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JetBlue Travel Products Modernizing its Call Center with Twilio Products

Twilio’s SIGNAL customer and developer conference was held online on August 23, 2023. In the virtual session, “How JetBlue Travel Products modernized and took control of their customer experience by using Twilio,” Vitaliy Faida, Associate Head of Cloud Engineering, JetBlue Travel Products, provided some insight into how their contact center operates and how their agents – called “helpful humans” – interact with customers.

JetBlue Travel Products (JTP) is a wholly owned subsidiary of JetBlue. Originally, JTP focused on selling vacation packages – hotel, car rentals and airfare – and then segued into selling cruise packages. Now the company is moving into selling other products, including insurance protection, activities, and short-term rentals. Faida said that many of these products are upsells to the core package(s) customers purchase.

He also indicated that most purchases occur on the JTP site, which the company has tried to streamline so that customers can buy what they want with only a couple of clicks. “If they still need help – can’t decide on a package – or if they’ve already booked and need to extend or change their plans, or cancel the booking entirely – that’s usually where the agents come in,” Faida said. “At first we didn’t really need a contact center, but now we have around 40 to 50 agents who help customers.”

When customers do call in, Faida said that JTP uses Twilio’s Caller ID functionality to identify the caller. With Twilio Flex, along with other custom integrations that Faida’s internal developer team coded, that incoming call starts loading JTP’s internal reports and searches for all future bookings associated with the number, customer’s first and last name, email, etc. “So, when the agent picks up they can say, ‘Hi, Vitaliy, are you calling about your travel to San Francisco in two weeks? Right away that kicks off the personalized and individualized attention we want our agents to deliver,” Faida said.

Faida continued, saying that from a company culture standpoint they refer to their agents as “helpful humans,” because that’s their goal – to be helpful guides to customers. “They’re actually eager and passionate about what they do and they’re there to resolve issues. Sometimes that means discussing a property, because a lot of our agents know the properties inside and out, or helping customers rebook or just add another product.”

One interesting aspect of the JTP / Twilio deployment involves PCI compliance. That term refers to the policies and procedures developed to protect credit, debit, and cash card transactions, and prevent the misuse of cardholders’ personal information. (Stripe provides a good overview of what PCI compliance entails.)

Faida said that when the customer is ready to make a purchase while on the phone with a helpful human, that agent clicks a button, and the customer is then presented with the audio interface to key in their credit card number. When the customer is finished, the line is unmuted, and the agent is presented with a token that just shows the payment method’s last four digits. The agent can then finalize the transaction.

Moving forward, JTP is looking to enhance their workforce management system which Faida said is “pretty old school still” and also to improve reporting. “At some point we would like to match the transcripts from the calls to the particular reservations and then do the sentiment analysis,” Faida said. This capability would involve moving to Twilio Analytics, which would allow JTP to save the interaction data into their data lake and then run various analyses on it. “That would allow us to figure out what works in the conversation, what doesn’t work, what the customers reactions’ were and where the customer is located versus where the agents are located.” 

JTP is also looking to introduce more channels (SMS and text) for service and support. This could be proactive – e.g., informing a customer of a flight delay that might affect their hotel booking, or help them track lost baggage, etc. They’re also looking into using either Twilio’s ChatGPT or Google Bard integration. 

“We're pretty busy trying to help our customers to make sure their vacations are as uninterrupted as possible,” Faida said, “And at the same time helping them enjoying the experience before and after their vacations.”