People-centric service in the age of AI

Unlocking the balance: People-centric service in the age of AI

By
Matt Walton
June 26, 2024
 • 
6 Mins
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Matt Walton
Marketing Executive

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How Artificial Intelligence and smart technology have transformed travel and meetings management customer service.

Sponsored content from the BTN.

From streamlining booking processes to optimising expense management, tech has woven its way into the fabric of every trip, promising efficiency, productivity, and cost savings like never before. But amidst the excitement of technological advancements, it’s essential to remember the irreplaceable role of human interaction in achieving top-notch service delivery.

In travel and meetings, every interaction counts. Whether it’s the ease of making a booking or the smoothness of the trip itself, exceptional service is key. Corporate, SME, or public sector customers have diverse needs, but they all value good customer service. But blending technology with human expertise is where the real pot of gold lies at the end of the customer experience rainbow.

Understanding the human element

Exceptional service is all about finding the right balance between cutting-edge technology and genuine human connection. While AI can revolutionise how we book travel and manage meetings, it can’t do everything alone. The human factor brings a nuanced perspective that complements the capabilities of smart technologies.

In a world driven by algorithms, automation, and data analytics, it’s easy to lose sight of the human touch. Yet, human understanding is at the heart of optimising every complex travel request – the ability to empathise, anticipate needs, and provide personalised solutions. While AI can crunch numbers and analyse patterns, it often falls short in interpreting emotions and handling complex situations. For example, dealing with unexpected flight delays or last-minute changes in plans requires more than just real-time updates and alternative options provided by automation. It’s the human touch that offers reassurance and creative problem-solving.

We see it first-hand as travel and meetings managers – our technology supports hundreds of thousands of positive trip experiences each year, but as an ever-present safety net for our customers, it’s our people that often give travellers a lasting reassurance.

Simplifying processes with technology

Our ClarityGo and MeetingsPro technology exemplifies how smart tech can streamline planning and booking travel and meetings. ClarityGo’s broad and lightning-fast search capabilities alongside seamless policy integration and approvals showcase how technology can transform the travel booking experience. While the live availability and instant book features of MeetingsPro have put the power to book simple, less complex meetings into the hands of users.

Imagine planning a small team meeting. With MeetingsPro, you can search for venues based on specific criteria, check real-time availability, and book a simple meeting instantly. This seamless process saves time and reduces the need for back-and-forth communication, allowing users to focus on their core tasks.

But technology shouldn’t just be created for sales teams to tick a box, they should be a sensible solution to process optimisation and increased service personalisation. Online booking tools, chatbots, and traveller profile-relevant searches provide quick responses when travellers need them most and often alleviated call volumes. This allows expert advisors to focus on delivering personalised service and strategic guidance.

When it comes to more complex travel, meetings, conferences, and event requests, knowledgeable advisors are always ready to assist. They bring a wealth of experience and a personal touch to ensure every detail is perfect. This balance between technology and expert support ensures that every booking can be given proportionate and precise support, as well as optimal service.

Striking the balance - the cornerstone of customer service

The key to unlocking the full potential of AI and smart tech in business travel and meetings is finding the right balance between technology and human interaction. Instead of viewing AI as a replacement for human involvement, we see it as a powerful tool that enhances our ability to serve customers better.

We build our technology around our people, ensuring that our systems and staff work harmoniously to deliver optimal service. But how do we know this approach works? For us, this means measuring the effectiveness of this approach through our customer satisfaction scores (CSATs), where we average a score of 98%. We also extensive service accreditation, like a prestigious Service Mark with Distinction from the Institute of Customer Service. An accreditation that’s awarded after an extensive review process and highlights our dedication to outstanding customer service.

Embracing the future

As the business travel landscape evolves, adopting the latest technology is just part of the equation. Equally important is maintaining the value of experienced, knowledgeable people who create meaningful connections and memorable experiences for travellers and delegates.

Combining the efficiency of technology with the warmth of human interaction provides a service experience that’s not only seamless and cost-effective but also deeply personal and rewarding. Whether it’s planning a meeting or arranging a trip, we strive to balance emerging technologies with the fundamentals of good service, empathy, and personalised care.

The future of service quality in business travel will be owned by those who can seamlessly integrate technology with a people-centric approach, ensuring that the journey isn’t just about how long it took to plan, search, and book, but about what you achieved when you arrived.

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