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BA Empowers LHR staff to assist with any travel issue

BA Empowers LHR staff to assist with any travel issue

Old Oct 19, 18, 6:43 am
  #1  
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BA Empowers LHR staff to assist with any travel issue

BA Press Release:
  • Multi-million pounds investment in staff training
  • Staff empowered and trained to work across the terminal to solve any problem
  • Mobile devices will help them to assist with reservations, ticketing, flight changes, re-bookings and up to date flight information
  • Part of a continued initiative to care for and put customers at the heart of its business
As part of its continued commitment to put customers at the heart of its business, British Airways has today announced a multi-million pounds investment in training for its staff at Heathrow - beginning with its customer service hosts at its flagship home, Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

Investment in customer service training

The investment is part of the airline’s plan to have the most skilled, responsive and flexible customer team of any major hub airport.

British Airways’ hosts have traditionally helped customers with one aspect of their journey.

As part of a new approach, between now and next summer a huge training operation will get underway to enable every host to help customers across a range of different areas – from ticketing, to re-booking, changing reservations, finding delayed luggage or providing up to date flight information.

More help for customers

Hosts will use iPads loaded with a number of specialist apps and will walk the terminal floor, reaching out to customers, rather than waiting for them to visit desks.

Klaus Goersch, BA’s Chief Operating Officer said:

“This will change the service we deliver at Heathrow, but at its heart, this is a really simple idea. It’s about trusting our people and empowering them - giving them everything they need to provide the very best service to our customers. We’re encouraging our hosts to treat customers as they would their own family, and to own and resolve issues on the spot. It’s this exceptional customer service that will set us apart from other airlines.”

The new approach is expected to be extended across Heathrow to empower all British Airways staff, whichever area of the airport they work in, to provide outstanding customer service.
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Old Oct 19, 18, 6:47 am
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If they empowered them to allow baggage through to final destination on seperate tickets I give it a thumbs-up although I've always found the staff helpful.
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Old Oct 19, 18, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by TPloser View Post
If they empowered them to allow baggage through to final destination on seperate tickets I give it a thumbs-up although I've always found the staff helpful.
I reckon the computer will still say no on that one.
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Old Oct 19, 18, 7:03 am
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I'm skeptical about how this is going to work in practice, but by far my biggest issue with companies (both as a customer and as an employee) is when you have staff willing and able to help but they aren't allowed to.

Hopefully this is the "proper deal".
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Old Oct 19, 18, 7:05 am
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Well it sounds wonderful! I've always found the Customer Service Managers on the ground at Heathrow to be empowered and customer service focused.

However the staff have to be motivated and incentivised to use this new training and new tools to actually provide this promised nirvana. Even with an iPad packed full of useful information, I have found the customer service on my last 3 flights to be lacklustre at best. All of the flights had ATC delays on departure, providing time for the crew to go and talk to passengers (especially those on tight connections) to reassure them or to at least provide them with the information they had - but on every flight, the crew hid in the galley for 30 minutes and more. It's this attitude which needs changing, and all the iPads in the world won't change that.
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Old Oct 19, 18, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by ThatT1Feeling View Post
Well it sounds wonderful! I've always found the Customer Service Managers on the ground at Heathrow to be empowered and customer service focused.

However the staff have to be motivated and incentivised to use this new training and new tools to actually provide this promised nirvana. Even with an iPad packed full of useful information, I have found the customer service on my last 3 flights to be lacklustre at best. All of the flights had ATC delays on departure, providing time for the crew to go and talk to passengers (especially those on tight connections) to reassure them or to at least provide them with the information they had - but on every flight, the crew hid in the galley for 30 minutes and more. It's this attitude which needs changing, and all the iPads in the world won't change that.
This initiative appears to relate to ground crew, not cabin crew.
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Old Oct 19, 18, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by Tobias-UK View Post
This initiative appears to relate to ground crew, not cabin crew.
Yes indeed. And, as I mentioned, I have always found the ground crew to be customer-service focused where they have the tools to do so - I do see this announcement as a good thing, for the avoidance of doubt!

However, BA's customer service proposition needs to be end to end and a good ground experience can still be marred by a disinterested crew. Don't mean to take this thread off-topic
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Old Oct 19, 18, 7:46 am
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On the face of it its great, but getting everyone to do everything means that the CS agents may become 'jack of all trades'.

I would hope they still have agents who specialise in a certain area... Ticketing, for example, is hugely complex. Some people have been doing it their entire career and can get their passengers out of a sticky spot by virtue of their experience. Having them wondering the terminal with an iPad probably isn't the best use of their skills.

Its the Mixed Fleet methodology: A flexible workforce that can do anything. And above all... Its cheaper.
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Old Oct 19, 18, 7:49 am
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I wonder whether or not they will extend this empowerment to the call centres outside the UK?
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Old Oct 19, 18, 8:28 am
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I hope this means the disruption and rebooking experience is a bit more like AA. AA gate agents can reroute you.

