KLM pilots artificial intelligence-enabled customer service responses on social media

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is taking a leap into customer service innovation by running a pilot program during which it will determine how artificial intelligence technology fares in handling customer service requests on social media.

The AI framework is being provided by technology firm Digital Genius, which is integrating its Human+AI Customer Service Platform with KLM?s Customer Relationship Management tool for the program. The technology will help KLM field its more than 100,000 social media mentions and 15,000 conversations per week.

?As the AI system continues to learn from the agents? modifications, the AI-suggested responses will improve which, in turn, should require less agent modification,? said Ryan Williams, head of client insights, travel and retail at comScore, Seattle.

?Subsequently, this should improve personalization and decrease message response time.?

Not-so artificial interactions
The platform works first by providing a KLM agent with a proposed answer for a customer service inquiry through the AI component, which has been trained on more than 60,000 questions and answers KLM has had experience with. The agent then uses his or her expertise to screen the proposed answer, adjust it if necessary and then send it across the appropriate social media channel.

The AI platform then engages in machine learning, adjusting answers based on what the agent does and becoming more acute over time.

Digital Genius? AI framework is already geared towards dealing with customer service inquiries, meaning that this marriage of brand and technology is a test-run in how both consumers and agents in the travel sector will react to working with artificial intelligence.

Since much of a given airline?s social media interactions are dominated by addressing complaints about flight delays, poor service and safety concerns, any airline that wants to bolster its social media presence must understand that adequate customer service on the platform is of paramount importance. KLM has decided to take an imaginative trajectory in confronting the travel sector?s customer service demands, and it has yet to be seen whether AI is a winning gamble.

Steps forward across sectors
Leveraging AI for customer service purposes is not as groundbreaking in the retail sector as it currently is in travel.

Macy?s has been piloting a mobile Web-based artificial intelligence platform that enables shoppers to ask product questions and receive responses, highlighting the growing role that cognitive learning and predictive analytics are playing in the retail industry (see story).

The greater airline industry is also going through some measure of overhaul in regards to customer engagement.

Recently, Air New Zealand capitalized on the popularity of mobile quizzes by inviting travel enthusiasts to visit its site, answer six personality-based questions and receive a personalized suggestion for a United States holiday destination (see story).

?The touted benefits of the AI integration are increased volume and response speed, while maintaining a level of personalization,? Mr. Williams said.

?Obviously, in order for this to work, the system?s learning logic has to be powerful enough to maintain a certain level of personalization or it will be no different than decades-old canned response customer service solutions.?