**Update: 02/08/20 @ 18:57 UTC – Statement from Qatar Airways received and included within article.**
With flight demand still low and the need for cabin crew at a fraction of pre-COVID levels, it appears that Middle Eastern airline Qatar Airways has added personnel from its Cabin Services division to support existing customer service agents at its Contact Centre. Information obtained by Simple Flying this week reveals how the airline plans to integrate one part of the company with the other.
Qatar Airways responded to our request for comment, providing the following statement:
“We can confirm that a number of members of our Cabin Crew team have been temporarily seconded to the airline’s Contact Centre operation as Qatar Airways continues to navigate the impact of COVID-19 and provide 24/7 support to our customers throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The reallocation of these Crew members will not only sustain the continued employment of on-board staff who have seen a reduction in operational hours in recent months, but will also support the airline’s commitment to providing a world-class customer experience, both on the ground and in the air.”
‘Offering customers the best experience’
A correspondence obtained by Simple Flying shows how Qatar Airways is welcoming its Cabin Services team to join the efforts of its Contact Centre. An email correspondence to a member of Cabin Services includes the following statement:
“As the company continues to navigate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, the demands of our customer and our obligation to the Customer Experience has not waivered both on the ground and in the air…With that in mind, the added support from Cabin Services will allow us to continue offering our customers the best experience during these challenging times.”
A three-month role
According to the email, the transfer will be temporary and is a term set to last for three months. The training will begin this morning (August 2nd) and run from 07:00 to 15:30 local time.
“While our primary aim is to continuously find new ways to better meet our customers’ needs, our support team will be a part of a whole new experience…”
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The email goes on to note that the Contact Centre is a 24/7 environment in which staff will often be working nine-hour shifts, five days per week (with possible overtime).
Customers will be served via Social Media channels as well as telephone lines while new trainees learn new skills in Reservations and Ticketing. This role will offer “a new perspective” on the side of the customer’s journey, going from booking a ticket all the way to boarding the aircraft.
The email concludes by saying this to the new transfers:
“We know that this new environment will be different from what you are accustomed to, with that in mind, should you require any additional support, trust that we can find a solution together.”
A great idea
While many airlines have simply let go of their cabin crews during this period of reduced travel activity, it looks like Qatar Airways has found a way to keep at least some of them employed and earning a paycheque.
Not only does it provide a livelihood for out-of-work cabin crew, but it also gives these workers an additional set of skills and broadens their view of the company and the entire customer service process.
What do you think of this Qatar Airways initiative? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.