Where has the customer service gone?

Old Jun 16, 17, 1:36 am
  #1  
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Where has the customer service gone?

As a long time 75K loyal customer, maybe I have become spoiled. I used to get very responsive help when calling the MVP line. A few days ago I called about a flight and the agent was clueless.

Tonight I called on another matter. No answer and the system said it would be 2 to 5 minutes - OK, I'm used to the line being answered quickly, until the Virgin buy out, but OK, I'll wait. After a good 30 minutes, I gave up - will try tomorrow.

Customer service???
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Old Jun 16, 17, 1:47 am
  #2  
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I've noticed exactly no difference in service. Had two reasonably complicated things to do through the Gold line in the past few weeks with agents. Everything went smooth as butter, calls got answered promptly, follow up emails came through as I expected.
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Old Jun 16, 17, 3:05 am
  #3  
 
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I have noticed CS going downhill for quite a while. A few months ago, I had to check in at the counter because I used Avios points to purchase a couple flights. The CSR was awful. I had to argue with him to enter my KTN to my reservation, as he didnt think it would matter. Surprised look on his face when he reprinted my boarding pass and it had precheck on it. Then the arguing continued when he refused to even try to enter my partners number, because it was not in the correct format (numbers and letters), due to him having security clearance through TWICS, the formatting is unusual. 5 minutes of coercing, and he finally said he would try it. Surprise when the system accepted it, and double surprise when he reprinted boarding pass, and it had precheck.

Then on to checked bags. He tried to charge me for each of us. We both have AS credit cards. He said it doesnt matter, that we have to use the cards to purchase the tickets in order to qualify for the free bag. Ummm, no you dont. Back and forth we went. I explained I purchased the tickets using points. He finally entered our FF numbers, and of course it came up with first bag free.

This whole thing would have been preventable had the CSR simply tried what I asked him in the first place, which was to add our FF numbers to our reservations. He refused saying they were non revenue flights, so I would not get points anyway.

These things were not at all complicated, but the CSR seemed to WANT to cause issues.
tatterdema is offline  
Old Jun 16, 17, 7:42 am
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Originally Posted by tatterdema View Post
These things were not at all complicated, but the CSR seemed to WANT to cause issues.
I do sincerely hope you communicated this to AS in some manner. That CSR needs some serious training/refresher.
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Old Jun 16, 17, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by dave1013 View Post
I do sincerely hope you communicated this to AS in some manner. That CSR needs some serious training/refresher.
Lol, no I didnt. I was on my way for a long trip to Hawaii, and just wanted out of there. By the time I was finished with my half hour of arguing with this guy, I just wanted a Mai Tai, and felt fortunate to not miss my flight.

To make matters worse, this was my first experience with the "no guests" policy in their lounge using Priority Pass.
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Old Jun 16, 17, 8:42 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by LaneW View Post
I called about a flight and the agent was clueless.
That's a very non-specific criticism. Some itin changes are non-trivial, and sometimes what the customer wants is prohibited by the rules.
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Old Jun 16, 17, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by tatterdema View Post
Lol, no I didnt. I was on my way for a long trip to Hawaii, and just wanted out of there. By the time I was finished with my half hour of arguing with this guy, I just wanted a Mai Tai, and felt fortunate to not miss my flight.

To make matters worse, this was my first experience with the "no guests" policy in their lounge using Priority Pass.
I can appreciate your exasperation - and - feel you are missing an opportunity to ensure that person gets a badly-needed learning moment.

It's not too late. Obviously your recall of the encounter is still fresh in your mind. It won't take another half-hour to share your concerns with AS. Heck, you can copy and paste the contents of your original post, that'll speed things up!

You took the time to tell us about it here. I thank you for that, but we can't do anything on the board other than "listen" and perhaps offer up a reply. Please reconsider contacting AS. I've seen some dubious tales recounted on FT but yours is not in that category.

Thank you for listening!
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Old Jun 16, 17, 8:53 am
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
I've noticed exactly no difference in service. Had two reasonably complicated things to do through the Gold line in the past few weeks with agents. Everything went smooth as butter, calls got answered promptly, follow up emails came through as I expected.
Sample size of one.

Definitely noticed slower/wonkier response times over the past year or so. Last night, called on the upgrade-waitlist-doesn't-show-companion glitch. Told wait time time was 2-4 minutes. HUACA after 15. Told 3-6 minutes, but did the callback option. Received nearly immediate call back then waited another minute or so. (By comparison, up until about a year ago, my calls were almost always answered immediately by helpful human.)

