Monday, October 09, 2006

United Airlines Really Needs to Train Its People

See, I told you, a day can't go by without using that word.

I called United today to make travel arrangements to go home to PA this weekend. My Uncle that I went to visit a few weeks back passed away yesterday morning, he had been a lifelong smoker and died from lung/brain cancer. I'm glad that I got to see him a few weeks ago, we had a wonderful visit and although he looked totally different, and for the first time ever - an old man, he still had the same sense of humor and joking way about himself.

So I called United today to make travel arrangements for The Boyfriend and I to go home this weekend......

Fucking United Airlines has outsourced their reservations to India. I'm not gonna go on about how wrong that is...that's not the issue...the issue is that the girl who helped me had no idea what she was doing or the type of call that she was handling.

I told her at the onset of the call I was arranging travel for the funeral of a family member. She gets all of my details and comes back with a fare of over $500 for each ticket....whoooo.... So I ask her, if that's the fare for bereavement at which point she says "What kind of fare?" in that same perky voice.

"Bereavement, you know like when a family member dies and they have a funeral." Then she told me to hold...when she came back she told me the fare would be less but only about $125 less, so we proceed through the rest of the call, confirm, credit card number, yada yada yada and while she's waiting for my credit card authorization she has the nerve to say "Sir, would you be interested in applying for our United Visa card which offers an introducto..." that's where I cut her off with a curt "No, thank you" she even had the audacity to continue on with her spiel saying "you could earn 75 thousand..." "I'm really not interested in a credit card right now," I politely told her.

So I got my confirmation number and was ready to hang up the phone when the girl says in the same happy tone "Sir, did I fulfill all of your travel needs today" "Yep you sure did," I told her, "And you sure follow your script don't you?"....she responded with a quizzical "huh?" and I hung up the phone.

I've worked in Customer Service for years now, and almost all of it has been phone based, and I understand the need for a script and to follow it....but come on people, train your CSR's to have a little bit of compassion.....if I wanted to talk to a fucking robot I would have done the transaction online....but I can't because you can only do bereavement fares on the phone and they charge you a $15 fee to do that.... I've talked to all kinds of people in all sorts of situations.....hell this one time I even had a lady tell me that her husband had just handed her a request for divorce and she was still at work placing orders....I felt so bad for her....we sat and talked for aabout ten minutes and didn't even place an order....but not little Miss United Airlines....not that I was expecting a pity party from them, but the least the lady could have done was at least sound a little reverent instead of perky perky perky and try to upsell me on their fucking credit card. I've ranted and if I rant much longer I'll probably keel over myself.


Ms Mac said...

Michael, I'm so sorry to hear about your Uncle.
I once worked in Customer Service but it was long before they introduced scripts and service targets and all that bull. I had a lady on the phone tell me all about how her husband had left her again for a younger woman again and spent all their money again and her parents would have to bail her out again but that this time she was 5 months pregnant. I cancelled her cheque book for her and her atm and credit cards and then a few days later the police told me she was dead!!! I remain convinced that the husband killed her.

And see here for something a bit interesting about Indian Call Centres!

CanadianSwiss said...

Sorry to hear about your uncle.

Fortunately, our CS doesn't work with scripts. Although, even if they did, I would also expect some kind of compassion.