Air New Zealand recruiting call centre staff as bookings increase

(PHOTO: Shutterstock) New Zealand has seen an increase in bookings as customers rush to take advantage of open borders. While it’s welcome news for the airline and New Zealand, it is not without challenges, the carrier said. The airline is looking to add 200 additional consultants, taking the total to more than 450 dedicated staff answering customer queries once training is complete in eight weeks. It’s also redeploying other staff to help out where possible.

Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says, “Bookings on our domestic network are increasing as people start to travel again, and it’s fantastic to see international bookings flow in as we restart popular routes like Honolulu, Vancouver and San Francisco. Just this week, we operated more than 200 international flights, the highest in a long time. For a lot of our customers, these trips will be their first in more than two years, and it’s different to what it used to be. The new travel environment is complex, and what we’re hearing from our customers is that they have a preference to speak to a person rather than booking online or using an app.

“Previously around 1-in-8 customers called us before travel, now we are seeing around 1-in-3. This is leading to not only more calls, but also longer call times, with the average call handling time being around 16 minutes – approximately 50 percent longer than pre-Covid. While we have been recruiting into our contact centre since December last year, we just can’t keep up with the number of calls,” Geraghty said.

“At the moment, it’s taking us a lot longer to respond to customers than we would like, with some waiting hours to speak to someone. This is frustrating for our customers and stressful for our teams and we’d like to thank everyone for their patience. We want to get back to providing world class customer service and we’re asking our loyal customers to bear with us over the next couple of months as we ramp up and get new team members onboard,” Geraghty said.

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  1. Unfortunately, at the moment the call centre is one big mess. Waiting time of 6 hours and more is not unusual. I doubt that the 200 new “dedicated” staff will imrove the problem. Problems like this are common with airlines that have absolute monopoly and the Government tht has majority stke does not intervene


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