TechWeb

Continental Airlines Revolutionizes Customer Support With Online Virtual Expert

Jul 30, 2009 (01:07 PM EDT)
URL: http://www.techweb.com/show-press-release/X783619/continental-airlines-revolutionizes-customer-support-with-online-virtual-expert.html

HOUSTON, July 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Continental Airlines today launched Virtual Expert technology, a new feature at continental.com, offering customers 24-hour support on the Web for all their travel needs. "Alex," the airline's Virtual Expert, interacts with customers to easily and effectively interpret requests and provide accurate answers to travel needs. Continental is the first network carrier to offer human emulation technology.

From booking a flight, to helping customers understand visa requirements for international travel, HASH(0x1786c80) allows Continental to provide the same high-touch service available within the call center environment, for customers on the Web.

"Continental.com is our one-stop shop for travel planning and information and Alex quickly and accurately guides our customers to the answers they're looking for," said Mark Bergsrud, senior vice president of marketing programs and distribution at Continental Airlines. "We are constantly looking for ways to improve our ability to deliver the best customer experience, and Alex will be an invaluable resource to our customers."

Developed by Next IT, the new technology emulates not only the look and voice of a human, but also the ability to understand the intent of phrases and dialog, guiding customers to information and making continental.com a one-stop shop for travel planning and information.

Customers visiting continental.com can click the Alex icon to open a chat window where they can enter a question. Alex responds with both a written and spoken response. The customer is then automatically navigated to the specific place on continental.com that answers the question and provides other helpful links in the chat window.

Prior to launching the technology, Continental tested the product with 3,000 of the airline's most frequent flyers and with reservations agents at Continental's call center in Salt Lake City.

Reservations agents at Continental are using the Virtual Expert technology to answer customer questions and improve the customer experience during calls. The Virtual Expert helps agents locate information quickly.

Continental's Virtual Expert is one of the many services that the airline has introduced to improve the overall customer travel experience. Continental was one of the first carriers to offer customer-driven technology that allows passengers to take control of the check-in process through kiosk self check-in. As a result, Continental customers enjoy one of the shortest line waits of any major airline and employees are better equipped to offer more personalized service. Continental's paperless boarding pass program allows travelers to receive boarding passes electronically on cell phones or PDAs when traveling from more than a dozen airports throughout its system, its EliteAccess program provides qualified customers priority check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage handling, and its corps of more than 300 specially selected and trained concierges provide individualized pre-and post-flight services for its BusinessFirst customers worldwide.

Continental Airlines is the world's fifth largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 2,750 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 133 domestic and 132 international destinations.

More than 750 additional points are served via current alliance partners. With more than 43,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with its regional partners, carries approximately 63 million passengers per year.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture. For the sixth consecutive year, FORTUNE magazine named Continental the No. 1 World's Most Admired Airline on its 2009 list of World's Most Admired Companies. For more company information, go to continental.com.

SOURCE Continental Airlines

CONTACT: Corporate Communications of Continental Airlines, corpcomm@coair.com+1-713-324-5080,

Web site: http://www.continental.com/ http://www.continental.com/company/news/