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“Effective Communication with Passengers is Our Top Priority”

Andrzej Gruszka 16.05.2019
Andrzej Gruszka

Wroclaw Airport is the first airport in Poland and one of the few in Europe that have launched their own chatbot. It finds parking spots, provides answers to hundreds of thousands of frequently asked questions, informs passengers about their flight status, and, thanks to the integration with Skyscanner, helps them plan their flying journey. And this is only the beginning…

I’m talking with Monika Półtorzycka-Jon, the Marketing and PR specialist at Wroclaw Airport.

Andrzej Gruszka: How did you get interested in chatbots?

Monika Półtorzycka-Jon: Effective communication with passengers is our top priority. We monitor passengers’ behavior and the ways they use our services to meet customer expectations. Communication is a frequently raised subject during meetings and industry conferences. A year ago, in Stockholm, I took part in an event dedicated to airports. The latest methods of communicating with passengers were the dominant topic of many lectures. Airports from outside of Europe proposed their solutions, promoting the benefits of using mobile communication channels. As I got deeper into the subject, I found websites devoted to chatbots and decided that that’s the tool we need.

AG: What really convinced you to use this tool in Wroclaw Airport’s communication?

MP-J: Over 50% of our website traffic comes from mobile devices. Because users are usually in a hurry, they want to quickly and comfortably find information about, for instance, flight connections. Thanks to the immense popularity of Messenger, a chatbot would open up new communication possibilities. What also influenced our decision was the fact that we could integrate the chatbot with such tools, as a flight arrival and departure database and an advanced flight search engine. We focus on effective communication with our clients, so this reliable communication tool seemed to be a natural choice.

AG: How were you involved in the preparation and development of the virtual assistant?

MP-J: First of all, we had to come up with a concept and establish content guidelines. On the basis of our experience with passengers, we examined the problems they usually come across and analyzed frequently asked questions. Then, we created a database for: the airport, flight connections, airport transfers, parking spots, and so on. In the meantime, together with our IT department and the KODA Bots team, we worked out a solution that would keep passengers informed about their status of flight. Our airport also established a cooperation with one of the most popular flight comparison websites – Skyscanner. All these elements together helped us achieve the desired result: an advanced communication tool that would quickly provide passengers with information they need.

AG: What is your favorite feature of the chatbot?

MP-J: To be honest, all its features are interesting, especially the one that informs passengers about their real-time flight status or the one that integrates a popular search engine to compare flight connections. However, the way the chatbot interacts with users, how comfortably it talks and how fluently it answers to questions, is even more fascinating. Especially considering the fact that the bot constantly learns, getting smarter day by day ?

AG: How did the airport fans know about the new chatbot?

MP-J: Wroclaw Airport Facebook fans were the first to learn about it. They seemed to be the most natural choice. Before the official release, we invited them to test the chatbot, which turned out to be a positive experience both for them and for us. If it wasn’t for the users, the communicator wouldn’t be as good as it is now. They were the ones who told us what worked, what didn’t, and what they expected from the product. Thanks to this, we could make improvements before the official release day. As we released the chatbot, we also launched an informative advertising campaign, using, among others, online tools and, of course, communication channels available at the airport.

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AG: What feature is used most frequently by the airport customers?

MP-J:  It’s definitely the flight status notification and flight connection search engine. The passengers also often search for information about airport transfers and look for answers to various questions related to the air travel.

AG: What conclusions can you draw from the several weeks that followed the chatbot release?

MP-J: It’s good but we have to work hard to make it better. We monitor the performance of the chatbot, draw conclusions, and make the necessary improvements. All this is to provide our passengers with a fully useful  and functional tool.

AG: How can the Wroclaw Airport virtual assistant surprise us in the future?

MP-J: We have several ideas on our mind. I can’t share them with you right now, but I hope we’ll be able to tell you in the nearest future.

AG: Why KODA Bots and not other, for instance, free chatbot building platforms?

MP-J: Because I trust my own intuition, which usually doesn’t let me down ? But besides intuition, also hard facts matter. We usually rely on recommendations, we pay attention to our partner’s experience and whenever our initial conversations augur well – we take up the challenge. That‘s how it looked like in the case of KODA Bots.

AG: Thank you for the interview.

MP-J: Thank you too.