Disagree with OP about quality of CS, which is normally competent and friendly, though on the call last night, was told (after a long hold) that that's the way the system works and "sometimes the companion's name shows up on the waitlist and sometimes it doesn't," which is an interesting feature if it's not a bug.
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Old Jun 16, 17, 9:01 am
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by dave1013 View Post
I can appreciate your exasperation - and - feel you are missing an opportunity to ensure that person gets a badly-needed learning moment.
***
Please reconsider contacting AS. I've seen some dubious tales recounted on FT but yours is not in that category.
Agreed. I'm puzzled why OP didn't enter the KTN and MP# prior to checkin. Even if in-person check in is required, I've always been able to enter this info earlier regardless.
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Old Jun 16, 17, 10:13 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by mczlaw View Post
Agreed. I'm puzzled why OP didn't enter the KTN and MP# prior to checkin. Even if in-person check in is required, I've always been able to enter this info earlier regardless.
Booked with Avios points, it would not allow me to change it. I could not change anything at all in the reservations, even seat number. Alaska changed the flight time, so I could not do online check in, had to see an agent. The year before I used Avios points, and was able to add KTN and FF to my reservation, but not my partners because of his middle name. I suspect that might have been part of my issue this time, maybe my middle initial wasn't in the reservation? Don't know, but I do know it could easily have been fixed without the arguing. I knew I was going to have issues, so I had the KTN and FF numbers for both of us ready, all he had to do was enter them.

I might send a message to AS, I just do not want to appear to be asking for something, but Dave1013 is correct, the agent desperately needs more training.

In the last year, I have also noticed more eye rolling and similar unprofessional behavior behind the desk. Being in the CSR industry, I am particularly sensitive to things like that. I almost feel like they have grown too fast, and new people are being shoved out there before they are ready, or people are put there that will NEVER be ready.

Last edited by tatterdema; Jun 16, 17 at 10:20 am
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Old Jun 16, 17, 10:40 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by mczlaw View Post
Sample size of one.
So, my anecdote but your data? I see.

Also, it's a sample size of two: two different calls in the past couple of weeks. Things I couldn't do on the website.
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Old Jun 16, 17, 10:41 am
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by tatterdema View Post
...
These things were not at all complicated, but the CSR seemed to WANT to cause issues.
There are always a few people like this. See the Air Canada/Aeroplan thread on "I work at the airport. You're wrong." https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/air-...-re-wrong.html for a good case of airline agents refusing accurate guidance from knowledgeable customers.

Last edited by dayone; Jun 16, 17 at 1:30 pm Reason: Fix URL.
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Old Jun 16, 17, 12:12 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by robsaw View Post
There are always a few people like this. See the Air Canada/Aeroplan thread on "I work at the airport. You're wrong." <https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/air-canada-aeroplan/1733368-i-work-airport-you-re-wrong.html> for a good case of airline agents refusing accurate guidance from knowledgeable customers.
Air Canada though............man they have ramped it up to an art form. If you ever want to waste time, argue, get abused, ignored, sighed at, sneered at, walk away disenchanted........then fly AC. They have about 65% nice people and 35% bad ones.
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Old Jun 16, 17, 2:03 pm
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by LaneW View Post
As a long time 75K loyal customer, maybe I have become spoiled. I used to get very responsive help when calling the MVP line. A few days ago I called about a flight and the agent was clueless.

Tonight I called on another matter. No answer and the system said it would be 2 to 5 minutes - OK, I'm used to the line being answered quickly, until the Virgin buy out, but OK, I'll wait. After a good 30 minutes, I gave up - will try tomorrow.

Customer service???
I'm a VX refugee but, given what I'd heard about Alaska, I have been surprised with the spotty quality of customer service that I've seen from them since the acquisition. Multiple cases of 1 hour wait times on the Gold line. Emails to Alaska that get the automated acknowledgement but never (ever) get a response. Definitely not what I was used to at VX or my years as a UA 1K. In fairness, I did have an excellent interaction with an AS gate agent in SEA recently. Overall Alaska hasn't lived up to expectations. With me they've got until 12/31 to get their act together. I'll decide then if I'm going to stick with Alaska in 2018 or take my business elsewhere.

Ironically the best customer service I've seen from the travel industry lately was from Amtrak! Took them 2 hours to make a correction to my name on file, which required me to fax in a copy of my drivers license.
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Old Jun 16, 17, 2:15 pm
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If we're comparing the AS call center (regardless of whether you're elite or not) to the VX call center, the service at the AS call center is by far superior...generally speaking, the AS agents can take care of most issues in a relatively short amount of time whereas I literally dread anytime I have to call VX....I know I'm in for a LONG wait (even after they answer the phone) and even then, they may not be able to fix and/or understand my issue. I think my experience with the VX call center is making me appreciate AS even more.

At PDX, when checking in (especially if I have bags), I always appreciate Alaska's speedy bag check process as I'm standing in a 30 min.+ line at the Delta counter waiting to simply "drop off" my bags.
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