Delta Air Lines is testing a new feature that allows customers to message the airline from an iOS device if they need assistance. The option to use the Messages app via Apple Business Chat allows customers to connect with a live Delta representative to receive instant assistance, or with a Delta Virtual Assistant to get quick answers to frequently asked questions.
The new mobile assist tool is being rolled out in phases to some customers this summer to test preferences and demand with plans to be integrated into the Fly Delta app for all customers this autumn. According to the airline, it will bring more convenient communications access to customers on the go, building on the delta.com “Need Help” messaging interface that launched earlier this year.
“This is about connecting with our customers where they are – and many have told us that they’d rather message with us than engage on other channels like the phone, email or social media,” said Tori Forbes-Roberts, Vice President — Reservation Sales and Customer Care. “Messaging is fast, it’s easy and it empowers our customers to connect with us on their terms — messages will even be saved and remain available so customers have a lifeline to Delta when they need it most.”
Forbes-Roberts added that messaging is expected to reduce wait times in all channels thanks in part to the Virtual Assistant capable of identifying answers to simple, common questions easily found on delta.com, before a live Reservations specialist is engaged. Even so, a customer can ask to speak with a live representative at any time to address questions, comments and challenges, while making the call on when to start, stop and continue conversations on a timeline that best suits their needs.
Rhonda Crawford, Delta’s Vice President of Distribution & Digital Channels, said that enabling messaging in the airline’s digital tools is a natural next step in delta.com and the Fly Delta app being as intuitive and helpful as possible.
“We want Delta customers to feel in full control of their experience with Delta, but know that we’re just a click or tap away when they need us,” she said. “We’ve seen incredible messaging engagement on our delta.com platform and integrating the Messages functionality into the Fly Delta app is an important part of our ongoing work to position our mobile platform as the consummate travel companion.”
So, here’s how it works. During the trial, some customers receiving Delta’s summer travel tips email prior their trip will see a “Need Help” link at the bottom of their email. When they click on the link on their iOS device, the Messages app will automatically launch and connect customers with Delta – the same way they message with friends and family. When the same link is clicked using an alternate device, including a desktop computer, the customer will be connected to the delta.com “Need Help” messaging interface. Delta will also perform limited tests of Apple Business Chat from directly inside the Fly Delta iOS app this summer.