FlySafair Works With Clickatell to Expand Its Customer Service Offering on WhatsApp
While South Africa’s airline industry has seen dramatic consolidation over the past few years, the gap left by shuttered local airlines has opened the doors for other carriers to meet the growing demand for seats as the country returns to pre-Covid travel. However, this increasingly competitive landscape is placing significant pressure on airline leaders to optimise their operations and improve customer satisfaction.
Clickatell, a CPaaS innovator and Chat Commerce leader, began work with South Africa’s favourite low-cost airline, FlySafair, in 2021, rolling out a WhatsApp customer communication channel. The introduction of the chat platform has not only injected new efficiencies, but it has dramatically boosted customer satisfaction.
“As an airline obsessed with efficiency and maintaining our reputation for being the most on-time carrier, we are always looking for new ways to improve the customer journey and internal processes to ensure superior customer experiences. So when Clickatell approached us about their Chat Commerce Platform, we knew we had to jump at the opportunity,” explains Eswee Vorster, FlySafair Executive Manager and CIO.
Clickatell’s Chat Commerce platform has enabled FlySafair to expand their customer service offering to the popular WhatsApp channel which is used by 96% of South Africa’s digital population.
“Today’s consumers want the flexibility and convenience of engaging with the brands they love and trust on the channels that they use every day. WhatsApp is the logical channel for us to reach our South African customers,” Vorster says.
His views are supported by research conducted by Clickatell which shows that 89% of consumers want to conduct business on chat channels.
Digital solutions that make life easier
Like every airline, managing a busy call centre had been one of the biggest challenges for FlySafair. But, with more and more customers preferring to use digital channels to answer queries and solve their own problems, Vorster and his team were on the lookout for a solution that could help them deliver.
The airline’s busy call centre receives several thousand calls during a normal day, which can triple or even quadruple during promotions. Reducing the pressure on agents, as well as empowering customers to find answers to their queries and manage their bookings themselves, was an obvious priority for airline management.
Clickatell’s digital contact centre solution, Chat Desk, which allows organisations to run and manage live agent support in chat, enable FlySafair to resolve customer queries faster, eliminate hold times, and taking the frustration and inconvenience out of the customer service experience.
Clickatell’s Chat Commerce workflow builder and automation tool, Chat Flow allows FlySafair teams to design intelligent self-service engagements for their customers.
The Clickatell solution makes it possible for FlySafair customers to find helpful information or connect with a customer service agent by simply sending “Hi” on WhatsApp to +27 87 357 0030.
A better experience from start to finish
FlySafair has invested significant time assessing how it can improve its offering across the digital journey, especially when it comes to busy holiday periods.
The FlySafair WhatsApp channel hosts key information about flight cancellations and changes, luggage restrictions, identity requirements, Covid-19 safety requirements, as well as the option to chat to a live agent. In addition, customers can also choose to receive their boarding pass on WhatsApp, significantly improving and streamlining the passenger experience.
Providing answers to frequently asked questions, self-serve options including boarding passes on WhatsApp reduces queues and improves the overall travel experience.
“Our customers can efficiently manage their travel experience in chat. From accessing helpful information, receiving their boarding passes, check-in via WhatsApp, and can even request a call back from a call centre agent if they need in-person support. As our Chat Commerce Partner, Clickatell enables us to offer customer service more effectively and efficiently through WhatsApp,” Vorster says.
The Clickatell implementation forms a key part of FlySafair’s digital future.
“Constant technical innovation has enabled low-cost airlines to make their mark and truly compete with the established carriers. We see chat technology as a game changer for us going forward. Not only does it perform the basics very well, but it allows us to better understand travellers, taking us a step closer to a single view of our customer,” Vorster explains.
Reflecting on the partnership, Vorster says the companies’ comparable cultures have laid the foundations for an exciting future.
“I love the hands-on approach of the Clickatell team and their agile mindset fits perfectly with our culture of moving on opportunities when we see them. Clickatell helped us to completely transform our customer’s digital experience. Our goal is to offer all the functionality currently available on our website on WhatsApp,” Vorster shares.
Chat Commerce offers exciting use cases for the airline industry
Chat Commerce solutions are quickly gaining traction with companies across many sectors, helped in part by its scalability and rapid deployment capabilities.
Enterprises are able to launch a Chat Commerce solution in as little as two months with minimal disruption. This means companies can get started immediately and then refine their offering over time, making it perfect for airlines who cannot afford a single minute of downtime.
What’s more, the competitive nature of the airline industry lends itself perfectly to the many use cases of Chat Commerce and supporting automation, not least of all, the ability to upsell services.
Upselling over a known and trusted chat channel, like WhatsApp, is as simple as a quick text message. Once bookings are confirmed, travel agents and airlines can offer seat upgrades and even suggest places to stay at specific destinations, complete with special offers and promotions that passengers can take advantage of right then and there. In addition, by using payment links consumers can complete a travel related purchase within their favourite messaging channels.
Making payments over chat has already been warmly welcomed by travellers. Clickatell’s latest Chat Commerce Trends Report: Travel Edition 2022, found that 71% of consumers indicated that they are more willing to make a purchase with a travel company through a payment link only after chatting with a live agent or automated bot. By implementing a robust Chat Commerce solution, FlySafair has laid the groundwork for any number of future digital offerings. And, by choosing to work with Clickatell, they can rest assured that they can stay ahead of the competition without their passengers experiencing any unnecessary delays or cancellations.