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Call for BA to implement callback & filtering features

Call for BA to implement callback & filtering features

Old Aug 26, 19, 3:38 am
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
Programs: Battleaxe Alliance
Posts: 21,532
My point of those function is that it wouldn't have made the line inaccessible like it did had they been in place.

There is a finite number of lines, and because a lot of people were holding, the line jammed calls were essentially being rejected. If they had a call-back function, they will have had people off the line quickly enough so that others could get through to register for call-back, which could be prioritised.

I don't think fundamental IT changes would be easily forthcoming, but at least those functions listed above are cheap to implement. Online rebooking tool would be much harder to implement, even though I prefer to have that function, of course.

They tried to make it easier to rebook online if you remember, but when it involves other carriers, it would be much harder to implement, and bluntly put, I don't really think BA's IT would be up to it at this stage, so any improvement would be better than none.

Originally Posted by BerksFlyer View Post
Although this would undoubtedly help, BA would still need to employ more people to handle the volume of calls on weeks like this. The agent I spoke to on Friday to get my flight change, who was also outstanding in handling my call, said that they were staying on a few extra hours until midnight. It seems to me that BA hadn’t fully prepared for the strike announcement by having an army of people it could bring in at short notice to cope, probably because that costs money.
I suspect part of the problem is the clunky system that requires more training than if they did not have a clunky IT system. I suspect they can't just click their fingers and pay to make people appear short-term only...

Originally Posted by Mountlodge View Post
I Just hope those Volunteers will be remunerated appropriately
I believe they were, based on the conversation with agents. They said they were authorised to go into overtime (as in they weren't forced to work overtime - I did ask, and they said they weren't being made to do it). That suggests that they weren't doing it without overtime pay.

Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
As it happens the GGL and YouFirst lines didn't go to a very long wait, and it seems that Golds were getting through reasonably successfully.
50 minutes was the longest I actually held, however, I had a very long period (about 4 hours) when the GGL number was ringing out with no response, and also rejecting after picking up saying 'due to high call volume' in the US line.

Last edited by LTN Phobia; Aug 26, 19 at 3:46 am
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Old Aug 26, 19, 3:39 am
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by Misco60 View Post
I was working for RBS when they had that major systems failure a few years back, locking customers out of their accounts for almost a week. It was due to staff in India mistakenly loading one of the overnight batch tapes out of sequence. Anyone can make a mistake, but these inexpensive new hirings didn't have the experience to know what to do to fix the problem (all the long-serving technical staff in London had been disposed of) and their cack-handed attempts to do so just made things worse. RBS saved a few million by outsourcing but it ended up costing them ten of millions and a lot of goodwill.

A similar thing happened at Lloyds when I worked there last year, when they were trying to move TSB onto a new IT platform - in that case the outsourced staff even instagrammed photographs of themselves toasting the apparent success of the project with champagne just minutes before it all came crashing down. (Perhaps they should have been concentrating on the work in hand rather than updating their social media accounts.)

Companies just never seem to learn.
I totally agree and yet still companies feel they know better and would rather invest money in offshore resourcing including IT firms, look at Amazon who has just built a whole new billion $ campus and HP who recently committed to $500 investment. These sorts of actions don't give companies a good name. BA according to many pain a high price shifting their call centre operations to be operated by third party maintainer, which I believe was Capita.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 3:45 am
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An alternative solution would be to move to a live web chat solution. I am a big fan of these and use them a lot being able to resolve a lot of queries very quickly but of course, there are times when there are more complex issues and need speak to someone.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 3:54 am
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club
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Originally Posted by icegirl View Post
An alternative solution would be to move to a live web chat solution. I am a big fan of these and use them a lot being able to resolve a lot of queries very quickly but of course, there are times when there are more complex issues and need speak to someone.
It takes longer for most people to type than to speak though, so shortage of agents won't be helped by that.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 4:09 am
Join Date: Apr 2018
Programs: BAEC Gold, Emirates Skywards Silver
Posts: 100
I had 4 flights scheduled for 10 and 11 Sept cancelled and spent hours on BA Gold line trying to reach an agent to no avail. The BA.COM online system could not do the re-booking and kept sending "Unknown Error". Very very frustrating.
Putting a person on hold for several hours!
Whilst the automatic message kept saying they would accept flight change requests by e-mail, they fail to give BA's e-mail address or provide an indication on how long will they take to make the changes.What a shame BA ...not good enough!
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Old Aug 26, 19, 4:42 am
Join Date: Nov 2015
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
It takes longer for most people to type than to speak though, so shortage of agents won't be helped by that.
I think the idea is that an agent can handle multiple chat threads, removing some down time of conversation. But multiple threads may explain why Vodafone chat agents post completely random remarks in chat thread.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 5:08 am
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They need a chatbot.

Bot - "Hi, I'm Jarvis, how may I be of assistance?"

