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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Quality of Executive Club call centre

  • ross 44 posts

    I have been unable to get through to the UK Executive Club Call centre, wait times and it only being open during working hours means that it frequently tells me they are too busy and cuts me off.

    I’ve had more luck with the USA, but the experience and knowledge of the people I have been speaking to is nothing short of atrocious.

    To add a leg on an Avios 2-4-1 took 40mins, AFTER I got through, the amount I’ve been charged is also entirely wrong.

    Trying to get one on my legs of an AVIOS booking upgraded from WTP to CW it was as if I was asking for instructions if how to build a flux capacitor.

    They also frequently ask to pksve you on hold for 3-4mins that turns into 10-15mins, and each time ive called they do that at least twice.

    It didn’t used to be this bad.

    What happened?

    QwertyKnowsBest 299 posts

    What happened?

    Covid hangover as with many other things.

    ross 44 posts

    Didn’t realise computers had slowed down as a result of covid 😉

    Is there any other way I can get someone to review the overpayment I’ve made, other than wasting 2 hours of my life and being asked the same question

    JDB 4,163 posts

    @ross the time taken to get through and the quality of the call handlers seems fairly random, but has been like that for a while. There are a fair number of jobsworths who are both unhelpful and incompetent and others who are charming, knowledgeable and helpful. The staff are hugely constrained by rules – they have none of the discretion they had a few years ago. The whole Avios process is ridiculously manual (particularly the two actions you needed) which makes it often very slow and prone to miscalculations. It’s not ideal, but there’s little prospect of it improving.

    NorthernLass 6,748 posts

    It’s much easier just to book the return leg online, if you have enough avios, then request 50% back via chat or Twitter. It can take a while but is generally better for one’s blood pressure.

    Hbommie 173 posts

    Definitely my least preferred option of communication in recent times, which is a shame really as the ladies at the Newcastle call centre were always extremely helpful and pleasant. The drop in quality has led me to use chat much more.

    dougzz99 614 posts

    An airline like BA is enormously complicated businesses. Removal of option to change things by the agent has made things worse. Combine that with great complexity around Avios, fees, fare rules, and many other things, linked with bits and pieces IT, interaction with other OW airline systems and JBV partners make for something few really understand. Then pay the agents very little so retention is poor, in a role that requires a lot of training and support, and you have a poor customer experience.

    memesweeper 1,182 posts

    I think there is a huge training issue. I called this morning to make a “same day change” on a ticket that i’m fairly sure was already fully flex.

    20 mins to get answered.

    25 mins of actual processing followed almost all on hold as the agent “spoke to support” about my booking. She clearly didnt know what a SDC was when I called up nor how to process one.

    ross 44 posts

    It’s much easier just to book the return leg online, if you have enough avios, then request 50% back via chat or Twitter. It can take a while but is generally better for one’s blood pressure.

    There’s a chat function?

    ross 44 posts

    An airline like BA is enormously complicated businesses. Removal of option to change things by the agent has made things worse. Combine that with great complexity around Avios, fees, fare rules, and many other things, linked with bits and pieces IT, interaction with other OW airline systems and JBV partners make for something few really understand. Then pay the agents very little so retention is poor, in a role that requires a lot of training and support, and you have a poor customer experience.

    Whilst this is all true, the fact it has GOTTEN worse in a relatively short space of time is perplexing. If they changed nothing, they would be doing better. Instead, they’ve made a decent situation poor.
    This also doesn’t fit with BA deciding it was not a race to the bottom.

    PeteM 652 posts

    I’m not sure it’s changed that much for the worse recently? IMHO it’s been fairly diabolical since Covid and getting slowly worse as the good people leave…

    Our only hope is they manage to train the people in Slovakia, South Africa and India decently and they then stick around as the salaries are a tad more competitive.

    Scottpat78 239 posts

    Just to add a couple of positive experiences from me recently, albeit on the Gold line…..

    I called them yesterday to change my return Avios booking MIA to LHR to Club World as availability appeared. Done & dusted in 10 mins – very efficient.

    I also called them early January to bag 4 x Avios club world for Barbados, just before midnight. Seats reserved instantly and then 10 mins on the phone completing the booking.

    Both times done in 1 call and Avios / taxes right first time.

    NorthernLass 6,748 posts

    It’s so variable. I had a good experience on the Silver line recently when I wanted 50% avios refunding on a return leg 241 booking, after going round in circles with someone on Chat who insisted it couldn’t be done. If they could just train (or sack) the staff who can’t grasp how things work, or are just too lazy to carry out any requests, it would be a huge improvement!

    dougzz99 614 posts

    What evidence is there staff are too lazy to carry out a request.

    Hire people on poor pay, don’t bother training them adequately, put them on a system which barely holds up, and then watch as the staff retention dips to zero, but you don’t care as the money flows in via the web.

