Qantas looks to tech platforms to reduce call centre wait times

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Qantas looks to tech platforms to reduce call centre wait times

Says more than half of calls could be self-served.

Qantas says up to 60 percent of the calls swamping its contact centres “could be resolved online”, with the airline hoping technology investments will help customers to self-serve.

The airline responded on Thursday to criticism of its handling of support volumes as travel returns.

The Australian Services Union yesterday said wait times had ballooned to “four-to-five hours already this week” and said it “expected [times] to blow out further.”

The union said that “Qantas didn’t add any new call centre staff” to its operations during the pandemic, an allegation the airline rejected.

“The call centres are the only part of our business that grew during the pandemic,” Qantas said.

“We’ve already added hundreds of staff to our call centres, and each month we are recruiting and training more people. 

“By June this year, we’ll have increased staffing by 200 percent (an increase of 750 people) within 12 months,” adding that it “takes six weeks to train new call centre agents.”

Qantas said that wait times “are not acceptable” as they currently sit, but said it had seen call volumes increase from an average 7500 a day to 14,000.

It also said calls take, on average, 50 percent longer to resolve “given the complexity of some itineraries across more than one airline where routes are re-opening and flights are re-starting at different times.”

Qantas said it saw “large spikes” in volumes that coincided with travel conditions changing elsewhere in the world, and that it is also dealing with a large amount of deferred travel that is up to two years old.

In the past 24 hours, volumes have increased due to a reported glitch over flight payments.

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

“While we understand that many people often want to talk to another person to resolve issues, about 60 percent of the calls we receive could be resolved online, so we’re providing resources, including a series of ‘how-to’ videos, to help customers see how they can resolve their issues faster online.

“We have invested in technology to enable customers to manage their bookings and use flight credits via the website or app.”

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