How the Travel Industry Should Take Advantage of the API Economy to Improve Customer Service

How the Travel Industry Should Take Advantage of the API Economy to Improve Customer Service

September 21st, 2016

There is a great deal of chatter within the tech community centered around AI, bots and messaging apps. What personally jumps out at me is the opportunity for travel industry companies to dip their toes into the API world and enable a messaging API for their customer service division.

As someone who travels quite a bit, I would find it immensely helpful if my preferred travel companies provided customer support via Facebook Messenger, a custom app or even a unified communication app. There are many times that I am in a situation where I cannot talk to an agent on the phone, but can text/message. The ability to be asynchronous with an agent is invaluable in increasing efficiency especially when one is running between meetings.

The business benefits in implementing messaging for travel companies including reducing phone time, which is a goal of every major call center, and being able to text with multiple clients would multiply call center productivity. By extending call center capabilities into a messaging API like which supports both text and video, call centers could dramatically increase their productivity, while increasing high touch capabilities. These high touch scenarios include technical walkthroughs and special concierge situations that require video confirmation.

With dozens of assistance apps in the market, there clearly is a demand for these types of services and an opportunity for the technology laggards to grab market share before they are forced to pay these apps for access to their own customers. Here are a few apps that seem to resonate well: grocery-delivery service Instacart, Drizly and Klink for libation delivery, Washio, the proverbial “Uber for” laundry and dry cleaning, Swifto for dog walkers; Soothe for masseuses; and TaskRabbit for pretty much everything else. There are now even metaservices like WunWun and Magic that promise to figure out how to get what you want, when you want it.

And, yes, perhaps in the end, this vision might be a heavy lift as APIs can be a challenge to deploy and it will take an app like Good Service to bridge the human-technology gap to make the ecosystem work. But this is clearly an opportunity that should not be ignored.

Whatever the path, cheers to an exciting and app + API filled future!


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