Cebu Pacific to wind down call center operations by May 1
MANILA, Philippines—Leading budget airline Cebu Pacific will wind down call center operations as more passengers tap online booking options coupled with the success of its chatbot “Charlie”.
The budget carrier said in a statement that call center operations and hotline numbers will be discontinued by May 1 this year.
It was not immediately clear how many call center employees will be affected.
Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and customer experience, said the segment was outsourced and managed by a third-party agency.
“Prior to the finalization of termination, we have made sure that all affected agents were reassigned to other clients, specifically to avoid job loss during this time,” Iyog told the Inquirer.
The shift to automation and digital solutions comes as companies move to increase efficiency and cut costs.
Cebu Pacific started to take more meaningful steps in this direction in 2017.
Cebu Pacific said it was then among the first carriers in Asia to invest in an “integrated facility and technology for social intelligence and customer engagement.”
Customers’ needs were also being addressed through its social media channels.
Cebu Pacific launched the Charlie chatbot in 2018 to provide realtime answers to customers’ queries on flight schedule and status, check-in process, itinerary and boarding pass retrieval.
“Since then, Charlie has been continuously improved and is now able to respond to more queries, without having to talk to an agent,” Cebu Pacific said.
During the pandemic-induced downturn in aviation, Cebu Pacific improved its self-service options for passengers.
As of the first quarter of 2021, it said 87 percent of passengers booked their flights using its online platform.
Moreover, 67 percent of passengers managed their bookings online or when there were flight cancellations or disruptions.
“We are glad to have started our digital transformation journey even before the pandemic, because we have come to rely on it in this new normal environment,” Iyog said in a statement.
“We continue to prioritize the safety and convenience of our passengers, that is why we have accelerated our digital efforts to support contactless and self-service processes,” she added.
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