Cory6188
Topic Author
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Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:46 am

This was in a Time article I read a while back, and I was just browsing around and found it online. Apparently, reservation and ticket agents have some of the highest happiness rankings out of a wide variety of occupations. I had always thought of the job as being somewhat thankless -- nobody thanks you when things go well, and you only get yelled at when things get messed up....but apparently, I had the wrong impression. Any comments on this one?

http://www.time.com/time/2007/america_numbers/job.html

That's a link to the online article; if you move your mouse on the chart on the right down from the top, you'll see "Reservation and Ticket Agents" appear as on one of the first several spots.
 
HPAEAA
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:56 am

I believe it, it always had flexibility, and while sometimes thankless, you always had the power to make someone's day... I personally loved it and still miss it...
Why do I fly???
 
Leskova
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:25 am

I loved that time of my life as well - it was a lot of fun; somehow, the idea of constantly sending people halfway around the globe a couple of times a day was quite - for lack of a better word - thrilling; the idea that you're the person that just gave someone the ability to board a plane and fly wherever he/she's going...

I miss it as well, but whenever I feel like it, I simply volunteer to take over a Saturday shift in our ticketing department... or sometimes, when they're low on personnell - holidays, sick-leave, ... - I get asked if I would volunteer.

I wouldn't trade my current job in for it, but I still remember it as one of the most fun times in my working life.
Smile - it confuses people!
 
44k
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:00 am

I'm not surprised, no wonder there is so much seniority in this type of occupation. I've been an AAgent for over a year and I love it. it says a lot when you actually look forward on going to work!

Sure, some days can be really tough, but you get a lot of sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. And most days, its just smooth sailing. I love to work close to planes, I love to interact with high-end business travelers, and those who fly for the first time. And every day is different! It really never gets boring... oh, and did anyone mention the benefits?  Wink
 
nycaross
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:54 pm

I worked at Lufthansa North American Headquarter in East Meadow, NY for 26 years as a "rate agent".
I computed airfares for extensive international itineraries. I always enjoyed going to the office every day.
I am now living in Tucson, AZ with my own business. Yes, I do sometimes miss my old job at LH.
 
WDBRR
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 2:39 am

I enjoyed being a res agent too, used to love going to work.
Had fun while it lasted....no longer in the airline industry.
I think times have changed but glad to have the experience.
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:45 am



Quoting WDBRR (Reply 5):
I enjoyed being a res agent too, used to love going to work.
Had fun while it lasted....no longer in the airline industry.

Simply curious... why then are you no longer doing what you loved to do? Your choice...or otherwise?
 
CanadianNorth
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:21 am



Quoting Leskova (Reply 2):
somehow, the idea of constantly sending people halfway around the globe a couple of times a day was quite - for lack of a better word - thrilling;

Well not quite the same thing, but same idea for several of us in cabin services. There really is a little something "thrilling" in sitting back after a turn and watching another jet load of people taxi out and take off bound for far way places, knowing that you physically got in there and helped make it happen.

Anyhow back to the topic, around here check-in does seem to be one of the happier departments...



CanadianNorth
What could possibly go wrong?
 
ikramerica
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:30 am



Quoting Cory6188 (Thread starter):
nobody thanks you when things go well

most people are calling with questions, or for changes, or for help figuring out how to get from A to B and the agents help, and people are generally friendly. I know I thank them afterward, and so do people I know. Or at the very least, when they ask: "is there anything else I can help you with?" and then follow with "have a nice day" I and others always say "you too" and I usually add thanks.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
VonRichtofen
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:35 am



Quoting Nycaross (Reply 4):
I worked at Lufthansa North American Headquarter in East Meadow, NY for 26 years as a "rate agent".
I computed airfares for extensive international itineraries. I always enjoyed going to the office every day.
I am now living in Tucson, AZ with my own business. Yes, I do sometimes miss my old job at LH.

Sounds like a great job! Did you only deal with complex international itineraries? Were you in contact with the customers or did the reservation agents just give the particulars and you went at it finding the best fare?
 
LO231
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:13 pm

Well, I do it everyday an I enjoy my job very much. It can be a pain, but it can be very rewarding, too.

And staying up to date with the news, helps enjoying it. At slow times, I just look for flights for myself. Just yesterday, I found a BRU-PRG-BRU for 55 EUR taxes incl and guess what: booked, issued and happy!  Smile Although I've been to Prague several times, when you see an offer like this, you just can't stay home, can you?

Only if people knew how difficult it can be sometimes....

Best regards,
LO231
Got both LO 788 frames already, next LO E95 and 734 BRU-WAW-BRU
 
nycaross
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:17 pm

Yes, I had some contact with passengers but I had more contact with travel agents. Generally, passengers and travel agents would speak to reservations agents and I was more "behind the scene". In later years, I also helped out with
pre-paid tickets and ticket by mail.
It was an enjoyable job and there is still a "rate desk" at LH in East Meadow Long Island, however, so much has changed.
LH has moved the reservations staff from Long Island to Peterborough, Ontario.
 
lincoln
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 2:51 pm

And don't forget the edge that res agents have over a gate agent or an agent in a CTO/ATO: The "Drop" key.

