How Nearshoring Companies Can Help Address the Customer Service Agents Shortage in the North American Aviation Industry

Published: April 11, 2023
Travelers flock a New York airport, showing the dire need for customer service agents on the ground which airlines can outsource through a call center from nearshoring companies.

Customer service has always been an integral part of the aviation industry, becoming even more critical as people make up for vacations lost post-pandemic.

The problem is that the North American aviation industry is experiencing shortages of customer service agents on the ground as the number of travelers continues to spike. 

As the shortages become widespread, outsourcing customer service tasks to nearshoring companies becomes a strategic option.  

Instead of placing too much pressure on in-house employees to catch up with growing demand, potentially leading to stress and burnout, why not outsource customer service tasks to nearshore call centers?

Unlike offshore outsourcing, which refers to outsourcing to a distant country, nearshore outsourcing allows you to work with qualified remote workers from a nearby country such as Colombia.

Address Customer Service Worker Shortages By Partnering With Nearshoring Companies

Travel and tourism has seen sustained growth in the past decades prior to the pandemic.

With a 59% growth in international tourists arrival from 2009 (880 million) to 2019 (1.5 billion), the sector has established itself as one of the fastest-growing global economic sectors and a key driver for socio-‎economic progress.

All that changed, however, when COVID-19 hit in 2020. As international lockdowns and travel restrictions were enforced, the industry ended up being one of hardest hit by the pandemic.

Now that the sector is slowly recovering, the U.S. tourism sector saw a 12.4% spike (480,000 jobs) in the number of jobs in 2021 alone. Amid the growth in the labor market, the industry is now experiencing a critical labor shortage, with employers reporting that they struggle to find suitable candidates for almost one in seven openings.

Due to the high demand across all sectors, aviation companies are citing customer service as a position that they find particularly difficult to fill. The situation results in a drop in customer satisfaction.

Most recently, headlines were filled with news about irate travelers exhausted by  delays, canceled flights, missing baggage at the airport, incorrect hotel or itinerary bookings, and other similar blunders. 

Fortunately, outsourcing staff augmentation services can be an excellent solution to this specific staffing challenge.

Airlines can easily navigate labor shortages by delegating non-core functions to a reliable nearshoring BPO. By outsourcing your administrative and support roles to a nearshore BPO partner, you can significantly reduce the workload of your in-house employees, preventing stress and burnout.

At the same time, you can address worker shortages without going through the costly and time-consuming recruitment and hiring process.

Customer Service Tasks You Can Outsource to Nearshoring Companies in Colombia

In the past, nearshoring was associated primarily with manufacturing jobs, factory work, and other blue-collar labor. However, more companies are realizing the potential of outsourcing customer service and other support tasks to neighboring countries.

Here are just a few of the customer service tasks you can outsource to a nearshore BPO:

24/7 Call Center Support for a Quality Customer Experience

As the digital economy evolves, so does the relationship between passengers and airlines.

Today’s fliers want to take charge of their in-flight experience. From booking to baggage, they expect a fully customized service.

How will this affect airlines? Anticipate more frequent and complex touchpoints with your customer support. You can also expect a continued spike in call volumes and call lengths, which could easily overwhelm your in-house team. 

This is where customer service outsourcing comes in. Airlines can take advantage of service providers’ expertise and cutting-edge tools in customer care. BPOs have impeccable call center standards, guaranteeing that your passengers enjoy the best possible in-flight experience. 

Apart from handling your clients flight queries 24/7, a dedicated team of outsourced CSRs can also help passengers process their travel documents, assist them with check-in and check-out procedures, ensuring that their flight is as smooth as hassle-free as it can get.

Multilingual Customer Support To Accommodate International Passengers

When your business lies at the heart of the travel industry, multilingual customer support is a non-negotiable must-have.

As you can imagine, language barriers tend to be a huge hindrance for international travelers. Navigating a foreign land with a different culture can already be intimidating on its own. But when the ability to communicate is taken away, even the simplest tasks become significantly more challenging. 

Help ease the transition for your international passengers.

Since you will be dealing with passengers flying overseas for leisure and business, it’s crucial to invest in customer service representatives (CSRs) who can speak the native language of foreign clients.  

Airlines can start by hiring multilingual CSRs who speak the language in their destination countries, and expand from there. For instance, if you have flights across Latin America, you can partner with a reputable nearshore provider who can leverage their pool of Spanish-speaking customer service agents to help tap into a market of half a billion Hispanic and Latin American potential passengers.

Web Reservation Agents for Seamless Booking and Reservations

Planning a travel itinerary is extremely tedious. 

On top of flight schedules, travelers also need to take into account their budget and their own schedules to make sure that they make the most out of their trips. It’s difficult to enjoy traveling when you’re bogged down by so many trivialities. This is why there is constant demand for web reservation agents. 

Travel agencies, hospitality businesses, as well as airlines are taking advantage of web reservation agents to create a seamless travel experience for their clients. As travel and planning experts, these agents take charge of booking flights, accommodations, tours, transportation, and other services. 

They act as channels, and at times, translators, between businesses and their clients, so that travelers no longer have to go through the inconveniences of navigating delays, rebooking, and other unplanned hitches. 

