Musical staff

Qantas hires 750 staff to fix ‘unacceptable’ call waiting times – Australian Aviation

Qantas mascot HQ. (Brain & Poultry)

Qantas admitted on Thursday that its current wait times for calls were “not acceptable” after an incident in which a passenger was put on hold for eight hours made international news.

In a new statement, the flag carrier said it hired 750 more people last year to run the phone lines, but added that training each one could take up to six weeks.

Qantas said the root cause of the problem resulted from a combination of return flights after COVID and customers confused about how to spend their accumulated flight credits.

“We sincerely apologize to the customers who had to spend so long talking to someone and thank them for their patience,” the statement read.

“No airline contact center was designed to be able to handle the record number of calls and complexity of travel queries in the COVID era, especially when it comes to international travel. .

“Our call volume has gone from an average of 7,500 calls per day to 14,000 calls per day, with calls taking on average 50% longer to resolve than before COVID given the complexity of some routes on more than one airline where routes are reopening. , and flights resume at different times.

“We also see significant spikes in calls whenever travel conditions change somewhere in the world, such as New Zealand being announced to open three months earlier than expected. About two-thirds of calls we receive relate to international travel.

“Call centers are the only part of our business that has grown during the pandemic. We have already added hundreds of employees to our call centers and every month we are recruiting and training more people.

“By June of this year, we will have increased our workforce by 200% (an increase of 750 people) in 12 months. It takes six weeks to train new call center agents.

“We have invested in technology to allow customers to manage their bookings and redeem flight credits through the website or app. While we understand that many people often want to speak to another person to resolve about 60% of the calls we receive could be resolved online, so we provide resources, including a series of “how-to” videos, to help customers see how they can resolve their issues faster online.

“Given the increased volume and complexity of customer queries, it will take some time for call wait times to normalize, but we are working every day to improve the experience for our customers.”

It comes after a caller from Sydney radio station 2GB said she was on hold for eight hours and 39 minutes and showed the presenter her mobile phone call log.

“I picked up the call at a meeting, I picked up the call at a restaurant,” Katrina said. “It was a two-hour meeting, and we had the music playing in the background the whole time.”

Australian Aviation had been reporting long wait times on the Qantas customer service line since March 2020.