Tallink launches virtual customer services assistant Nemo
Since the end of March, Tallink Grupp’s newest employee has been answering the initial enquiries of the Estonian customers on the company’s web page www.tallink.ee – a virtual customer services assistant called Nemo. Tallink says the group’s first customer service chatbot was developed in partnership with the Estonian start-up AlphaBlues, which specializes in the development of virtual assistants.
According to Martin Mürk, head of the customer experience and big data division at Tallink Grupp and the project manager for the virtual customer service assistant, this is a pilot project in the Estonian market, and Tallink intends to employ virtual agents also in the group’s other markets in the future.
“The use of customer service chatbots for initial contact with customers and for responding to the most frequently asked questions is the fastest-developing trend in the global travel and tourism sector at the moment. The most prominent users of virtual customer service assistants in the rest of the world are such leading global brands as Finnair, Booking.com, KLM, Skyscanner and others,” said Mürk.
Tallink is the first among the shipping companies operating in the Baltic Sea region to try out a virtual assistant alongside call-center employees. The company launched the online chat feature for its customers in Estonia at the end of 2016. Since then, the number of online chats has been growing steadily, reaching 4,000 chats per month in the Estonian market recently. The purpose of the virtual assistant is to help maintain and improve the quality of the responses to customer’s requests for assistance, which can be achieved by redirecting the most frequently asked questions to the robot.
“Nemo mainly responds to simple questions that are most frequently asked by our customers, which allows our customer service staff to focus on handling more complicated questions and on responding to these faster. The virtual assistant helps us increase our performance efficiency and become better and faster at helping our customers,” Mürk explained.
“At present Nemo can answer approximately 20 of the most frequently asked questions, including enquiries regarding booking details and check-in rules. Our goal is for Nemo to be able to respond to at least 50% of the questions asked in the online chat,” added Mürk.
Nemo’s first weeks at work have shown that not only is the robot meeting the company’s expectations, but it is actually exceeding them. Nemo primarily provides assistance with questions relating to new bookings and check-in, but it has also helped customer support staff in changing bookings by collecting necessary information from customers.
Tallink Grupp’s employees in all six countries took part in selecting a name for the virtual assistant. Over 40 different names were proposed in the naming competition, and Nemo was voted as the most popular name because of its international flair and connection to the sea.
AS Tallink Grupp is one of the leading providers of passenger transport and cargo transport services in the northern part of the Baltic Sea region. The company owns 14 vessels and operates six ferry routes under the brand names of Tallink and Silja Line. AS Tallink Grupp employs more than 7000 people in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Russia and Germany. In 2017, Tallink Grupp provided services to 9.8 million passengers and transported approximately 365,000 units of cargo.