Our resident avatar, Alex, lives to offer great service to customers online
SHE’S ONLY 3 YEARS OLD, but she already has an extensive vocabulary and engages in 30,000 conversations a day. She works 24/7 and is at her busiest on Mondays and Fridays. “She” is Alex, an avatar that appears on United’s website (united.com) and provides a real, human voice for users who might otherwise hear only keyboard clicking when searching for information.
The most common questions that Alex fields deal with changing reservations and with MileagePlus. Given the complexity of the queries, a team of United employees uses a sophisticated software program to listen in on Alex’s chats daily, looking for questions that stumped the avatar or answers that didn’t quite hit the mark. Then the team finds the correct answer and adjusts the database that serves up Alex’s responses. That way, the next time someone asks a similar question, the answer will be right at her virtual fingertips.
With response accuracy at nearly 90 percent, Alex is more than just a pretty face. But no avatar is complete without a personality and a sense of humor. For instance, while Alex can tell you about extra-legroom Economy Plus seating and how to join MileagePlus, she is also happy to tell you whether she’s always been a brunette.
So the next time you have a question about United (or if you just want to know our avatar’s favorite song), go ahead: Ask Alex.
Q: What’s the best way to prepare young children for a first-time flight?
A: Before traveling, you might want to take your youngster to the pediatrician to check for ear infections or blockages to ensure that pressurization changes won’t cause discomfort. If your child requires certain foods or medications, make sure to have enough to cover unexpected delays. For the trip itself, get to the airport early, as moving through the terminal with kids takes a little longer. Bring activities, electronic and non-electronic, for your child to do in the terminal and on the plane.
Most of all, demonstrate that flying is fun. Routine events such as checking a bag, going through security and walking down the jetway will be new to your child—make them exciting. And if there’s time during boarding, ask if your youngster can have a brief visit to the flight deck. Most children enjoy the experience.
Do you have a question for Captain Bowers? Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.