For instance, if you miss your flight, they could put you on the next flight available or offer alternative routes available to you. They also ensure to meet their client’s special needs such as accommodations for PWDs, and find the best online deals so travelers can get the most value out of their travel costs.

Telemarketing and Telesales To Build Brand Awareness and Fuel Revenues

Online marketing is indeed an effective strategy, but telemarketing is still relevant as ever in the digital age.

While it has been proven to successfully generate leads, telemarketing’s distinct advantage is that it allows businesses to immediately gauge their client’s level of interest in their offerings.

For airlines, it’s a quick and straightforward way to raise awareness about seasonal offers, special sales, and discounts that may go unnoticed by those who don’t frequent their website or social media pages.

Pitching your promotion flights directly to your frequent flyers is also a great way to drum up customer loyalty. Additionally, it can help widen your customer base and boost brand awareness. 

Meanwhile, telesales, or carrying out the actual transaction via phone, helps your airline become more inclusive, as it takes into account the needs of clients who are not tech-savvy, but can’t physically buy a ticket either. 

Either way, both telemarketing and telesales are guaranteed to boost your revenue and your valued passengers’ client experience. 

If you don’t already have the resources and skills to do this, grab this opportunity to partner with a nearshore BPO for quality services at a competitive cost.

Virtual Assistants To Drive Efficiency and Minimize Costly Errors

No matter how large your business is, there will always be room for more efficiency and growth.

It’s all about pinpointing which business process can be optimized or streamlined without having to spend too much resources. Take, for instance, data entry and management. There is a lot of data involved in running an airline — flight schedules, itineraries, and flight manifests, to name a few.

Data errors in these areas could mean serious delays and problems for your ground and cabin crew, as well as your passengers.

One efficient way to avoid these issues is by hiring experienced virtual assistants. Virtual assistants (VAs) are skilled at administrative and back-office tasks. They take on 

a wide range of responsibilities from verifying schedules to answering customer calls and emails, and so much more. 

Having a few extra hands on deck means you can focus your time, energy, and resources on more crucial aspects of your business, while VAs ensure you have all your bases covered. With their superb time management and organizational skills, they can make all the difference in your daily business operations.

Content Writing To Market Travel Destinations

Rigid competition in the travel and aviation industries have compelled businesses to strategize ways to appeal to the huge Millennial and Gen-Z leisure traveler market.

As such, more companies are investing in digital marketing. They’re branding destinations as ideal wedding, honeymoon, adventure, or party spots. However, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

Successful digital marketing is fueled by engaging people-first content. And while anyone can write, it takes a lot more than simply stringing along words to become content writers.

Businesses that don’t have the resources and skills to create their own content can turn to a reliable outsourcing company.

With the right nearshore company, you can work with experienced writers and digital marketing professionals who will promote your destinations to potential travelers by leveraging quality content writing and SEO strategies.

How Nearshoring Customer Service Tasks to Colombia Can Give Businesses a Competitive Advantage

1. Cost Efficiency

Not only can nearshore clients benefit greatly from Colombia’s competitive labor costs, they can also generate savings from the lower cost of living in the country.

2. Stable Economy

The World Bank ranked Colombia’s economy as the one of the most stable in the region. 

Despite facing struggles similar to that of other developing nations, the country continues to display stability, resilience, and fortitude.

3. Near-Parallel Time Zones

Due to Colombia’s proximity to the United States, it has a similar time zone to the Eastern Standard Time (EST). As such, nearshore clients can expect regular and timely updates from their nearshore partners for close coordination and more efficiency.

4. Bilingual Workforce

Due largely to an educational system that promotes global competitiveness, Colombia has an abundance of bilingual workers who are fluent in both Spanish and English.

Because of this, your Colombian outsourcing partner can communicate seamlessly with their U.S. counterparts, while still being able to offer localized support for Latin American markets.

5. Deep Talent Pool

With over 26 million people, Colombia has one of the largest workforce populations in the region, surpassing even Brazil, the largest Latin American country.

US businesses seeking to outsource software development, customer service, and other functions can tap into this massive talent pool for skilled employees who can guarantee a successful project.

6. Strong Cultural Ties

A diplomatic relationship between Colombia and the US which dates back to the early 19th century has paved the way for strong cultural ties that transcends generations. 

The two countries share similar values and business cultures, making a smooth and harmonious collaboration possible.

7. Strategic Location

Colombia’s strategic location provides US clients easy access to crucial ports in Latin America for a seamless supply chain management.

The country’s proximity to North America also helps businesses boost savings through lower international shipping costs.

Soar to New Heights With a Reliable Nearshoring Company

With the dark cloud of the pandemic finally behind us, the future looks bright for airlines and travel businesses as passengers make up for lost time during the lockdowns.

But amid global labor shortages, how can you keep up with demand? The answer is outsourcing.

Nearshoring to a Latin American country puts you strategically close to the US while remaining accessible for emerging markets in the region. Soar ahead of the competition by investing in nearshore customer service and software development companies that can ease your load with innovative operational strategies.

With the right nearshoring partner by your side, you can future-proof your business and improve your resilience in the new normal. Give SuperStaff a call anytime to know more of customer service tasks for an aviation company.

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