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Finnair has joined the 14% of airlines that offer their customers AI-powered chatbots. Known as Finn and launched on Facebook Messenger, the artificially intelligent interactive service allows users to buy tickets and access customised information in real time. The Finnish group sees the advent of the chatbot as a vital step towards a more expansive development strategy.

Smartphone ai

 

Finnair have become the latest airline to launch a chatbot. Named Finn and offering customers a new support and service tool, it is artificially intelligent and is available on the company’s Facebook page, via Facebook Messenger. Though Finn only operates in English at the moment, it will use more languages in the future. 

 

Finnair joins the chatbot club

 

Some 14% of the world’s airlines now communicate with their passengers via chatbots. Like Transavia’s Laura, Vueling’s Eva and Lufthansa’s Mildred, Finn has been designed to provide answers and support. Users can talk to the chatbot to buy tickets, check flight schedules that are updated in real time and obtain sales-related information etc.

If needed, however, human assistance will not be too far away. “If Finn cannot answer a question, the message will be delivered to a customer service agent for further actions,” said Finnair in announcing the chatbot’s arrival on 5 September.

 

Expert assistance

 

“Finn represents a big step forward for chatbot technology in the airline industry, turning the messenger platform into a channel for servicing and sales,” said Jonathan Newman, commercial director at Caravelo, the airline-industry solutions provider that helped Finnair develop the chatbot.

Like any platform based on artificial intelligence, Finn is continually being developed and having new features added to it, with Finnair’s customers playing their part in adding to the tool’s capabilities, not least in terms of languages. As Rogier van Enk, Vice-President Distribution Finnair, said: “Finn understands and communicates in English, but later it will learn more languages and functionalities. Finnish and Chinese are coming up this year.”

 

Targeting the Chinese market

 

Finnair are also on the lookout for local platforms that can support the Chinese version of the tool once it has been developed. The airline is looking at the country’s social media sites, WeChat among them.

In the meantime, the Finnish airline sees its new chatbot as a key component of their development project. “We believe that fast developing digital tools will greatly benefit our customers,” added Van Enk. “Exploiting artificial intelligence is an integral part of our transformation strategy. We are growing and we constantly look for new ways to improve our customer service and developing new sales channels.”

 

Allianz Partners

 

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