Air New Zealand is taking to artificial intelligence for the benefit of its customers. New Zealand’s national carrier is all set to launch a customer service chatbot that will respond to the common queries of its passengers. The chatbot has been named “Bravo Oscar Tango”, or will be simply called “Oscar”. The airline expects Oscar to finally transform to a “virtual travel assistant” so that the passengers are helped at every step throughout their journey.
Avi Golan, Chief Digital Officer of Air New Zealand, said, “The passengers can look forward to initially getting assisted by Oscar with their commonly asked queries. This is designed to significantly save their time in addition to getting a more personalized experience. By employing Oscar, the airline has decided to move away from a tradition which involved searching Frequently Asked Questions section online by the passengers.”
Golan said that Oscar has currently been launched as a beta or early stage product. This will enable customers to get intensely involved and effectively train him. Oscar will be similar to other artificial intelligence (AI) technology. This will help him learn based on passengers’ conversations, both verbal and text, thus helping to become more user-friendly and beneficial the more he get to interact. Oscar will currently be handling about 500 different types of questions, and would be gradually progressing as he keeps on learning and trained by the passengers.
“Getting Oscar out fast, particularly during its initial stages of development, is totally a new approach for us. This will help us customers closer and together build and co-create Oscar. It is quite important that Oscar should learn natural language directly from the customers – the language used by them and the types of information being sought by them – instead of the airline jargon as such,” stated Golan.
For the time being Oscar will play the role of a help chatbot for providing assistance at Air New Zealand Lounge, Airpoints and baggage queries. The airline is indicated that in future it would be integrating with the Air New Zealand Mobile app, and in-home digital assistants and other chat platforms.