WS customer service: has something changed?

Old Jun 26, 19, 11:33 pm
  #1  
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WS customer service: has something changed?

A couple of odd experiences recently.

First, contacting WestJet via Twitter. I’ve used them a lot, and to resolve (successfully) fairly complex issues and questions.

But, most recently, it was a gong show. I DM’d my question in, and received a very, very basic answer that didn’t come close to answering my question. I replied back, and tried to clarify. The next answer came back in such a way that, frankly, it was clear that I knew more about WestJet than they did. After a short exchange, they told me to instead call in to the call centre — and said they weren’t equipped to handle difficult questions.

Maybe it was the person, or maybe it was the time of day, but it was a frustrating experience.


Then, tonight, I wanted to do seat selection using my vouchers. I can’t use the voucher during online booking (strike one). After booking, the website tells me that my reservation isn’t eligible for online seat selection (strike two) and to call instead. I call the Gold line, and the recording says that it closes at 9pm Mountain time. (Seriously!? Strike three.)

So I call the regular number.

After the usual recordings and prompts, the line goes very static-y, I can hear people talking, but nobody is speaking to me. Nobody responds, so I hang up. I try again. Same thing. But, this time, after an awkward delay, an agent speaks. There’s an abnormal amount of static. The accent, the sound quality and delays, and the fact that she calls me Mr. “Firstname” (rather than Mr. “Lastname”) all scream overseas, outsourced call centre.



She got got the job done — although she seemed a bit unsure how to handle the transaction (ie a single seat assignment on an existing booking). The call was easily 12 minutes — maybe even a bit longer.

On the the bright side, the call (my second attempt, at least) was answered almost immediately. None of the long hold times that have plagued WestJet.

Anyone else experiencing recent differences in phone and online support? Have they outsourced overseas, or did I just have a bad connection with a rookie?
FlyerJ is offline  
Old Jun 27, 19, 5:58 am
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I haven't dealt with Twitter recently but recall the time when they gave me advice that was opposite to their website (during the AAdvantage phase out). I had to send screenshots to get them to finally correct their answer.

In terms of phone support, I believe it's all work at home Canadians but there's always a chance it could be outsourced. I've had my share of bad agents, although they tend to be half-decent when selecting 2, existing flight only reservations rather than 3, new flight reservations.

But like you, there's cases when I know more than the agents, which made my call relatively useless. I wanted to credit by ticket to Delta but needed to have my WestJet Member ID on the booking for the free bag. The rep didn't know how to answer this one at all.
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Old Jun 28, 19, 10:42 am
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I have had quite a few dead wrong Twitter DMs where I then did a new DM with "really?" and got a more senior DM person saying, sorry, sorry, you were right, we were wrong and it's a "training opportunity".

I think when they write answers they should use the most experienced agents not Joe Schmo From Kokomo because it's way easier for them to read the previous BS answer and for you to call them on it, and then backpedal and apologize vs. having to go through phone tapes which I bet takes a year.
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Old Jun 28, 19, 1:50 pm
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I have to wonder if the initial responses we get from social media are automated ones? It's only when you ask for clarification that a real human gets involved.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by Arthurrs View Post
I have to wonder if the initial responses we get from social media are automated ones? It's only when you ask for clarification that a real human gets involved.
A bot would use proper grammar so I doubt it. My questions were not super complex and their desire to answer quickly (but wrongly) eclipsed the measure twice, cut once rule they should use and answer 15 minutes later.

I must have had 3 "training opportunities" replies which is just them saying, the person before gave you a load of beans in a hurry. But that person still is on the team the next day. Seen in the public posts.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 12:00 pm
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Unfortunately everything is changing at Westjet. Some things slowly, some much more rapidly but the really only consistent thing is that retention is piss poor and many folks will gladly leave ASAP when a new opportunity becomes available. High turnover leads to poor service as you likely won't be dealing with someone that has a lot of knowledge.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 4:12 pm
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Originally Posted by calgaryhhr View Post
Unfortunately everything is changing at Westjet. Some things slowly, some much more rapidly but the really only consistent thing is that retention is piss poor and many folks will gladly leave ASAP when a new opportunity becomes available. High turnover leads to poor service as you likely won't be dealing with someone that has a lot of knowledge.
Good point, to keep quality staff you have to entice them otherwise the revolving door will keep turning to the detriment of customer service..
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Old Jul 2, 19, 5:05 am
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Originally Posted by calgaryhhr View Post
Unfortunately everything is changing at Westjet. Some things slowly, some much more rapidly but the really only consistent thing is that retention is piss poor and many folks will gladly leave ASAP when a new opportunity becomes available. High turnover leads to poor service as you likely won't be dealing with someone that has a lot of knowledge.
As proven every day by rouge flight attendants.
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Old Jul 2, 19, 10:27 am
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I really don’t know if the apparent customer service changes are due to turnover and retention issues, or if it’s intentional. My hunch is that it’s the latter.

With their Twitter team, I can understand why they wouldn’t put their most talented and most experienced people there. The vast majority of the social media requests seem to be (1) Basic fare customers ranting that they can’t change their flights, or that they need to pay for seat selection, (2) customers ranting about not being given free hotel or meals during weather and other uncontrollable delays, (3) angry reactions to the CBC-story-du-jour, like “114 year old blind great-grandmother who only speaks one obscure language was traveling alone and was not given free hotel when she missed her connection”, (4) rants about flights being late, and associated demands for “compensation”, and (5) fairly basic questions from rookie travellers.

My frustration, though, is that Twitter used to be a great service channel for me — and I was able to get support for even quite complicated issues there. That seems to be gone now.

As for the late-night call centre ... it sure sounded like it had been outsourced to a far-away call centre, but I don’t know for sure. If so, that’s an intentional strategy on WS’ part.

On the the bright side, they really do seem to have pulled the best and brightest to the Gold customer phone line. I’ve had some fantastic experiences there recently — even with complex issues. Really, really good. (The challenge, though, is that they shut that down at 9pm Mountain.)
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Old Jul 3, 19, 11:05 pm
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I was told years ago that WestJet has utilized a Sabre operated call center during periods of extreme strain and I have had a few utterly bizarre calls over the years that might jive with that.
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