Air India has made history by deploying an innovative virtual assistant named ‘Maharaja,’ powered by Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI service. The testing phase commenced in March 2023, and since then, Maharaja has impressively addressed over half a million customer queries. Presently, it actively manages more than 6,000 inquiries daily in Hindi, English, French, and German.
This achievement not only underscores Air India’s dedication to customer service but also demonstrates the practical application of advanced artificial intelligence in the aviation industry. Maharaja’s success highlights the potential of combining aviation expertise with prominent technology to significantly enhance the overall passenger experience.
What does Maharaja by Air India do?
Maharaja adeptly manages an extensive range of customer queries spanning 1,300 areas, addressing concerns related to flight status, baggage allowances, packing restrictions, check-in procedures, frequent flyer awards, airport lounge access, flight changes, and refunds.
On a daily basis, Maharaja efficiently handles over 6,000 questions, delivering swift responses to more than 80 percent of them within seconds. Recognizing the complexity of the remaining 15 percent of queries that require additional assistance, Maharaja autonomously identifies and promptly transfers these inquiries to Air India’s contact center agents. This seamless collaboration ensures that customer concerns, across a diverse spectrum of topics, are swiftly and effectively resolved through a combination of advanced AI technology and human support.
Satya Ramaswamy, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Air India, stated, “We are dedicated to providing the best possible service and experience to our valued guests across channels. We also want to be very responsive to their changing preferences. After the emergence of Large Language Model driven Generative AI capabilities, we are increasingly seeing a definitive shift in guest preferences to use chat interactions to get the information and support they need quickly and directly as compared to browsing several web pages.”
Is human intervention needed?
The introduction of the new AI-based chatbot marks a significant step in reducing the reliance on human intervention for routine queries. This innovative technology streamlines and automates repetitive tasks like booking, cancellation, and confirmation, contributing to increased operational efficiency. Air India’s initiative aims to leverage a combination of traditional machine learning techniques and Generative AI, forming a robust strategy for enhanced customer interactions.
The implementation of this AI solution serves a dual purpose. Not only does it empower the chatbot to handle basic inquiries independently, but it also liberates human agents to dedicate their time and expertise to more intricate and value-driven interactions. This strategic shift optimizes the utilization of human resources and enhances the overall customer experience.
Air India emphasizes its commitment to responsible AI usage by implementing safeguards to prevent biased or harmful language from entering its conversational AI system. This ensures that the technology is not only efficient but also aligned with ethical considerations.
Expressing satisfaction with this technological leap, Marco Casalaina, Vice President of AI Platform at Microsoft, commends Air India for successfully deploying Maharaja, the AI-powered agent. He highlights the use of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, emphasizing its role in delivering a personalized and relevant customer experience. This collaboration signifies the ongoing evolution of customer service through the integration of cutting-edge AI solutions.
He said, “We are pleased to see Air India’s successful deployment of their AI-powered agent, Maharaja, and the use of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service to provide a personalized and relevant customer experience. We believe that this is the beginning of a new era of customer service, and we look forward to seeing more organizations use the power of Generative AI and our AI-optimized Azure cloud to provide a seamless and efficient customer experience.”
Air India’s deployment of the AI-powered chatbot, Maharaja, marks a revolutionary advancement in aviation customer service. By efficiently utilizing Generative AI and traditional machine learning techniques, the airline has not only automated routine tasks but has also empowered human agents to focus on more intricate and value-driven interactions.
This strategic integration of technology aligns with Air India’s dedication to responsible AI usage, evident in the implementation of safeguards against biased or harmful language. The successful partnership with Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service underscores the ongoing evolution of customer service through innovative solutions.
As Maharaja continues to handle diverse customer queries, this initiative not only improves operational efficiency but also establishes a precedent for seamlessly combining human expertise with amazing AI, promising a more personalized and relevant customer experience in the dynamic landscape of aviation services.