If you're in an airport and a customer comes up to you being verbally abusive/agressive you pretty much have to take it. If you're working in a res center, based on the policies I've read, if the customer is verbally abusive you only have to warn them once then you can drop the call.

I know all the times I've called CO, the agents have sounded genuinely plesant and been very effective. I know I always say something like "Thanks for your help; have a nice moring/afternoon/evening/night" -- I've also started to try using the agent's name, i.e.

"Continental Airlines Domestic Reservations, This is Steve"
"Hi Steve, my name is Lincoln King-Cliby, and I need to make a change to an existing reservation. I have the confirmation if you're ready for it"
...

Which has (to me at least) helped to make things that much more plesant (and BTW, "Steve" rocks. Had a kind of convoluted change to a reservation made, confirmed, and reticketed in less time than it took for me to tell him what I wanted to do -- while I was telling him what I wanted to do).

Funny thing is last time I called CO to change a reservation the agent had to put me on hold to call the Rate Desk since she was having some problems making the change. When she came back on the line, "Sorry for the delay -- we have some really grumpy folks at the Rate Desk this morning...but I can confirm you on flight xxxx with no change in fare"

Conversely, NW domestic reservations is just a trainwreck. But that's another thread entirely.

Lincoln
(All of my business travel is booked in Y; when I change a reservation I need to keep it in Y... If I change a reservation on Continental's website it always reprices to whatever the lowest available economy cabin fare which is almost never 'Y' with no way to override it-- hince the need to call Reservations when making a change)
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
ikramerica
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:15 pm



Quoting Lincoln (Reply 12):
I have the confirmation if you're ready for it"

Personally, I actually wait for them to ask, because I don't want to rush them, or have them think I am trying to rush them. I call and say hi and explain what my need will be "I'm booked on a flight but need to change my return date, etc.", and then when they are ready and ask I give them the confirmation number, and things always go smoothly.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:09 pm



Quoting Lincoln (Reply 12):
Conversely, NW domestic reservations is just a trainwreck.

In a proverbial word or two...how so? My experiences with NW res have been consistently positive. Seems that agents have occasionally been "stumped" by what seem to be routine requests although they have always been able to get the help necessary from their trainers or leads in a timely manner. For new res agents of legacy airlines, the learning curve required to handle the endless array of convolution heaped upon them by their employers in an efficient manner is huge -- as in years.
 
nycaross
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:34 pm

When I worked at LH Rate Desk, the reservations agents always called us to see if advance purchase/non refundable fares could be changed. If the passenger gave a hard luck story, we always ok'd the change. The reservations agent would always note in the reservations record that I ok'd the change without a fee. We did this at LH in order to be competitive.
 
lincoln
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Sat Dec 15, 2007 2:50 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 13):
Personally, I actually wait for them to ask, because I don't want to rush them, or have them think I am trying to rush them.

I've started with the "I have the confirmation number..." line because a lot of agents [correctly] make the assumption that the average passenger has no idea what their PNR# is but know what dates and flights they're booked on. Usually, I know the confirmation number (for some reason I have a really easy time remembering those) but don't have the current flight number in front of me, and my last name isn't that easy -- "King-Cliby, Kilo India November Golf Charlie Lima Bravo Yankee", and usually has to be repeated. So I use the "I have the confirmation number" flag as a shortcut for both of us.

Plus, although I'm certainly not trying to rush the agent (and I keep my vocal pacing on the slow side) I know that in most call centers agents are rated, among other criteria, on the number of calls/transactions they complete per hour, so the quicker we get through the call (without unnecessarially rushing) the better it is for both of us.

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 14):
In a proverbial word or two...how so? My experiences with NW res have been consistently positive.

Granted, the last time I had to call NW res, I made it through their maddeing auto attenadant only to be told that my call wasn't important*---click a total of 12 times (standing outside in light rain due to crappy cell reception in the building) before I remembered that since NW is my "home" airline as far as elite status is concerned and I had my elite card with me. I called the elite # -- didn't exactly put me in the best of moods. The agent I got was virtually impossible to understand between accent and background noise, slow as molasses, put me on hold more times than I could remember, didn't understand what I wanted to do; eventually when he did he had to consult with a supervisor to determine if it was possible (The change in question moving the return date on a a full-Y ticket back one day). After telling me that "we think it can be done; there are seats available" it took him another 10 minutes, and a consult with a supervisor only to tell me that becuase the reservation had been "automatically changed" (I think he was referring to the automatic First upgrade) that it was not possible to make any changes to the reservation. I expressed fustration but thanked him for his time... and he still had the nerve to ask if I was "completely satisfied with [my] call today"

After that call -- now dripping wet, I called the office and walked my office manager (not exactly the most technically savvy person I know) through pulling up my reservation on nwa.com, selecting the new flight, and just booking it in the first class cabin to be done with it (total fare difference between 'Y' and 'P' = $8.64). That entire call, for someone who had never seen nwa.com took about 7 minutes.

