JetBlue will soon take travelers' questions and complaints via text and Twitter

Key Points
  • JetBlue is investing in a start-up called Gladly to help it keep its edge in travel.
  • The airline will soon resolve complaints via Twitter, text or any other way travelers want to get in touch.
  • Gladly has raised $36 million from GGV, JetBlue and others to become a next-generation Salesforce.
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JetBlue travelers will soon be able to file complaints or get answers from the airline through any communication channel they choose, including Facebook Messenger, Twitter and texts.

The airline just signed a deal with a start-up called Gladly to overhaul its customer service systems.

Additionally, JetBlue Technology Ventures is investing alongside GGV and other venture firms in a $36 million series C round of funding for Gladly, bringing the company's total capital raised to $63 million.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, airlines consistently rank in the lowest-third of all brands. And customer complaints about airlines have spiked in 2017, following a viral video showing United Airlines workers dragging a customer off a plane.

JetBlue is rated the best airline in the 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index, so it's noteworthy that the company is making it more convenient for customers to channel their feedback.

"People just don't want to call in anymore," said Bonny Simi, president of JetBlue's corporate venture group. "So we are aiming for omnichannel communication that is on at all hours, that can take advantage of AI to resolve customers' issues as quickly as possible, and that will work with all of the important messenger apps."

Joseph Ansanelli, Gladly's CEO, told CNBC his start-up is an eventual "alternative to Salesforce."

Unlike ServiceCloud by Salesforce, or other incumbent customer service platforms, Gladly shows agents a single view of the communications between a company and a customer.

Ansanelli said Gladly enables large corporations to handle customer service via phone, email, text and Facebook Messenger. It will roll out support for mobile and web chat apps and Twitter. The company is using its funding for hiring and further software development.