Airlines have drastically cut back their route networks, and expect a recovery to take several years. Unfortunately this has caused layoffs at many airlines. Among those employees who are sticking around at airlines, some creative arrangements are needed to keep people efficiently employed.
Well, Qatar Airways seems to have a creative solution for keeping some cabin crew busy in the coming months…
Qatar Airways flight attendants take on call center positions
Qatar Airways has asked select cabin crew to work in the company’s call centers, including managing some social channels. This is a three month job assignment that starts on August 2.
As the assignment is described, the company is continuing to navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has caused the demands of customers to change. The company’s commitment to the customer experience remains, both on the ground and in the air. As a result, the company needs added support in call centers.
Cabin crew who have taken on this assignment will undergo a training course on August 2, before starting their assignment. They’ll be working nine hour shifts (with breaks) five days per week, and schedules will vary, since the call center operates 24/7.
The company markets this as offering the added benefit of:
- Learning new skills in reservations and ticketing
- Developing new expertise in customer service
- Having a new perspective on a different side of the customer journey
- Offering training in the areas of data protection and data privacy
In light of the pandemic, it’s expected that those working in the call centers will have to wear masks, and workstations will also have to be properly distanced.
This is creative… I guess?
I commend Qatar Airways for trying to shift resources during the pandemic in a way that helps customers. The current pandemic sure has exposed just how outdated airline technology is, and the limited capacity for customers to self-serve reservations online.
At many airlines it’s almost impossible to get through to someone by phone, so there’s no denying that airlines need more people in call centers than in other roles right now.
That being said, is a short training course really sufficient to get flight attendants up to speed on working in a call center? Arguably airline reservations is a fairly skilled job, and there are lots of rules to be aware of.
Consumers already have a hard enough time getting correct answers from reservations agents who have been working in such a role for a decade (hence the “hang up and call again” tactic), so I can only imagine how this will be when you get someone who is on the job for the first day.
I’ll be very curious to see how this situation works out for Qatar Airways.
Some Qatar Airways cabin crew have accepted a three month assignment to work in the call center, starting this month. The good news is that your next call to Qatar Airways may be answered more quickly, while the bad news is that you may get an agent who is especially unknowledgeable, though no fault of their own.
How do you think this will work out for Qatar Airways?