KLM pioneers AI in social media

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Artificial intelligence answers passengers’ questions

Contact KLM and you may find yourself chatting to a robot. The Dutch carrier says it is the first airline to offer a combination of human agents and artificial intelligence in a single conversation on Twitter, Messenger and WhatsApp.

Taking what it calls the next step in using AI in its social media service, KLM is working with AI pioneer DigitalGenius to add automated answers to general questions from customers without the intervention of a human agent.

This gives real KLM agents more time to focus on questions in conversations with customers who require a more nuanced human approach.

KLM – which this week said it welcomed a record 32.7 million passengers on its flights in 2017 and a load factor of 88.4% – receives over 130,000 mentions via social media each week, a number that has grown since the introduction of WhatsApp as a service channel.

A dedicated team of 250 social media service agents personally engages in 30,000 conversations each week that consist of five or six questions and answers between airline and customer. Questions that can be answered automatically with the use of artificial intelligence usually come at the start of the conversation.

Smarter over time
KLM has been using AI provided by DigitalGenius for 18 months and it now supports over 50% of all inquiries. When agents need to answer questions, AI provides them with possible answers. The AI system learns from the service agents’ actions and becomes smarter over time.

Until now, the agents had to decide if the proposed answer suited the question, adjust the answer if necessary and send it to the appropriate social media channel. KLM is now able to automate the answers to the most common questions without the interference of a human agent.

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