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My Job: Role of a troubleshooter

The first thing that comes into your mind when you hear ‘call center’ is probably people sitting in front of a computer for eight hours – headset on—talking to customers. When I first heard of the job position as a Customer Service Agent, I thought: “Booking tickets can’t be that difficult, can it?”. One would think “Oh, that must become boring!”. Well, let’s be honest: once I started and was in the thick of it, I realized how challenging this job is.

Working in customer service for an airline is much more than just booking or changing tickets. Each day you face diverse situations. From such simple questions as: “how many kilograms I am allowed to bring in my bag?” to more difficult scenarios: “I am not allowed to board as my visa got declined,” or even worse: “my travel documents got stolen”. You are there as the first contact they look to for help. When I hear their stories, it can feel impossible not to get involved myself and try to find a solution. 

Of course, that is not always possible. Each case is special and each customer is different. And of course, there are certain policies and guidelines which we have to follow. But as long as we are on the other side of the phone rather than robots and machines, we will continue to have feelings of empathy and sympathy and – whenever possible— go extra mile. We see ourselves as troubleshooters – and our customers appreciate that.

Sometimes villain, sometimes superhero
Steve DiGioia compares the role of a Customer Service Agent to that of an actor: unfortunately, we tend to sometimes be villains; but most of the time, we are superheroes. Indeed, I do feel like a villain when I get to the dead end of possible options with nothing suitable to offer the customer. No matter how much you try to understand their point of view, there are still cases where you have to answer “No” and play the role of the villain.

But most of the time you are the troubleshooter who is there to fix issues when the online system fails. “I can’t change my ticket online. Can you please help?”; “I can’t add the extra baggage online. Can you add it for me?”; “My check-in is not working. Is there something you can do for me?”. Since you face them every day these are not big issues for you to fix, but on the other side, for the customers, it is a big relief once the problem is solved. And there are actually many scenarios when you are able to go above and beyond, and then you feel like a superhero. One example I heard from my colleague Anna some time ago:

 “A customer called because her ticket had been cancelled due to a system error of the travel agency. I could not offer any solution. Once you buy a ticket from a third party, you have a contract to contact them for any issue. The airline – in this case us - can assist only for services, like bags, seats, check-in, meals or something similar. Anything related to the ticket itself should be dealt by the travel agency. The issue was that the flight was now fully booked. The passenger had been in contact several times with the travel agency without a solution. With no other options left, I decided to contact them myself and follow up the case, until I made sure they offered her an alternative flight on the same day with a different airline. At the end I received a big thank you and a compliment in a written form from the passenger.” 

This is really one of those cases when— even if it is not your responsibility —you can put yourself in the customer’s shoes and go the extra mile. You are their superhero and you feel just as satisfied as the customers.

My daily dose of endorphins: Direct feedback
The most beautiful response is the feedback you receive on the phone at the end of the call, even if it was just for a little thing. That is what makes me happy every day: “You know I love you right? After talking to three other people you are the only one who solved my problem”; “You are a superstar”; “People like you are what keeps me coming back to British Airways”; or “I have never been this satisfied with customer service”. All of these phrases of appreciation not only make your day, but they stay in your mind for long time as a triumph and trophy of what you have worked for. It feels not just like a professional achievement, but a personal one. It makes you realize that what you are doing is right and important.

At this job, knowledge is not the only thing you need in order to do it right. Most of the time your interpersonal and communication skills are much more important. Every day you learn something new. You experience professional and personal development by dealing with different cases and personalities. And trust me, it never becomes boring; each day is a sweet new challenge. You never know what to expect when you answer a call, but experience makes you confident enough to deal with any case. I will become the superhero again and find the best possible solution.

Profile

Position at FLYLINE: 
Customer Service Agent 

Studies:
European Studies & Business Management

At Flyline, because …
…as travel enthusiast she can connect hobby with her job.

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