Consumers Want Airlines to Provide More In-App Customer Support

New data from mobile customer support provider Helpshift demonstrates that consumers want to get travel-related customer support from directly within an airline’s mobile app, and not just for the reasons you might expect. It's no secret that consumers want to be able to check in, choose their seats, and handle other pre-travel tasks via an app, but according to Helpshift's research, 89 percent of travelers said they'd want to use a customer support feature in an airline app while flying as well.

Expectations are growing, and consumers don't want to wait for service, even if they're midair. When asked why they want in-flight customer service delivered via an app, 61 percent cited convenience. Thirty-six percent also said they simply don't want to have to wait for flight attendants.

One of the biggest customer service concerns in-flight was connecting to WiFi—38 percent of airline app users said they'd use in-flight support features to connect to the internet. Similarly, 36 percent said they'd use them to set up in-flight entertainment. And just over a quarter of respondents said they’d want in-flight app support because flight attendants are too busy handling difficult passengers.

"There is a marked shift occurring in consumer expectations around how they interact with brands. People want to interact with brands the way they interact with friends—through messages and apps," Abinash Tripathy, founder and CEO of Helpshift, said in a statement. "These survey results underscore the fact that people prefer apps as their first port of call for customer service and support."

Airline apps that make the leap to provide in-app support during the flight are likely to reap the rewards. According to Helpshift's data, 96 percent of travelers said that if their in-flight problems were solved through in-app customer support, they would likely recommend that airline to friends, while 63 percent of travelers said they would be very likely to do so.

"Airlines that provide more sophisticated in-app support are more likely to enjoy stronger customer engagement and loyalty," Tripathy said.  

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