Me - "I'd like to cancel a flight please"

Bot - "Ok, please let me know who I am speaking to"

Me - "It's Mr DYKWIA, my BAEC number is 86547897"

Bot - "Great, may I refer to you as Mr DYKWIA?"

Me - "Yes"

Bot - "Please could you tell me your BAEC Number"

Me (getting annoyed) - "86547897"

Bot - "Thanks. For your security, please give me the 3rd, 7th & 8th letter of your password.

Me - "D * D"

Bot - "Great, as a final security check, please give me the last 4 digits of the on file credit card"

Me - "7698"

Bot - "OK, that's great. Now, how can I help you?"

Me - "I'd like to cancel flight BA754 on 29/08/2019"

Bot - "You'd like to cancel a flight?"

Me - "YES!!!"

Bot - "OK, for cancellations, please phone BA on 0800-36745637 during normal office hours. One of our highly trained agents will be able to do that for you"

Bot - "Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

Me - "F****^^[email protected]$ of sh*t".

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Old Aug 26, 19, 5:24 am
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: UK
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My experience of contact forms for webchats is that they are OK for simple queries, but anything remotely outside the norm leaves you banging your head against the wall in frustration.

Phones might be low tech but they are the best chance of getting quite a lot of things sorted.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 5:41 am
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This is pretty much what Qantas claims to do in Australia, but IMO it doesn't always work that well (I've never been called back, when requested). But it does get you off the phones for a while.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 6:10 am
Join Date: Jun 2018
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Originally Posted by V10 View Post
I think that this is addressing the wrong issue too - make it possible for people to help themselves by providing the online tools to do it. People aren't going to sit in a phone queue for lord knows how long if they can do it in a couple of minutes online.

Number one change here is actually to address the BA management mindset. It needs to stop seeing IT as an operating expense that needs to be minimised in order to increase the bottom line, and instead approach it as central to the ongoing operation of its business.
Exactly. Focusing on call centers is very 1990s and simply not scalable.

It would be much better to focus on the portal/app to give people tools to make changes themselves. I often scratch my head wondering why do I have to call BA to make a simple change (the dreaded "this change cannot be made online, please call xyz". Why? In 2019?

Online tools done the right way, there would be hardly a need for call centers. At least not to the current extent, I bet a vast majority of phone queries could be sorted online with right tools provided by the BA. Would save them money long term too.
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Last edited by OGG flyer; Aug 26, 19 at 6:13 am Reason: typo
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Old Aug 26, 19, 6:13 am
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None of these are new. AA, UA, and DL have all offer roughly similar features and do so 24/7. Calls are routed based on phone number of FFP number and thus it does not matter whether a general member calls AA's EXP line, he will still be routed to a low priority queue.

All of this needs to be coupled with more online functionality. Ticketing is rules based and rules are programmable.

The standard FT bashing of BA management regarding spending does not apply here. This is about making a modest investment to actually save money. The longer staff spend on the phone dealing with simple tasks which have been automated in the rest of the world, the more staff are required, the more it costs and the larger the problems.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 6:34 am
Join Date: Dec 2009
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If the first piece of information one was asked about when calling BA about an existing booking was the booking reference, it might cut a significant time from the start of the conversation. If this were done as part of the automated preliminaries (Press 1 for a new booking, 2 in connection with an existing booking, 3 for a cosy chat with a real person, …), it would enable the person handling the call to have all the relevant information in front of them immediately.

Information from the PNR would enable call prioritisation by such things as EC status, cabin and fare bucket, and even caller's past DYKWIA attitude - route the call direct to a supervisor or a first-day intern to suit the degree of aggravation to be fed back.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 7:50 am
Join Date: Oct 2012
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I called my cable TV company last week. After going through the menu options, I heard this message:
"Rather than wait on line we can call you back when it is your turn in approximately 32 to 37 minutes from now. You will not lose your place in line. If you would like to use this service press 1"
Seemed to work pretty well. I was able to get on with my life and then answer the phone when it rang. When they called back it still put me on hold but for less than a minute.

I've heard very similar messages when calling other companies (maybe American Airlines, too).

I think something like this would help #3 and #4 of the OPs question.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 8:03 am
Join Date: Jul 2019
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There was a wonderful quality assurance acronym back in the early 1990s: DIRTFT, Do It Right The First Time.

If BA had simply not let the pilot dispute get to the point of actual strike announcements and had it not sent out the daft erroneous cancellation emails late on Friday the ensuing chaos would not have happened.

All of the suggestions made at the start are useful ideas but the call centres would probably been more likely to deal with the call volumes had it been restricted to those whose flights truly are cancelled on or around the actual strike days.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 8:09 am
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Posts: 618
I've just had BA holidays phone me after I asked the call centre to get them to call me when the call centre staff couldn't answer my queries regarding my booking on Saturday morning that was showing as cancelled.

Having a similar system instead of auto cut off would be great.
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