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Air New Zealand to boost contact centre staff as travel demand increases

Air New Zealand has reported 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. 

Air New Zealand has reported 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. 

Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty said domestic bookings are healthy and there is a rise in international bookings as the airline restarts popular routes like Honolulu, Vancouver and San Francisco.

“Just this week, we operated more than 200 international flights, the highest in a long time,” she said.

“For a lot of our customers, these trips will be their first in more than two years, and it’s different from 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.

Geraghty said that previously around 1 in 8 customers called Air New Zealand before travelling, now the airline is 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% longer than pre-Covid.

Air New Zealand airline says it’s looking to add 200 additional consultants, taking the total to more than 450 dedicated staff answering customer queries once training is complete in 8 weeks’ time.

“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,” she said.

What are customers calling about?

  • New bookings – How to use credits, when will a specific route be back up and running, connections with other airlines, can I use my Airpoints?
  • Changes to bookings – How can I adjust my journey, what does my schedule change mean, I have Covid/what happens if I catch Covid?  
  • Airpoints queries – Account status, can I gift/share my Airpoints, I’d like to use my recognition upgrade, what are the tier benefits?    
  • Preparing for travel – What are the travel requirements for my destination, can I travel with my pet, seat or bag requests, what are the different fare rules?   

Customers and travel advisors may be able to find the answers to their queries on the Air New Zealand website, so it’s always best to check there first, if possible.

Recruitment is underway for Air New Zealand Contact Centre Consultants. The airline is encouraging people to get in touch if this sounds like something you would like to apply for.