OMG AA is still using call centers !!!

Old Mar 27, 20, 11:44 pm
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OMG AA is still using call centers !!!

Just spoke to a really nice agent who when I asked said she is not working from home (doesn't have a computer nor internet at her home). She said they have to sit 6 feet apart and tomorrow they will start taking temps at the door and if over ?100 they won't be allowed to work.

I know AA is having financial problems but why aren't they providing computers and paying for internet to keep their people safe (it's a relatively low cost option compared to having to train new workers isn't it?) ?
The agent I spoke to last week was working from home - and sadly,
the one I just spoke to wasn't aware that people are contagious before they felt sick
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Old Mar 28, 20, 1:54 am
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Availability could be an issue. When this really started ramping up in the US (mid-Feb as I recall) another soccer dad and I were discussing the situation. He works for Dell and said sales for them couldn't be better...except that large, multinational companies, were placing huge orders for laptops (10,000 plus in a request) that were in line with the customer's specifications. He said it was problematic from a sales perspective, given that they didn't have these just sitting around...and their primary supply chain (China) was shut down. If the equipment isn't available, you have to make do with what you have.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 2:36 am
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Originally Posted by estnet View Post
Just spoke to a really nice agent who when I asked said she is not working from home (doesn't have a computer nor internet at her home). She said they have to sit 6 feet apart and tomorrow they will start taking temps at the door and if over ?100 they won't be allowed to work.

I know AA is having financial problems but why aren't they providing computers and paying for internet to keep their people safe (it's a relatively low cost option compared to having to train new workers isn't it?) ?
The agent I spoke to last week was working from home - and sadly,
the one I just spoke to wasn't aware that people are contagious before they felt sick
Many companies still have call centers, and a lot of them are even offshore. While working for a former company I did training for an outsource group in Salt Lake City, and one in San Jose, Costa Rico

For the past 2 weeks, we have been ramping up multiple ways for non technical people to access our internal network from home locations
This was a difficult task, but our company needs to be functional, even though our buildings are closed, and the parent company has closed the factories.
I work for a financial company that is own by a major auto manufacturer. I am hopeful this will allow more people to work from home in the future. Before the virus, my group, supporting ADC devices was permitted to work up to 2 days a week from home.. Many AA agents do work from home. I think it is often difficult to convince the people in upper management of the efficiency of working from home. These tend to be the same kind of people who believe in that 5 day, 8 hours per day, work week, as if there was no other way to work 40 hours per week.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 3:44 am
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Isnít AA in the process of eliminating those home based rep jobs and going to call center only?
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Old Mar 28, 20, 4:21 am
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Originally Posted by AANYC1981 View Post
Isnít AA in the process of eliminating those home based rep jobs and going to call center only?
I'd suggest that given the current situation, those kind of plans would be at least postponed, if not shelved all together. Suddenly having a contingency plan for non-normal operations seems like a great plan.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 8:31 am
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Having people suddenly work from home can't happen overnight if companies don't have the infrastructure and networks set up. Initially WebEx keep crashing because of the demand but seems to be ok for now.

One positive thing to come out of this will be that management begins to understand people don't need to be herded into an office to get their work done. More and more jobs (like mine) require a laptop, wifi connection and a VPN.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 8:48 am
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AA has had home-based agents as well as call centers for years. When LAX, TUS, BDL etc. Executive Platinum centers were closed, agents were given the opportunity to relocate to the consolidated centers or work from home - only not as EP agents. One of my favorite agents (we could ask for them by name) moved from LAX to TUS, but when she was offered DFW she resigned rather than relocate yet again with children who had settled down quite well in Tucson, or take a demotion and pay loss working from home.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 9:34 am
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I work in the contact center industry. Trust me, you don't create the infrastructure to support at-home agents overnight. While AA has had at-home agents for a while, it takes time to ramp up the infrastructure, get the proper connectivity, the right devices at home, etc. Companies and government entities are struggling with this across the world right now.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 10:20 am
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Recent (this year) story about the AA call center in Cary, North Carolina: https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-ori...s-call-center/

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Since 1988, among the first tenants of a Cary industrial park, in a nondescript building, is one of American Airlines’ most important facilities.

“You know we have a pretty big presence out at the airport so I think most people would think you know we have 45 flights a day, we go to 12 different destinations at the airport but, sitting here nestled in the woods in Cary is really a wonderful place to be,” said managing director Kip Hamilton.

It’s a place that has survived the ups and downs of the economy and the airline industry.
It outlasted the Raleigh-Durham American Airlines hub and forged through a merger with US Airways. It’s also where a call was received on 9/11 from flight attendant Betty Ong aboard AA flight 11 before it flew into the World Trade Center. Supervisor Nydia Gonzalez later testified before congress.
1,100 employees. Average seniority around 30 years.
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Last edited by WindowSeatFlyer; Mar 28, 20 at 10:25 am
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Old Mar 28, 20, 11:38 am
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If a company isnít already set up for it, switching to WFH can be a major IT challenge. Employees need high-speed internet at home. They need hardware, which is in high demand right now. Certain key resources might only be available from the corporate intranet, and not accessible off-premises. Lastly, even if some support for WFH already exists, everyone suddenly using it might overload VPNs and other infrastructure.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 1:49 pm
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Not to beat a dead horse, but no,snapping your fingers and saying "work from home" doesn't happen. There's quite a bit of technology that needs to be in place. They aren't sitting in a call center using Chrome to access a public website to serve you.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 2:01 pm
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I guess I was surprised b/c so many agents I had spoken to were working from home.

When I offered to give her a computer (or suggested other ways to get one for free) she said that if it got worse the company would give her one but she still didn't have internet (but then again she could have misunderstood one or more facts since she didn't know that covid could be spread by people with no symptoms).
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Old Mar 28, 20, 3:40 pm
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As others mentioned setting up WFH isnít as simple as pinching your fingers, but AA should rightly be criticized for not investing in alternative support channels. I FB message or text Alaska support all the time. KLM uses WhatsApp.

Iím giving every company these days extra patience, but thatís not the same thing as a free ride. AA should have modernized sooner.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by _fx View Post
If a company isnít already set up for it, switching to WFH can be a major IT challenge. Employees need high-speed internet at home. They need hardware, which is in high demand right now. Certain key resources might only be available from the corporate intranet, and not accessible off-premises. Lastly, even if some support for WFH already exists, everyone suddenly using it might overload VPNs and other infrastructure.
Another challenge that some of our customer service employees are facing is that they only have one computer at the house which now must be used by children for online classes.
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Old Mar 28, 20, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by TomMM View Post
Another challenge that some of our customer service employees are facing is that they only have one computer at the house which now must be used by children for online classes.
Agreed. Originally we were asked to volunteer to give up our laptops as if we had another available system at home that could be dedicated to work use, and they wanted to make them available to employees that usually used desktops in the office, like customer service reps, etc. It is extremely difficult to buy or lease more right now, because of the problems in Asia right now and demand has sky rocketed as people are staying at home for work and school.
Our group supports the primary access to internal and external applications, through F5 and Citrix devices. So, we have laptops that are usually used on our desks in the office as we were limited to a maximum of 2 work from home days a week. The idea of giving up our laptops was quickly decided to not be practical. I week ago, I had to connect it to a system in our data center for troubleshooting, so that wouldn't have worked if i had had to give it up. We added 8000 people working from home from a much smaller number who had been previously been doing this by using VPN, Web Portals, and Citrix VDI, so it has been a very hectic 2 weeks at work.
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