Joyce says Qantas call centre problems ‘fixed’

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Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce delivers the airline group's 2018/19 full year results. (Seth Jaworski)
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce pictured when he delivered the airline group’s 2018/19 full year results. (Seth Jaworski)

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has said call wait times for its customer service line are now better than before COVID.

Speaking on 2GB radio on Friday, he claimed the average time to be put through to an operator had dropped to just three minutes, which he claimed was the best in the business’ history.

“We believe that the call centre now is fixed,” Joyce said.

It comes after the airline made international news when one passenger was placed on hold for eight hours back in April.

“Some people were waiting well over five hours,” admitted Joyce. “But back in April, our volumes were up two-to-three times the amounts they were before COVID.

“That was no excuse. We should have been able to meet that because we had people who were concerned about travelling.

“So we trained people up in the call centres. We now have nearly two times the amount of people we had before COVID. We’ll get to three times. And this week, compared to the two hours average wait time, it was down to six minutes. Yesterday was the best we’ve had in our history at three minutes.

“And nobody waited over 20 minutes yesterday, so it’s a big improvement… It’s better than it was before COVID.”

Australian Aviation previously reported how Qantas claimed to have hired an extra 750 staff in the last year to manage the phone lines.

The airline said the root cause of previous delays stemmed from a combination of flying returning following COVID and customers confused as to how to spend their accrued flight credits.

“No airline’s contact centres were designed to be able to manage the record number of calls and complexity of queries for COVID-era travel, particularly when international travel is involved,” said Qantas in April.

“Our call volume has increased from an average of 7,500 calls a day to 14,000 calls a day, with calls on average taking 50 per cent longer to resolve than pre-COVID given the complexity of some itineraries across more than one airline where routes are reopening, and flights are restarting at different times.”

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

“I took the call to a meeting, I took the call to an eatery,” Katrina said. “It was a two-hour meeting, and we had the music playing in the background the whole time.”

Australian Aviation was reporting long wait times on Qantas’ customer service line all the way back in March 2020.

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