Frustration Soars As Airline Switches To Call Center For Support

from the emergency dept

For companies of all sorts, the lure of moving customer support operations to low cost call centers is often irresistible. But as many can attest, the money saved can show up as money lost somewhere else. The problems at Dell following its move to skimp on service are quite illustrative. It looks like the latest to fall into this trap is Hawaiian Airlines, which has seen customer wait times soar, ever since it outsourced its operations to a call center. This has resulted in lost sales, as well as, undoubtedly, a damaged reputation. The company claims that the long waits on hold are the result of a surge in volume, but that seems like too much of a convenient coincidence. Hopefully, the company has a plan to fix the problem. If it laid off a lot of its trained support staff, it won’t be so easy to just call them up and ask them to come back.

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Companies: hawaiian airlines

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Comments on “Frustration Soars As Airline Switches To Call Center For Support”

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Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

Your call is important to us..

please hold while we transfer you to another planet.
Your call may be recorded in front of a live studio audience.
Press 1 for Russian, 2 for Hindi, 3 for Brunduahi, … 17 for Swaziland.
You may want to try the web site which is down at the moment.
Press 19 if you have the hiccups.
Please enter you account number so we can ask you for it again when you actually talk to someone on your next birthday.

“And after I have brutalized these people I will send you Feyd, lovely Feyd.”; Baron Vladimir Harkonen, Dune.

Your mileage may vary,
consult your doctor before making any calls.

AntiAmericanHero says:


You know it is nice to see that “all that gliter is not gold” when you outsource.
We are the benifits of it-
press 1 for real english(FARSI)
press2 some English(Mangled brit)
press3 for total confusion in english-Pakistan Support
press 4 for a good screw around
press5 to talk with someone that is masterbating in the background
press6 for suicide instructions in FARSI
Press7 to leave message to George Bush
press8 to leave a message for Hilarous
Press 9 to talk to Micro$h%t about “Genuine Windows Support”

But look at the bright side of things the big cheifs still plot and stratigize on how to screw the American worker even more…
Like it says you pay for what you get these days. Big business has a lot of restructuring to do. And it will be expensive of course. But they don’t care they just pass it on to the consummer.

Chris Maresca (user link) says:

Hawaiian Airlines has a monopoly

Hawaiian Airlines has a virtual monopoly on Hawaii since they are pretty much only ones (with United) flying there from the lower 48.

Not only that, but they also dominate inter-island flights and they are required to provide cheap airfares to locals traveling between islands (under $20, I believe). So I don’t think they will loose any business.

Besides, I’d much rather them cut costs in already non-existent customer service than maintenance…


Charles Griswold (user link) says:

Re: Hawaiian Airlines has a monopoly

Hawaiian Airlines has a virtual monopoly on Hawaii since they are pretty much only ones (with United) flying there from the lower 48.

Well, they had better watch their backside, because the instant that they get a chance, Alaska Airlines is planning on having regular flights to Hawaii. Think I’m joking? They already have flights to Miami, New York, and Mexico City(!).

Tech Call Center Drone says:

Oh, I think I know EXACTLY how this works...

Hmmm…thousand bucks says there WAS no unanticipated “surge in volume”. How can they not know what their call volume will be?

No, the salescritters for the call center triumphantly cashed their bonus checks having misprepresented the capabilities of said call center. THEN, management’s desperate pleas for overtime were ignored by workers who’d long been screwed by being sent home every time things got slow for 10 minutes.

What a surprise…

Tech Call Center Drone says:

Oh, forgot to mention...

…that the phone agents will be horribly undertrained in the requirements of the new client. The databases and apps will be down, non-existent or horribly slow. The ‘scripts’ will cover about 30% of the actual call situations. There will have been, at best, a belated and ineffectual effort to increase staff to meet the demands of the new contract.

But the sales guys, training, HR, and management will be okay with it, they’ll be cashing their checks and blaming the floor agents, who will bear, as well, the brunt of customer dissatisfaction.

It’s not just a career…it’s an ADVENTURE!!

ya, right says:

Oh, I forgot to mention...

I work in a contact center that does broadband support to one of the large telcos. The agents are to blame for 90% of the customer service issues.

If they would come to work (on time) and actually care about their jobs and do a good job at taking care of the customer, customer service would be great. Instead, most of them are all ghetto trash from the south and they don’t care about the customers, much less anything else. All I hear all day is that they don’t make enough to care. No offense, but it is not like they are out in the heat/cold all day having to do manual labor. They sit in a chair in a climate controlled building and talk on the phone. They complain about the equipment being crappy, yet they are the first to trash it when it gets fixed. What do they want?

I did it at one time and it was not that bad. Sure… I didn’t like it, but I was good at it and I took care of the customer at all costs.

Dylan Downhill (user link) says:

Outsourcing Staff

If you think the call center is bad, try checking onto the planes. We missed one flight because it took over an hour to get from the end of the queue to the automated check in terminals to get our boarding passes.

When we complained they said
a) it takes less than 45 minutes to get from the end to the beginning (as if that’s acceptable and I know it was an hour because I stood there for that bloody long)

b) I should have been at the airport 2 hours before the (domestic) flight so that these delays didn’t mean I miss my flight. That’ll teach us for getting there just 90 minutes early for a domestic flight.

I wonder how much money they save compared to how many people that will now no longer fly with them because of their awful service.

BTW this was Southwest from Phoenix.

Tech Call Center Drone says:

Yeah right to ya right.

I could probably guess which one. And if you hire trash…well, you DO get what you pay for.

OTOH, I work for a call center (wholesale ISP services, lots of partners) that pays pretty well and actually makes an effort to get their employees to be invested in the success of the company, which means taking care of the customers.

I’ve worked for other places that decided to go the low wage route because ‘we can just give them a script’, and then whined when the high-school kiddies didn’t do a good job.

It sounded a lot like you.

Wendy Pedro says:

Outsourcing call center drives up into airline cus

Airline company need to work closely with outsourcing company when doing recruitment.One of the critical requirement needed for agent is they have to have airline or travel background as Airline business has lots of specific rules, abbreviation etc,agents who are really green about the rules will leave airline customers put on hold for ages as they are also trying to understand.A specific and very taylor made training for agents are really critical point.

Angel says:

Call Center

I worked in the call center of a fairly decent size airline that operated in our state about 15 years ago. Back then it was called just the reservations office. 🙂 No website at that time. Near the end of the company’s existance the average call wait was well over an hour. We had a reader board that flashed how many callers were on hold, it only went to 200 I believe, it was always at 200 regardless of the time of day or night. One of our largest complaints: customers complaining abut the hold time, which actually makes the hold time longer. DUH!

The company ended up in a position of having to hire any person who could say their own name and could fumble through the reservation system to fill seats in the reservation office. Shamefully the company folded, leaving 150ish people out on the streets (with no pay for the previous 6 weeks) looking for the same 20-30 available jobs. Had they spent more time and money (of course) analyzing the call trends and staffing properly, perhaps the company demise might have taken longer or not happened at all. But when you can’t even answer the phone how do you expect to make reservations?

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