Customer relationship management is referred to as a process or a sequence of activities. According to (Peelen & Beltman, 2013), this definition requires that more attention is paid to the customer and the objective one hopes to achieve vis-à-vis the customer. Nowadays, customer relationship management has changed from boring call centers to a social platform that has induced successful investments through technological services. In the airline industry, going forward with customer relationship management, airlines should have less to do with displaying the actual physical inventory and seeking more of building a community amongst their customers to help them better understand their customers’ needs.
Conversational commerce is the new revolution to enhance customer experiences through messaging apps, chat-bots and in-app messaging. As tech-savvy consumers who favor simplicity to connect with their favorite brands, the millennials are the perfect target market for the airline industry. It is a huge phenomenon that airlines can’t afford to ignore, conversational commerce is a one-to-one relationship that millennials will want to use as their communication channel. A study by Zobgy has shown, that 87% of millennials surveyed claimed to have their phones at hand at all times. And so the millennials will be a natural target market for airlines to communicate while maintaining customer engagement and retention strategies (Golkar, 2016).
Conversational commerce will be convenient throughout the entire booking process for airlines. From passing on itineraries, boarding passes, receiving flight information, checking in, requesting additional informational, can all be done through messaging apps. Even though conversational commerce offers airlines a more convenient way to enhance customer engagement, there can also be challenges. The main challenge will be the deliverance of customer experience. Traditionally, communications have been a nuisance to customers who do not want to tell their problem to every customer representative that they speak to. With conversational commerce, it will lead to be exceptionally brief and to-the-point as a new ways of interacting with customers (Golkar, 2016).
An example of this can be seen through the Dutch airline KLM. In 2015, the airline offered booking confirmation and boarding passes for their customers via Facebook messenger. KLM is the first airline to be active on Facebook Messenger and plans to add additional services for their customers such as a booking service and the ability to purchase ancillary items. KLM sees the messenger app as a place for business where their customers can interact directly with customer service representatives. Since launching Facebook messenger, KLM has already experienced significant increase of 40% in the volume of questions from customers and plans to use other messaging apps such as WeChat and Korea’s KaoKaoTalk as the future of customer communication through messaging apps (Fox, 2015).
By incorporating conversational commerce, the airline industry can get to know their customers and develop a personal relationship with them and not only the interest of making sales or profit. It is important that airlines and customers’ interest in one another cover a longer period of time than just the simple moment of a booking transaction, which is why conversational commerce will be the key to customer relationship management.
Fox, L. (2015, 11 13). KLM confirms Facebook Messenger play. Retrieved from Tnooz: https://www.tnooz.com/article/klm-facebook-messenger/
Golkar, G. (2016, 9 15). Conversational Commerce is Key to Millennial Customer Engagement. Retrieved from Vocalcom Digital Native: http://www.vocalcom.com/en/blog/conversational-commerce/conversational-commerce-is-key-to-millennial-customer-engagement/
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). 2nd Edition Customer Relationship Management. Amsterdam: Pearson Benelux BV.