Home » Business and Economy » Cleared for Takeoff: How WestJet Is Using AI to Raise the Bar on Guest Experience
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How does a company known for its human touch use a robot to help care for its guests? If you’re WestJet, you embrace innovation and new technology to enhance guest experience, freeing up your teams to focus on more complex tasks. 

Meet Juliet, an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that was first integrated into the airline’s Facebook Messenger and has since expanded to the Google Assistant platform. By using a platform that uses reinforcement learning, Juliet learns through a combination of instruction, examples and experience — that leads to continuous improvement. Today, she handles all simple and common queries such as frequently asked questions, baggage claim information, and flight details. Over time, the kinds of questions that Juliet can answer will become more sophisticated. 

The way people communicate with each other is fundamentally changing the way they expect to communicate with businesses. We were proud to collaborate with WestJet’s Digital & Innovation Lab to elevate the guest experience with Messenger, reducing friction and addressing guests’ growing demand for more personal interactions.

Garrick Tiplady, General Manager, Facebook and Instagram Canada

Solving problems through new technology

“We asked ourselves how we could solve a common problem in a way that we hadn’t considered before,” says Alfredo C. Tan, WestJet’s Chief Digital & Innovation Officer. “We partnered with Netomi, a conversational AI company and became the first airline in Canada to offer this type of experience.”

User chatting with Juliet

Juliet was purposefully created, echoing the same caring tone that the airline has become known for so that guests would feel like they were interacting with an actual person. She’s the best of both worlds — a new interface for guests to communicate, and a workforce multiplier helping her human friends to make the most efficient use of their time.

Like other WestJetters, Juliet undergoes performance reviews. And so far, she’s been a star performer. In fact, as of 2019, Facebook has only published four successful case studies on using AI or chatbot automation to drive business goals. Of those four success stories, WestJet is the only case approved by Facebook where AI is used to drive value in customer care. Although thousands of bots have been deployed on Facebook Messenger, it is reported that less than 10 percent have had a positive impact on customer sentiment and even fewer are able to engage users enough to have them return. 

The continual evolution will be to increase the capabilities of Juliet. “We don’t know her limit, which is exciting,” says Tan. “We are looking to integrate Juliet across more platforms, and we hope to get to the point where it would be like having a personal concierge with you on your travel journey.”

WestJet Livery Boeing 787-9

AI in Action: Juliet by the Numbers

Over the last 12 months, Juliet has accomplished many things and positioned WestJet as an innovator in the travel space. Although there’s more to come, here are some of her achievements to-date.

1.5
minutes

On average, guests chat with Juliet for a minute and a half.

Juliet can handle more than 750 different cases.

750
cases

.25
million

Juliet has supported a quarter million guests in the last year.

70% of WestJet’s inquiries received on Facebook Messenger are handled by Juliet.

70
percent

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