We live in an increasingly smart and connected world, but sometimes the best way to get things done is with the support of another person. When a traveler calls an airline call center, it is often to make a last-minute change to their flight. Or because they prefer a more personal service. Call centers are still a significant channel for many airlines, accounting for 15% of total airline bookings. So ensuring a smooth and secure customer experience is paramount.
Until now however airlines have had to trade off security against convenience when taking payment in this channel. Customers must give their card details over the phone, either to an agent or an automated voice system. While the latter is more secure, neither makes for a great customer experience. Moreover, customers are limited to only being able to pay with cards, unlike other channels which offer multiple payment methods.
That’s why Amadeus is today launching Amadeus Agent Pay, which allows airlines to take payment more securely while improving the customer experience. By removing payment from the call center conversation, airline agents can focus entirely on serving customers, improving call center efficiency. Finnair is the first airline to deploy the solution in its Finland call center, where Agent Pay led to fewer manual payment errors and faster call resolution.
Airline agents using this innovative solution send their customers a link, via SMS or email, to a secure webpage; the customer can then complete the payment from their smartphone, tablet or PC. Meanwhile the ticket is kept on hold, and issued automatically once the payment is completed. This allows customers to pay how they want, and when they want, as well as making call centers more secure as they no longer have to handle card details.
Following the successful call center implementation, Finnair quickly recognized the opportunity to use Agent Pay in other channels too. “After seeing the positive impact on customer experience and call resolution times, we have also introduced Agent Pay for our chat-based customer service agents. Facilitating payments in this way has allowed us to resolve many more customer queries on first contact, improving customer service and freeing up agents’ time. We’re also testing Agent Pay at the airport,” said Satu Karaksela, Digital customer care manager of Finnair.
With Agent Pay, customers can also pay with alternative methods like PayPal and Alipay, just as they would in the airline’s web or mobile page. This could help airlines further stand out in a competitive marketplace, in fact, according to Worldpay 61% of airlines claim that offering alternative payment methods can be a major differentiator.
“Amadeus Agent Pay enables air travelers to pay simply, more securely and conveniently, making the best use of their conversation with call center agents. We’re delighted to be working with such an innovative airline as Finnair and we are confident that this new payment solution will help airlines offer greater customer experience in this channel whilst reducing their costs” said Celia Pereiro, Head of Travel Payments at Amadeus.
Pereiro continued: “Alternative payment methods have gained important traction in recent years. In today’s market airlines need to anticipate customer needs, wherever they are, so we cannot afford to overlook them – and Agent Pay is a simple solution for airlines to add choice and boost the experience in call centers.”