Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.
Transat’s new call centre fees kicked in on Monday (March 6) as the tour operator urges travel advisors to use its new self-service functions.
The company has enhanced its self-serve tools to support travel professionals, both in the form of new technology and online forms, so agents can manage aspects of a booking without having to call in and wait on hold.
Besides ongoing staffing issues, one of the reasons why telephone wait times can be so long is because travel agents are calling in for help on files that they can fix themselves, tour operators have said.
Self-service tools can help reduce call volumes, and to increase the use of its own toolbox, Transat will now charge $25 per file when its contact centre performs a task that can be done independently, Transat wrote in a reminder letter to the trade on Monday (word of this new policy was first shared in February).
Additionally, a fee of $25 per paying traveller will apply if the contact centre creates a booking for a travel agent that could have been booked using a reservation system, Transat said.
Contact centre agents will inform callers if the task being requested can be done using a self-service function.
The caller may then choose to end the call and perform the task themselves or they may ask the contact centre agent to complete the task and accept the charge.
“We will not charge for tasks that cannot be completed independently,” Transat wrote.
Tasks that can be performed by a travel professional using self-service tools include creating new bookings, booking multiple rooms in different room categories on one file, making name/date of birth corrections, modifying flight reservations, cancelling select files and other actions.
The move mirrors a similar policy that was introduced by Air Canada Vacations last summer when the tour operator announced a $25 administration fee for certain types of calls, such as requests to add payments to a booking or make a name change – tasks agents can do themselves using online tools.
“We introduced the fee not because I don't want calls. It’s because I want the right calls,” Nino Montagnese, vice-president of ACV, told PAX in an interview last fall.
“We were getting all these calls for name and age corrections. It was clogging up the queue and people who needed the support of our call centre couldn't get through.”
Montagnese said the strategy was paying off as more agents turned to automation to avoid charges.
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