    Almost all my calls are to solve things that can’t be done online, and seldom if ever things that generate revenue. I call for refunds, to rebook things, and other odd changes. There is simply no incentive for BA to prioritise better call centres.

    NorthernLass 6,748 posts

    Well I’ve had call handlers (and now chat agents) flat out refuse to do things, numerous times, e.g. refund 50%, add domestic legs to long haul bookings, (previously) recalculate taxes when adding inbound legs. All things that could be done via HUACA or Twitter. So if that’s not empirical evidence, I don’t know what is. Are you saying that so many of them just aren’t trained in these customer service issues? It’s not just recently, either, it goes back at least 20 years which is as long as we’ve been BAEC members.

    dougzz99 614 posts

    Perhaps they were not trained in that process, perhaps they were less privileged users and didn’t have access to the necessary parts of the system. Calls are routed through all sorts of rules and overflows, that no matter what number you dialled you can’t be certain who you were speaking to.

    I don’t see any link between what you say and agents too lazy to carry out a task.

    If they refuse to carry out you requirement and the call ends, they just have handle the next call, I don’t see the lazy part. In my experience of call distribution software it’s easy to extract stats of how many calls an agent handles, how many they drop, average call handling time, referrals to supervisors and endless other stats. It’s not hard to find outliers that deliberately drop calls, don’t answer, or set themselves busy to avoid handling another call.

    memesweeper 1,182 posts

    @dougzz99 i’d agree – I’ve not personally come across anyone too lazy or unmotivated to help. Just inadequately trained or provided with inadequate support/documentation.

    NorthernLass 6,748 posts

    How do you actually know that, though? Do they tell you they haven’t been trained in a particular area?

    I wish I’d kept a screen shot of my last chat interaction because it was surreal. At first the agent told me he couldn’t refund the 50% avios because I hadn’t selected the same combination of avios and cash as I had on the outbound. When I pointed out that I actually had, he said that he couldn’t refund the avios because I HAD selected the same combination. Further requests just resulted in the response, “It is not possible to refund the avios.” In the face of this kind of nonsense, I gave up and called the Silver line, whereupon the agent refunded the 50% avios without quibble.
    If I was asked to do something at work, and I didn’t know how to do it, I’d ask someone who did know how to do it, not just try to fob people off and then follow that up by insisting that it’s not possible.

    ross 44 posts

    Please can someone post a link to the Chat function.

    Twitter seems quite limited on topics.

    slidey 267 posts

    BA support is one of the things that puts me off booking with BA now.

    I just dont want to have to play the lottery of will I get put through to an agent that will either just all out lie to me or have no idea what Im talking about (there are some decent ones on there too, but the chance of getting one of them seems to be low)

    Thats assuming you can even get through to someone of course, as it seems much more likely that you wont even be able to join the queue upon calling, or if you do get into the queue it will automatically disconnect after an hour. I’m sure there are other airlines with terrible support, but theyre the worst Ive had to deal with by far.

    Rob
    HfP Staff
    2,170 posts

    Please can someone post a link to the Chat function.

    Twitter seems quite limited on topics.

    UK accounts are not given the choice of chat.

    I called the Gold Line this morning to change a ticket after a SeatSpy alert and it was answered immediately. Some you win …

    kelliea1 89 posts

    I thought I would try Twitter to get BA to add the MAD-LHR leg to my booking. It took almost 24 hours to get a reply and when they did their response was ‘not possible as it’s a reroute’. I would have to cancel whole booking, could lose Avios availability as it’s not permitted for this type of booking. I did mention 241 and that I wanted to book this flight as part of the booking in case I was delayed and could then get out on another flight but still to no avail. Am I doing something wrong here or the BA agent was incorrect? Thank you

    Gavin454 161 posts

    I find it weird how BA agents seem to actively and repeatedly lie to customers when they don’t know how to do something – making up random reasons why something is not possible when they are stuck seems to be part of procedure. It would be a great start if they were trained to admit “I’ve never done this before, I don’t know if it’s possible, let me check”.

    AJA 1,028 posts

    Please can someone post a link to the Chat function.

    Twitter seems quite limited on topics.

    UK accounts are not given the choice of chat

    Yes there is the choice of chat for UK users – I used it 2 weeks ago. Doesn’t work on a mobile phone but on a desktop it’s down on the right hand side of the BAEC home screen.

    It sometimes doesn’t show but I assume that’s because the bot is too busy. When you click on it the bot answers but if you type “Speak to agent” the bot puts you in a wait list and you will speak to a real person.

    johnny_c-l 4 posts

    I had the misfortune to have to call them this morning to unblock my executive club account (chat was not working).

    It took three phone calls and speaking to six people to get the account looked at and each answer/reason was different. I was disconnected once, spoke to South Africa at one point who advised me to call the number I had just dialled. Eventually the third Indian call centre person was able to do something and advised to me to all again in 7 days if it is still not fixed.

    I dread if I would need to call with an urgent flight issue, the lack of operational ability is truely poor.

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