Qantas has overhauled its beleaguered call centre in an effort to improve the quality of the service provided. But there have been some teething issues, with Platinum members reporting waiting hours on hold and others complaining that the new menu is not user-friendly.
A few weeks ago, the Qantas call centre implemented a new Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu, with more options for customers to choose from when calling.
In addition, calls relating to certain types of issues are now being sent to dedicated specialist teams. For example, according to this AFF post, calls relating to more complicated issues such as lost baggage or international award bookings are now being sent to the Hobart premium call centre, where staff are specifically trained to take such calls.
According to TheInsider, enquires relating to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program (and Qantas Business Rewards) are generally being directed to staff in Manila. Meanwhile, more simple requests such as domestic flight reservations could be put through to the call centres in either Hobart, Auckland or Cape Town.
Qantas’ main call centres are located in Hobart, Auckland, Manila and Cape Town.
Lengthy wait times for Platinum members resolved
Normally, calls from Platinum (and to a lesser extent, Gold) members are given priority in the queue and put through to the Qantas Premium desk, where possible. But there was a temporary issue when the new IVR menu was introduced a few weeks ago, meaning some Platinum members were waiting for an unacceptably long time on hold.
Instead of receiving priority, for several weeks, calls from Platinum members relating to things like domestic bookings, flight credits or frequent flyer program enquiries were being incorrectly grouped with calls from customers with lower status tiers. This meant the calls were being placed at the back of the queue, and weren’t necessarily being answered by the Qantas Premium desk.
A Qantas spokesperson acknowledged that there was a temporary issue which has now been resolved, and that going forward, calls from Platinum frequent flyers should continue to be picked up by “premium” staff who are more highly trained.
The VIP Service Team is still available to Platinum One frequent flyers and Chairmans Lounge members.
Qantas wants to improve the call centre experience
Australian Frequent Flyer first called out the unacceptably long Qantas call centre wait times five years ago. Since then, sadly, little has changed. As recently as last week, customers without Qantas Frequent Flyer status have reported waiting over four hours on hold.
After Qantas outsourced more of its call centres overseas, the quality of the service also seemed to decline to the point where AFF had a lengthy thread discussing all the incorrect information members had been given by Qantas call centre staff.
Qantas is aware of these issues and is currently hiring more staff, particularly for the Auckland call centre, to address the high demand.
The airline is also trying to introduce more ways for customers to self-service, in order to free up staff for other callers with more complex or urgent requests. With some Qantas customers still having to call simply to redeem their flight credits, and Qantas closing airport service desks, this will be much needed.
The Qantas callback service is still available, but is not always offered.
Qantas says that the recent changes are part of an investment in the call centre experience and hopes things will progressively improve over the coming months, as more people are flying.
In the meantime, the best time to call Qantas seems to be around 7-8am AEST. This is just after the premium Hobart call centre opens, with Auckland also online. (But don’t call too early, or your call may be diverted to the South African call centre where the staff don’t appear to be as well-trained.)
New Qantas call centre shortcuts
The menu options have also recently changed when you call Qantas on 13 13 13. Instead of inputting your frequent flyer number straight away, you now have to listen to a long recorded message and select the options that describe the nature of your call first.
To make things easier for you, we’ve put together a quick guide to the new Qantas call centre menu options. After the recorded message has finished, simply press the numbers in the flowchart below to get put through to right department.
For example, to make an international Classic Flight Reward booking using Qantas points; press 3, then 2, then 1. Or if you’re calling because you’ve received a notification about a domestic flight change or cancellation; press 2, then 1, then 2.
If you’re calling about something relating to Qantas Frequent Flyer or Qantas Club, other than to make a Classic Flight Reward booking, you’ll probably need to speak to the Qantas Frequent Flyer Service Centre. This call centre is open from 7am-7pm (AEST) Mondays-Saturdays, excluding public holidays, and you can call them directly on 13 11 31.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: The Qantas call centre now has a different menu