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Photo: Lufthansa

Lufthansa, Austrian, SWISS: first rebooking chatbots

The group is launching a new customer service via Facebook Messenger that it says will allow quicker service and integrate with current customer services.

Lufthansa Group has announced that passengers now have access to a digital assistant in addition to customer services such as lufthansa.com, the Lufthansa app and the group’s customer service apps.

The Bots Elisa (Lufthansa), Nelly (SWISS) and Maria (Austrian Airlines), named after the first female flight attendants at each of the three airlines, are available to customers around the clock every day.

The new digital service complements existing customer service so that questions can be answered to boost customer satisfaction. The company says this will also relieve service centres so that they can concentrate on customer inquiries that the bots cannot answer.

To start a dialogue with one of the digital helpers, you need only to use Facebook Messenger, and this can also be used without a Facebook profile using a mobile phone number.

Flight status as well as information about delayed or cancelled flights is available. If a flight is cancelled or the customer misses a connecting flight, the passenger can use the chatbots to rebook.

The passenger is either shown a rebooking that has already been made automatically or selects a new flight to the destination from the alternatives offered. Lufthansa says the chatbots in its network are the first in the world to enable rebooking.

The chatbots, for now available only in English, can be used by all Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian customers. If the digital assistants cannot provide a solution, the chat can be forwarded directly to a service centre employee.

Specific answers
The plan is that future changes will allow the chatbots to provide specific answers on free baggage allowances, the whereabouts of baggage or push notifications in the event of delays, cancellations or gate changes.

The bots are constantly being developed and will also be made available on other channels such as airline apps, airline websites or other messenger services such as WhatsApp, the group says.

Though the company says that self-service will play an increasingly important role in the future, it also says that Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines will continue to be personally accessible to their customers via their service staff in addition to automated solutions.

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