AirAsia winds down call centers as chatbot takes on customer care

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 27 2019 08:33 AM | Updated as of Aug 27 2019 09:41 AM

AirAsia's chatbot AVA allows passengers to book flights, customize their baggage allowance, and even play games. ABS-CBN News

KUALA LUMPUR -- AirAsia said its customer support hotlines would cease operations by the end of the year, as Asia's largest low-cost carrier places its chatbot at the forefront of customer queries.

Since its launch earlier this year, AVA or AirAsia Virtual Allstar, handles some 50,000 messages daily, said Adam Geneave, head of AirAsia's Customer Happiness group.

As of August, only 2 of AirAsia's original 10 call centers remain, one in Thailand and another in India, he said. Even before AVA's debut, voice call inquiries have decreased "significantly" over the years, he said.

"One of the reasons AVA is so successful is (because) she uses artificial intelligence to tailor the right product to the right guest," Geneave said late Monday. 

Aside from answering queries, AVA allows passengers to book flights, customize their baggage allowance, and play trivia games.

AirAsia plans to expand its 600-strong customer support team. ABS-CBN News

The low-cost carrier also plans to add more members to its 600-strong customer support staff, Geneave said, which includes the live chat team that handles AVA's unresolved queries.

The chatbot, which can be accessed through AirAsia's website, mobile app and Facebook, will be available on China's super app WeChat by the fourth quarter.