Air New Zealand to boost contact centre staff as Kiwis start to book travel

Sunday 8 May 2022, 1:19AM
By Air New Zealand

Air 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 challenge. 

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% 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.”  

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 8 weeks’ time. It's also redeploying other staff to help out where possible.   

“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.”  

Recruitment is underway for Contact Centre Consultants. The airline is encouraging people to get in touch if this sounds like you. 

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 may also be able to find the answer to their query on our website.  

We also recommend customers download the Air NZ mobile app to stay up to date with bookings.  

If you’re an Airpoints member, sign in to your account to tailor your travel alerts.