So on BA it goes like this
<flatlander runs up to a gate with an aircraft disappearing away>
B: I'm afraid the gate is closed, sorry you've missed the flight.
f: How can I get to destination?
B: I'm afraid you'll have to see my colleagues at the customer service desk, they can help you.
f; that long queue over there?
B: Yes...

AA it goes like:
<flatlander runs up to a gate with an aircraft disappearing away>
A: Gate's closed.
f: How can I get to destination?
A: Give me your boarding pass.
<A take boarding pass, stares at computer, pounds keys intensely for 30 seconds, boarding pass printer runs>
A: Next flight's in 2 hours, leaves from the next gate.
A: Next passenger!

BA gate staff may be a bit more friendly, but the non-nonsense (some might say grumpy...) AA gate staff can actually fix your problem and get you on another flight.

This still leaves the un-empowered, un-trained, un-motivated, over-worked staff at every BA outstation needing more help and tools (and contracted paid hours) to be able to help customers on the return journey. I welcome the idea of more empowered staff at LHR, at least.

... wait, are there any BA flights at London Gatwick? Bueller? Bueller?
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Old Oct 19, 18, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by flatlander View Post
I hope this means the disruption and rebooking experience is a bit more like AA. AA gate agents can reroute you.

So on BA it goes like this
<flatlander runs up to a gate with an aircraft disappearing away>
B: I'm afraid the gate is closed, sorry you've missed the flight.
f: How can I get to destination?
B: I'm afraid you'll have to see my colleagues at the customer service desk, they can help you.
f; that long queue over there?
B: Yes...

AA it goes like:
<flatlander runs up to a gate with an aircraft disappearing away>
A: Gate's closed.
f: How can I get to destination?
A: Give me your boarding pass.
<A take boarding pass, stares at computer, pounds keys intensely for 30 seconds, boarding pass printer runs>
A: Next flight's in 2 hours, leaves from the next gate.
A: Next passenger!

BA gate staff may be a bit more friendly, but the non-nonsense (some might say grumpy...) AA gate staff can actually fix your problem and get you on another flight.

This still leaves the un-empowered, un-trained, un-motivated, over-worked staff at every BA outstation needing more help and tools (and contracted paid hours) to be able to help customers on the return journey. I welcome the idea of more empowered staff at LHR, at least.

... wait, are there any BA flights at London Gatwick? Bueller? Bueller?
That is so true. AA staff are skilled and knowledgeable. BA agents are just supermarket checkout agents in a fancy uniform.

This is simply another "jam tomorrow story from the masters of jam tomorrow stories... multi million pound investment, new equipment, new bedding, new food.....non of it ever appears.
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Old Oct 19, 18, 8:50 am
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If I were BA - I would start with the basics.

Call at 659am EST to the BA call center in the US: 1 800 247 9297 - prerecorded message says the call center opens at 7am
Call at 7am EST - prerecorded message says they are busy, cannot take the volume of calls, to try again later

Bravo BA...!
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Old Oct 19, 18, 8:55 am
  #13  
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One does not have to look further than AA to realize that BA far too stove-piped. This is not about changing the rules, e.g. allowing BA-BA bag checking across tickets, but rather about having the first employee one encounters have the capability to handle the resolution.

Thus, if one misses a flight for any reason, the same employee who delivers that news is able to rebook you and can also send a message to the appropriate people to have your bag retagged (AA has baggage tag printers in the bowels of major airports which auto-print a new tag and the bag is then located and retagged).

Managers are then free to handle the more serious problems dealing with other carriers and the like,

At the same time, BA really does need to provide 24/7 customer service. While sun may set on the British Empire these days, it does not set on BA. In any given location, there ought to be a 24/7 telephone number which can internally select the best call center to handle the call in the moment. Of all places, this should occur in the UK. But, the concept of round-the-clock access is far from new in the commercial aviation business (25 years for most).

This is a positive move by BA and hopefully staff will get some slack as they implement.

Last edited by Often1; Oct 19, 18 at 9:02 am
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Old Oct 19, 18, 9:03 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by gottaluvNW View Post
If I were BA - I would start with the basics.

Call at 659am EST to the BA call center in the US: 1 800 247 9297 - prerecorded message says the call center opens at 7am
Call at 7am EST - prerecorded message says they are busy, cannot take the volume of calls, to try again later

Bravo BA...!
Yeah, been there , done that, have a swollen ear from being glued to the phone!
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Old Oct 19, 18, 9:08 am
  #15  
 
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* <<<<< Slow claps BA as he sees another initiative referencing families/ that family approach being deployed at the mainly business airport ( LHR) rather than the, typically, Family/ Leisure airport LGW. Well done BA, well done. ( yes some mass generalisations have been made on my part)
@flatlander nailed it. Good initiative rolled out at LHR just because.
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