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Apple Business Chat test rolling out to select customers, with expansion to all planned for fall

Delta is making another industry-leading move to connect with customers in their channel of choice by becoming the first airline to use the Messages app via Apple Business Chat. The option to message from an iOS device allows customers to connect with a live Delta representative to receive in-the-moment assistance, or with a Delta Virtual Assistant to get quick answers to frequently asked questions.

The new mobile assist tool is being rolled out in phases to some customers this summer to test preferences and demand, and is slated to be integrated into the Fly Delta app for all customers this fall. It will bring even more convenient communications access to customers on the go, building on the delta.com “Need Help” messaging interface that launched earlier this year to rave reviews.

“This is about connecting with our customers where they are — and many have told us that they’d rather message with us than engage on other channels like the phone, email or social media,” said Tori Forbes-Roberts, Vice President — Reservation Sales and Customer Care. “Messaging is fast, it’s easy and it empowers our customers to connect with us on their terms — messages will even be saved and remain available so customers have a lifeline to Delta when they need it most.”

Forbes-Roberts added that messaging is expected to reduce wait times in all channels thanks in part to the Virtual Assistant capable of identifying answers to simple, common questions easily found on delta.com, before a live Reservations specialist is engaged. Even so, a customer can ask to speak with a live representative at any time to address questions, comments and challenges, while making the call on when to start, stop and continue conversations on a timeline that best suits their needs.

Rhonda Crawford, Delta’s Vice President of Distribution & Digital Channels, said that enabling messaging in the airline’s digital tools is a natural next step in delta.com and the Fly Delta app being as intuitive and helpful as possible.

“We want Delta customers to feel in full control of their experience with Delta, but know that we’re just a click or tap away when they need us,” she said. “We’ve seen incredible messaging engagement on our delta.com platform and integrating the Messages functionality into the Fly Delta app is an important part of our ongoing work to position our mobile platform as the consummate travel companion.”

How it works

During the phased roll out, some customers receiving Delta’s summer travel tips email prior their trip will see a “Need Help” link at the bottom of their email. When the link is tapped from their iOS device, the Messages app will automatically launch and connect customers with Delta — the same way they message with friends and family. When the same link is clicked using an alternate device, including a desktop computer, the customer will be connected to the delta.com “Need Help” messaging interface. Delta will also perform limited tests of Apple Business Chat from directly inside the Fly Delta iOS app this summer.

With testing beginning this summer, customers using an iOS device can get real-time answers to questions using their Messages app. This works in one of two ways: customers who receive a summer travel tips email can click “Go Now” and it will open in Messages app, or as a part of a limited test, customers can do so using the Fly Delta app. Visit the “More” section in the Fly Delta app and tap “Message Us” to get quick answers to frequently asked questions from a Delta Virtual Assistant (left), or message with a live Delta representative (right).​

Working from a desktop or another device? No problem. All customers can chat with a Delta Virtual Assistant or a live Reservations specialist on delta.com to get quick answers to frequently asked questions by visiting our Need Help page.

"Regardless of the innovative solutions we explore, our goal is always the same," said Forbes-Roberts. "We want to develop high-tech tools that enable high-touch connections – meaning our employees and customers have technology they need to engage most meaningfully with each other."

Over the past several years, Delta has invested millions developing digital tools for employees and customers to foster meaningful engagements and transform travel into a part of the journey to look forward to.  The global carrier has led the industry on a number of innovative mobile solutions to ease the stress of travel including the award-winning Fly Delta app that features automatic check-in, integrated wayfinding and RFID  bag tracking along with the ability to purchase upgrades with SkyMiles. Delta's continued investment across the customer experience to make travel more enjoyable includes assistance and recognition on the go with mobile agent and flight attendant tools, a cross-industry alliance that will empower customers with a seamless in-cabin connectivity experience, and a  groundbreaking app that helps Delta pilots avoid turbulence for a more comfortable flight. 

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