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Airlines improve call centers and customer support

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When traveling by air, customers need support more than ever. In between delays, flight changes and inclement weather, it's important that air customers feel cared for by their airlines.

That's why Air China's customer support is extending its hours, offering more opportunities for weekday support in North American call centers. The call center is open from 6 AM to 9 PM, as opposed to 7:30 AM to 4 PM, which will still be the hours on weekends and holidays.

Air China does not exercise popular outsourced customer care services, believing that personalized customer care given directly by the airline will keep customers happy. Its call center in North America is able to respond to 90 percent of calls, responding to 80 percent of them within 30 seconds.

The North America call center employs 45 bilingual customer service agents in Los Angeles. The center not only serves North America, but also helps English speakers in Hong Kong, Australia, the Philippines and Singapore.

Southwest Airlines joins Air China in seeking to improve customer experience. Instead of a contact center, Southwest has launched the swafreedomshop.com, which is an online store where customers can buy Southwest gear and apparel. The site's models are Southwest Airlines employees.

Southwest prides itself on the merging of low fares and quality customer service.

It is expected that more airlines will improve their contact centers and customer service communications to remain competitive in the industry.