Unfortunately I only got about 5 hours quality sleep last night/this morning as my bladder decided to almost explode at 8am … followed by a wake-up call from a mystery caller at 9.45am – me thinks it’s going to be a loooooong day today haha. I thought it was Mum calling, as she never leaves a message, so I called her up in NZ and told her the great news about the job, and ended up talking for almost 1 1/2 hours 🙂
Thanks everyone for your supportive comments – I’m pretty stoked about the whole thing … I finally feel as though I’m back on track with my career, which is awesome. I’m still technically tied to the phones all day with a permanent headset on, but the calls are totally different. When we’re on ‘normal’ calls, we’re talking to the passengers directly – but I get bored. Now don’t get me wrong, the majority of the passengers I really enjoy chatting to and helping out, especially those that ‘need’ extra help ‘cos I’m generally very patient on the phone … it’s just that the type of calls we get I tend to get bored with. You can spend, literally, 1 1/2 hours trying to find seats around the world using their membership loyalty points, and after 6 calls in a row doing the same sort of thing, I kinda switch off and do everything by automatic pilot. Normal calls are still very varied, and as a “multi-skilled” Consultant I deal with both domestic (ie travel inside Australia) and international bookings, both paid and loyalty bookings, also hotels, cars, insurance etc if required. We also do a lot of ‘servicing’ calls for those people wishing to change their flights once they’ve left home, and get all the “remote” calls from overseas offices when they’re closed, eg once our Tuscon office closes, we get all the USA/Canada calls, and when our London office closes, we get all the UK/Europe calls, plus Asia, South Africa etc … we also deal with other airlines and worldwide airports when they need assistance. It’s basically the role of a travel agent, but over the phone. When a normal Consultant gets stuck, doesn’t know how to do something or can’t find a procedure etc, or the call has escalated, and they need fares originating outside Australia etc, they call the “Supervisor Hotline” … which is the role I’m now taking on full-time. I’ve been relieving in the role off-and-on for just over two years here in Aussie.
Anyway, the Hotline is the most challenging role in the Call Centre, in my opinion – you just don’t know what is going to come through on the next call, and it’s always something to keep the grey matter ticking over. Within a space of 15 calls last night I had to deal with a suspected credit card fraud case, rebooking people in Cairns/Townsville due to Cyclone Larry, a passenger having problems on the internet, a fare quote from Accra to Sydney, quarantine issues for taking plants from New South Wales into Western Australia, carriage of pets into Perth airport, urgent travel for someone who’s mother had been taken seriously ill, a passenger at Beijing check-in with no ticket issued and they need to close the flight, as well as many other more mundane queries. Because most of our ticketing is done electronically now, it’s up to me to reassess the fares and build all the ticketing data into the bookings manually to allow us to reissue the ticket, which is pretty complex. With this role you need to know a lot of stuff, but we deal primarily with internal staff only – so the Consultant has the passenger on hold, while they fix things up through us – although we do deal with groups bookings after hours, and other areas such as the airports etc. We also deal with some of our VIP travel agents and clients. It’s a very busy role, and aside from taking the complaint calls, I love it – but even the complaints sometimes are because the Consultant didn’t handle the call well, or didn’t have enough experience/knowledge to look at other options, so it’s an opportunity to come to a resolution when it comes through to me. We basically have the authority to waiver certain things, as we’re classed as ‘Supervisors’ except we don’t have the Supervisor salary LOL. The Supervisors don’t deal with things, though, unless it escalates further, which isn’t often – they’re there more to oversee the running of the office, making sure people are taking calls etc, and liaising with other departments about flight disrupts etc.
I have to say after being told the news, I’m still in a bit of a daze about it all – but it’ll be more real when I go into work today and find out more things such as rosters etc … that’s the GREAT thing now – whether I’m on the day roster or the shift roster, I’m only on ONE roster … no more finding out two weeks beforehand what I’m going to be working to cover someone else – I can actually plan my life now woohoo! And there’s only really one week where the shift turn-around time is poor, so no more doing one roster up until the middle of the week, then another roster then rest of the week, and having to work 8 days straight or losing my RDO’s etc … double woohoo!!!
One great thing about day work is that the earliest I start work is 7am, and the latest I finish is 6pm … but on the negative side I have to work 24 minutes (yep, that’s right, it’s not a typo … it’s actually 24 minutes!) extra each day to get an RDO every 8 weeks (ie a 3-day weekend) – it means I can get to Guild meetings more easily … but I’ll be spending about an hour or so extra in travelling times as it’s peak hour traffic (that’s the great thing about 5am starts etc – everyone else is still in bed LOL). It amazes me how much extra spare time I seem to have doing shift work … But, all-in-all, I don’t care! I’m just happy happy happy that I’m finally in that role. After being told I didn’t get the job last time one of the Consultants went and complained to the Supervisors, saying I was the best person on the Hotline, and they needed their heads reading haha – then last week another one came to me and said she couldn’t get her head around seeing me taking ‘normal’ calls, as it was so stupid wasting my time and wasting resources that way (that was also said by another Hotliner the previous week too) … so that’s been keeping my spirits up.
Anyway, I suppose I should be getting ready for work, as I’ve got a 10-hour day today, and need to call into the Guild on the way to work. And besides, I’ve probably bored you all senseless now LOL … I promise it’ll be back to stitching again soon – although my time this week is limited due to my shifts and social occasions (dinner straight from work tomorrow, and out on Saturday night, then my friend from NZ arrives on Tuesday for two nights stay). It’s a good job I got so much stitching done last weekend, to make up for it LOL.