Every captain needs a first mate. And at Virgin Voyages, the adults-only cruise line set to debut in 2020, its second-in-command will be none other than travel agents.
TORONTO — Amadeus has launched ‘Amadeus Agent Pay’, a solution the GDS says allows airlines to take payment more securely.
By removing payment from the call centre conversation, says the company, airline agents can “focus entirely on serving customers, improving call centre efficiency”.
Until now, airlines have had to “trade off” security against convenience when taking payment through a call centre, which Amadeus says account for 15% of total airline bookings. Customers must give their card details over the phone, either to an agent or an automated voice system. While the latter is more secure, “neither option makes for a great customer experience,” says the company.
With Amadeus Agent Pay, airline agents send their customers a link via SMS or email to a secure webpage. The customer can then complete the payment from their smartphone, tablet or PC. Meanwhile, the ticket is kept on hold and issued automatically once the payment is completed. This allows customers to pay how they want, when they want, as well as making call centres more secure as they no longer have to handle card details.
Finnair is the first airline to deploy Amadeus Agent Pay in its Finland call centre; it has already reported fewer manual payment errors and faster call resolution.
Following its successful implementation, Finnair has recognized the opportunity to use Agent Pay in other channels too. “After seeing the positive impact on customer experience and call resolution times, we have also introduced Agent Pay for our chat-based customer service agents. Facilitating payments in this way has allowed us to resolve many more customer queries on first contact, improving customer service and freeing up agents’ time. We’re also testing Agent Pay at the airport,” said Satu Karaksela, Digital customer care manager of Finnair.
With Agent Pay, customers can also pay with alternative methods like PayPal and Alipay, just as they would in the airline’s web or mobile page. This could help airlines further stand out in a competitive marketplace, in fact, according to Worldpay 61% of airlines claim that offering alternative payment methods can be a major differentiator.
“Amadeus Agent Pay enables air travellers to pay simply, more securely and conveniently, making the best use of their conversation with call center agents. We’re delighted to be working with such an innovative airline as Finnair and we are confident that this new payment solution will help airlines offer greater customer experience in this channel whilst reducing their costs,” said Celia Pereiro, Head of Travel Payments at Amadeus.