Commentary

Driving Loyalty Through Faster Communication

If marketing is about driving loyalty and customer satisfaction through communication, then a company called Gladly thinks it has come up with a solution that meets that definition.

Gladly is working closely with JetBlue, an airline that has a reputation for placing customer service first. JetBlue, an early customer of Gladly’s platform, is using that solution to roll out live-chat capability from within its mobile app.

By extending customer service to in-app chat, Gladly says it is providing an added layer of convenience that allows consumers to reach agents directly. This new option is in addition to communication channels Gladly already supports: voice, email, chat, text, and social. 

Gladly’s platform, according to the company,  eliminates the old-school model of tickets and case numbers, bringing all conversations into one place with the customer at the center regardless of the channel, empowering agents (called crewmembers at JetBlue) to help travelers in a personalized way. 

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Today, 25% of customer conversations happen on messaging. Moving such a large number of conversations from voice to messaging saves JetBlue significant money and the company anticipates this percentage to grow with the new in-app chat capability.

Mike McCarron, vice president of customer success for Gladly, said the company is in the business of helping solve B to C consumer service experience issues.  Gladly’s relationship with JetBlue, he said, started with email, then moved to webchat, then voice and then text messaging inside the mobile platform. And now the latest addition: webchat in the app.

Since JetBlue implemented Gladly two years ago, it is now used by all 2,500 of its crewmembers.

As a consumer moves from one channel to another — email, webchat, mobile chat, etc. — the JetBlue crewmember will see the full history of communication organized by time. This provides quicker responses to the consumer, and money saving for JetBlue, as crew members can handle multiple communications at the same time, rather than spending long periods on the phone.

“We can maintain the personal touch, but at scale,” said McCarron. He said some crew members can manage three or more customers at a time. 

The wealth of information is impressive. If a member of JetBlue’s loyalty program gets in touch, the crewmember will be able see whether they were on any recent flights, or have any trips coming up — and whether there have been issues before. It allows the agent to spend more time engaging with customers as opposed to searching multiple systems to find the information.  “We don’t have to start getting the story again,” said McCarron. 

Example: While on a call, one crewmember noticed a customer had previously set a preference for seats with more legroom, so she asked if he wanted to switch to his preferred seat type, which would cost a bit more. He took up the offer -- showing, according to Gladly, that the system has made it easy for crewmembers to see and use a customer’s details to personalize and enhance their experience while opening opportunities for ancillary sales.

Gladly is now working with major hotel companies and other travel suppliers, according to the company.

If anybody has tried to call an airline — or any other provider — recently, the possibility of quick response on a mobile chat is appealing. A human voice is great — but not if it takes a half hour or more to get to hear it.

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