- Hawaiian Airlines, the fifth-best carrier in the U.S., according to an Airline Quality Ratings report, partnered with LivePerson on a messaging technology to answer customers' questions, per a statement made available to Mobile Marketer.
- Unlike one-way text updates and alerts that are common among most carriers, the two-way SMS feature lets travelers respond to texts instead of calling a customer service line. Customers can avoid sitting on hold waiting for a representative by messaging the airline and receiving a push notification when a representative responds.
- The airline plans to roll out a similar messaging feature in its app, according to the press release.
Hawaiian Airlines move comes as smartphone technology is revolutionizing the travel industry. Its messaging upgrade gives travelers another way to interact with the airline. By powering the two-way communication feature with SMS messages, a widely available tool, the airline is removing friction for as many consumers as possible to connect with customer service. Unlike chatbots, which are growing a customer service tool for businesses, SMS doesn't require a user to have a smartphone or an internet connection.
Previously, most airlines have offered one-way messaging, where the carrier would send a text to inform travelers about flight updates, gate changes and check-in times. Hawaiian Airlines' move now lets customers participate in the conversation by replying or asking a question without having to download a separate app. It also stores the interaction like any other text conversation, so customers can refer back to older messages from previous interactions in the same thread.
The airline industry has been in the spotlight this year after several high-profile incidents that showcased its failure to provide adequate customer service. Despite those mishaps, North American carriers have shown steady gains in customer satisfaction, according to researcher J.D. Power. While instances of denial of boarding and re-booking to another flight are still relatively low, they have the greatest negative influence on overall customer satisfaction. Travelers are generally more satisfied with improved on-time performance, fewer lost bags and high scores for flight crews.