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Air NZ harnesses Google’s automated voice system

December 19, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Air New Zealand has become the latest airline – and the first in Australasian region – to let passengers use Google’s automated voice system to make inquiries.

Travellers will find it “a convenient, hands-free way to talk to the airline on the go”, according to Air New Zealand.

Customers can now ask Air New Zealand about various topics via the Google Assistant, including check-in and baggage limits.

Air New Zealand chief digital officer Avi Golan says launching with the Google Assistant opens up more options for customers to interact with the airline.

“Voice is a growing channel and therefore it’s important that we offer this as an option for customers to interact with us.

“We see voice as playing a particularly useful role on the day of travel, giving customers who may have their hands full with last minute travel preparations, the ability to check travel information without having to manually look it up on a device.”

The airline has been increasingly experimenting with Artificial Intelligence,” Golan said. Its chatbot Oscar has been assisting customers with commonly asked flight, baggage, lounge and Airpoints queries since his introduction in February. His performance has steadily improved with every interaction and today he as an average of 900 conversations per day with customers and boasts a conversation success rate of more than 70%.

“Our Google Assistant app is backed by the same in-house developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that powers our chatbot Oscar and we’ve applied learnings and insights gleaned from Oscar’s introduction to build our Google Assistant offering.”

Air New Zealand will look to further develop its Google Assistant capability in the future, including introducing the ability to sign into a booking or Airpoints account to enable even more personalised responses.

The Google Assistant is available across devices, including on eligible Android 6.0+ and iPhones, Android TVs and smart speakers like Google Home (in Australia).

Online chatbots are spreading among airlines, Jetstar has one and United Airlines has released apps for Google Assistant.

Edited by Peter Needham

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