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LATAM Airlines achieves 90% employee satisfaction with Zendesk

A customer since 2012, LATAM Airlines relies on the Zendesk service platform to deliver world class service to 62 million passengers and streamline internal support for more than 30,000 employees worldwide. Despite facing significant economic challenges, the HR team united a globally distributed workforce and was able to achieve 90 percent employee satisfaction and 80 percent chatbot accuracy with Zendesk.

LATAM Airlines
“We saw how our customer service team was working with Zendesk to become more efficient and improve the customer experience, and we decided to bring that magic to our internal employee operations.”

Monica Obando

Senior HR Manager at LATAM Airlines

Zendesk has been a critical partner in helping us deliver seamless, world class service at scale. We are realizing a lower total cost of ownership by using the same platform for our customers that we use for our employees.”

Monica Obando

Senior HR Manager at LATAM Airlines

Company Headquarters

Santiago, Chile

Annual Passengers

62M

Global Employees

30K+

Countries in operation

22

48 hrs

SLA for HR

90%

Employee Satisfaction

80%

Bot accuracy

3K+

Help Center articles

Recognized as the leading airline in Latin America, LATAM Airlines boasts an extensive route network, a modern fleet, and a sincere commitment to excellent customer service. Built on 20 years of experience and innovation, LATAM Airlines continues to acquire industry accolades, such as ranking first place in the 2022 Skytrax World Airlines Awards for Best Airline in South America and winning multiple categories in the 2023 APEX Passengers Choice Awards.

The company’s journey began in 2012, when LATAM Airlines formed as part of a merger between LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines. The new airline wasted no time in launching Zendesk to power its customer support operations, which now serves 62 million passengers in 22 countries and handles issues such as passenger refunds, commercial operations, and flight cancellations.

Today, LATAM Airlines also leverages Zendesk internally to create a better employee experience. With the Zendesk Suite, the airline’s HR organization is able to support and empower a global workforce of 30,000 employees, including pilots, scouting crews, ground handling, airport agents, maintenance, and corporate roles. Every LATAM Airlines worker can use the same tools to help manage questions around payroll, policies, benefits, and more.

Digital tools that create a ‘wow’ experience

“We have been a happy Zendesk customer since 2012,” shares Monica Obando, Senior HR Manager at LATAM Airlines. Overseeing people operations in Peru, as well as internal services for all LATAM Groups on a corporate and global level, has given Obando firsthand insight into the changing needs of the organization. One factor has remained constant: “Zendesk has been a critical partner in helping us deliver seamless, world-class service at scale.”

Powerful CX has always been top of mind for Obando, who holds a master’s degree in digital transformation and innovation leadership, and has more than 20 years of experience in HR departments across different industries and countries in Latin America.

“I’m a firm believer in the direct relationship between customer experience and employee experience, and how digital tools can help companies to generate ‘wow’ employee experiences,” says Obando. That forward-thinking vision of technology proved invaluable when LATAM Airlines faced significant internal and external hurdles five years into operation.

LATAM

Driving agility and employee connection amidst economic uncertainty

In 2017, two driving forces tested the agility of Obando’s team and caused them to revolutionize their approach to employee service. First, the merger that created LATAM Airlines had produced a globally distributed workforce, revealing a patchwork of processes and policies across the teams. The company urgently needed a way to streamline and unify those workflows in order to drive efficiency and improve trust among its 30,000 employees.

Second, LATAM Airlines’ operating environment had become more challenging due to a recession in Brazil (one of their largest markets) and due to increased competition from low-cost air travel providers entering the market. With the demand for customer support at an all-time high, LATAM Airlines quickly pivoted to a new strategy.

“We knew that in order to deliver the best-in-class service for our passengers, we had to improve our employee engagement and satisfaction,” Obando says. “We saw how our customer service team was working with Zendesk to become more efficient and improve the customer experience, and we decided to bring that magic to our internal employee operations.”

Like much of the travel industry, LATAM Airlines faced significant headwinds again in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic. Their HR team worked overtime, managing workforce fluctuations, keeping employees and passengers safe, training and retraining employees on evolving policies, all while being responsible for driving employee engagement and morale.

Fortunately, Obando’s decision to leverage Zendesk for employee experience enabled LATAM Airlines to emerge from that period with positive momentum. The company secured new funding in 2021, announced investment in new aircraft, and is planning to expand its route network.

LATAM

Fast deployment across channels

From day one, the HR team found Zendesk easy to use, which made for fast and smooth deployment across the organization. To support the LATAM Airlines employee experience, Obando’s team primarily uses Zendesk for managing thousands of employee requests through tickets, offering self-service options via a comprehensive knowledge base and chatbots, and reporting to measure HR service performance and spot opportunities for improvement.

It’s a winning combination that has already helped employee satisfaction hit 90 percent and inspired a new goal of 100 percent.

On the self-service side, the team has created more than 3,000 knowledge base articles in Spanish and Portuguese. LATAM Airlines workers can use “a very powerful Google-like search engine” to get answers in the Zendesk help center. If they don’t find what they’re looking for and decide to open a ticket, agents are expected to answer within 48 hours.

The latest addition to LATAM Airlines’ toolbox is the Zendesk bot. “We are so proud of our new chatbot. Our goal is to have it working at 80 percent accuracy by the end of the year,” Obando says.

LATAM

Higher productivity and lower cost of ownership

Giving employees the power to self-serve has also created a ripple effect of productivity benefits for the HR staff, who no longer spend time answering simple questions.

“We’ve been able to streamline our resources to change operational workflows and refocus on more value added tasks,” Obando says. “We now have a way to improve our processes because we can identify the specific pain points.” Providing better policy and process distribution at scale is a great victory for the team.

The Zendesk platform also opened up new possibilities in change management. “Zendesk is a user-friendly platform and very intuitive,” adds Obando. “It’s given us a chance to improve our people experiences because we can add new Zendesk functionalities, such as audiovisual content or chatbot.”

All those gains in productivity and efficiency add up to big savings for LATAM Airlines. “We are realizing a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) by using the same platform for our customers that we use for our employees,” Obando says. “After many years of using Zendesk, we have made a huge difference to thousands of employees and millions of passengers. We can provide a higher quality of service, with traceability of the request, with defined and well-informed response times, with accessible and updated valuable information, all in one platform.”

And, Obando only expects that list of achievements to keep growing as the team explores new features. “In the future, we hope to fully take advantage of all Zendesk products in order to provide our employees with the best quality service and an efficient omnichannel system to match. We hope to achieve our dream of a ‘wow’ employee experience in every contact.”