You’re planning air travel and you just can’t get done what you want online.
Here are the top five tips for getting better luck on the phone:
#5 Set Yourself Up For Success
Visit airline website to learn its policies for holding awards, cancelling flights, re-depositing points and reducing/avoiding fees prior to calling. Know whether your request falls within stated policy guidelines or whether out of guidelines.
#4 Avoid Domestic Call Centers
By busy, I mean Mondays, Thursdays, holidays and severe weather messing up flight schedules.
You’ll want to set up a Skype account, if you don’t already have one.
Because you can use it to contact your airline’s international call center, rather than domestic. Yes, this tip works even if you need help on a US-based flight.
You’ll pay pennies per minute. You’ll save 30 minutes being stuck on hold. Often you’ll get better service and an agent who will follow more lenient policies. These international agents sometimes have access to “hidden” award space not available to US call centers.
Here is how you set up a Skype account if you don’t already have one.
Here is how to use Skype to place an international call.
#3 Be Nice
You can take control of immediate conversation by complimenting the customer service rep for their typically difficult job dealing with upset customers. Thank them in advance for their willingness to help you resolve your problem. If your request is out of policy guidelines, know this upfront and ask for a “one-time exception.”
#2 Don’t Be A Jerk
Leave an extremely small wake. CSRs are known to permanently notate your system record locator when treated poorly (insulting/raising your voice, threatening to escalate to supervisor). Future CSR interactions will see these notations, virtually eliminating your chances of request being honored.
# 1 Hang Up
If the CSR doesn’t honor your request, Hang Up and Call Again (“HUCA”). After the third HUCA, request escalation to supervisor as last resort. Refer back to Pro Tip 3 .
Any other techniques work for you? I’d love to learn from you in comments section below. Please share what your own tricks.