The use of digital customer service channels to contact airlines is gaining in popularity as most travellers believe their interactions with airline companies have changed since the pandemic according to a survey by Teleperformance

Conducted by the digital business services company’s business insights lab, the survey asked customers about their interactions with airline companies through channels such as apps, text, instant messaging and social media. 

Almost 70% of the just over 4,800 travellers surveyed believed their interactions with airlines were different when compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic, with 23% telling surveyors that they interacted with airlines more than before. 

Rahul Jolly, Teleperformance’s president of global travel and hospitality, said: “One of the most significant changes in the travel industry since the pandemic is the growing demand for flexibility among travellers. 

“This includes a demand for more diverse contact options and travellers’ rising preference for digital channels that provide flexibility in how they receive help and support.” 

Whilst voice-based and email channels are still the most popular way for customers to contact airline customer support services, using a mobile app is now the third most popular channel with 20% of respondents having used an app-based service and 16% having contacted an airline via social media, Meta’s Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram being the most popular of the platforms. 

Teleperformance’s findings also point to the importance of airlines being prepared for the digital age to attract and retain younger millennial and Gen Z customers, as they were more likely to favour instant messaging, social media, mobile apps, video and automated chat services to their older and traditionalist counterparts. 

Jolly said: “Building out and enhancing support capabilities across emerging digital channels can help airlines differentiate themselves, provide positive experiences and help customer retention.” 

However, despite some using automated chat services amidst the rise of AI interfaces, out of the vast majority of those surveyed, 77%, still preferred to get help from a real person.

Utilising digital channels to communicate with clients has also become a key tool in expanding the accessibility of airlines and the information they provide, with British Airways recently becoming the first UK airline to launch a visual guide to flying to help passengers with autism.

The full report can be found on the Teleperformance website.