand user questions, provide suggested followup options and can assist with everything from frequently asked questions and customer surveys to purchases.

Over time conversational AI has found its way into many facets of our everyday lives – from social media to booking. Apple’s Siri brought conversational AI into the palm of consumers’ hands, and voice based natural language interfaces have also found their way into the home with Alexa and Google Home. 

Like most industries, airlines have identified Intelligent Assistants as a tool effective for personalized user experience and brand awareness. In 2017 APEX reported that 14% of aviation enterprises were already using chatbots for reservations, airline queries or travel advice, but this is predicted to rise to 68% by 2020. Other players in the travel market have been more ambitious – the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas has a chatbot concierge and MSC Cruises provides a hardware based, talking assistant in every cabin similar to Google Home or Alexa.

Chatbots, or support automation assistants are often used as a first line in sales and support channels. Basic questions can be answered without using support agents, resulting in fewer frustrating delays for the consumer and fewer demands on support staff. Human agents can then focus on dealing with the more complex queries that are routed to them. This results in enhanced customer service and experience, saving human time and effort. AI based assistants also provide consistency in responses and make it easier for companies to develop data-driven insights around what customers are asking and which responses satisfy them.

Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week this concierge CRM service can be used through chat apps, social media platforms or even within companies’ mobile apps. Intelligent assistants have successfully helped in reducing anxiety and frustration passengers experience while dealing with issues such as overbooking, miscommunications, delays etc.

However, what happens to passengers when they enter the aircraft and are cut-off from the “digital environment” they were in a couple of minutes ago? What happens to cruise customers when they need quick assistance when they’re onboard the cruise ship? What happens to people on commercial vessels for months at a time, whose internet access is restricted and expensive?

Most approaches to conversational AI rely on sending a lot of data back and forward to the “cloud”. This isn’t possible on most ships and airlines, and even where satellite connectivity is provided, connectivity is expensive and not always reliable. With FrontM’s Assistant apps passengers can continue to personalize their travel experience in a fully offline environment. 

Our Assistant app is easy to use and can be plugged into an existing operational system or cruise or airline’s existing app. The intuitive chat interface is able to address queries on operations, provide customer service or offer travel information such as onward journeys, destination highlights. This facility is accessible on the user’s laptop or hand-held device, even when they’re fully offline.

The hyper-relevance and personalisation that we drive by leveraging machine learning and patented offline Edge AI is a game-changer for companies serving these remote markets.  While most market players are focusing on social media and purchasing channels, we are aiming to revolutionize interactions on the platforms people already use when they’re remote.

We understand that our users have different requirements and we’re here to help create customized and differentiated chatbots. Get in touch with us to know more about developing your own chatbot and how we can add value.

Shagun Sahni

Author Shagun Sahni

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