I guess I must have just had a bad string of luck with NW...or CO had my expectations set unreasonably high; either way, I didn't wind up feeling like I had a positive experience.

* - The exact recording was "[tones][hiss][static] Due to call volume your call can not be answered at this time. [click]" (Well, once, after the auto attendant said they were transferring me to an agent instead of that recording I got "Doo-Dah-Dee The number you have reached has been disconnected. If you feel you have reached this recording in error..."

[Edited 2007-12-14 19:01:05]
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
ikramerica
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Sat Dec 15, 2007 2:54 am



Quoting Lincoln (Reply 16):
I know that in most call centers agents are rated, among other criteria, on the number of calls/transactions they complete per hour

Are they rated that way at CO? because I find them to be very chatty, so if they are rated on transactions per hour, it must not be that important of a metric...  Wink
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
AF340
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:35 am

Pilots are also high up on that list (at 49.1 %). Looks like aviation isn't the unhappy job some make it out to be.



AF340 wave 
 
Cory6188
Topic Author
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Sat Dec 15, 2007 4:31 am



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 17):
Are they rated that way at CO? because I find them to be very chatty, so if they are rated on transactions per hour, it must not be that important of a metric...

I was wondering the same thing. Any time I've called CO reservations, I've never felt particularly rushed...most of the time, they're more than willing to take time to help me with whatever I need. And somehow, I seem to have particularly bad luck with my reservations getting screwed up somehow (crazy schedule changes, messed up mileage awards, etc), and I've spent multiple hour-long conversations on the phone with CO agents, and they don't ever seem to mind (usually, they're apologizing for putting me on hold for so long)...especially given that airline res agents are probably frequently dealing with complex problems and reservations, it doesn't seem particularly fair to judge agents based upon the average length of their calls. What if someone gets unlucky and happens to get a lot of the "problem" phone calls?
 
zruda
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:24 am



Quoting LO231 (Reply 10):

so when are you coming? .)


I must say I love the job as well. Used to work as a check-in/gate agent for two years, now I'm a ticketing agent for CSA. I actually miss the rush hours at gates sometimes being closed all day in the office. But its still the airport office, so I have the opportunity to handle irregularities, which are actually exciting. Plus I'm still meeting loads of ppl of various nations which is very rewarding. A also miss the proximity of the planes as I dont see much of them from the departure terminal but in the other hand, I use them more often now as I got the best benefits there are - the ID tkts .)
there is no coincidence
 
twambassador
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:14 am

I also loved my years as a res agent for TWA. I also worked in customer service, rate desk and training. It was a large office and very diverse group of people. Unfortunately it didn't pay well and there was little to no job security. I had my share of upset customers but most of the time found ways to turn a problem around... which made the job just that more fun and challenging.
Up Up And Away...
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:08 pm



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 13):
Personally, I actually wait for them to ask, because I don't want to rush them, or have them think I am trying to rush them... then when they are ready and ask I give them the confirmation number, and things always go smoothly.



 bigthumbsup  Wish more callers had the same common sense approach; it is a pleasure to help the increasingly rare caller who understands that there is nothing whatsoever to be gained (and lots of time and goodwill to be lost) by thinking they will be served better by going motormouth in multiple directions as soon as their call is answered, only to have to be asked repeat themselves (sans the extraneous drivel they think we must hear).

I cannot begin to estimate accurately the amount of time wasted every day on both sides of calls -- except that it is considerable -- by know-it-all (in their own minds) callers who seem to foolishly (or arrogantly) think themselves more qualified than well-trained, experienced agents to do what they have called (and are ultimately paying) the agent to do for them. In reality, such callers are "accomplishing" nothing more than prolonging their calls by interfering with the agents' ability to get the job done efficiently and correctly. Many calls could be handled correctly in about half the time if callers had the common sense, like Ikramerica, to step back and let the agents do the jobs they are being paid (by the hour) to do and are most capable of doing without "help" from caller who think it necessary to tell agents how to do their jobs.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 17):
Are they rated that way at CO? because I find them to be very chatty, so if they are rated on transactions per hour, it must not be that important of a metric...

Although I cannot speak specifically for CO, I would assume that they are so rated in some ways, as are call center agents at the airline for whom work. For seasoned agents who can handle all functions with speed and accuracy, It isn't really a problem to be "chatty" with callers when "the time is right" or to handle the occasional "long call" (15-20 minutes, sometimes more) because we know well that for every long call, there will be several calls that can be handled properly in no more than 1-3 minutes which, at the end of the day (figuratively and literally) means that quotas (called expectations) are consistently met in spite of some calls becoming "chatty" or prolonged.

Quoting TWAmbassador (Reply 21):
I had my share of upset customers but most of the time found ways to turn a problem around... which made the job just that more fun and challenging.

It has been especially satisfying to take calls where the first words from the caller are "I need to speak to a supervisor" (lead agent) but are never transferred to a lead because... I first ask if there is a record to which the supervisor can refer. I then proceed to ask concerning the nature of the issue about which they are calling "...because the supervisor will want to know the general nature of your call before your call is transferred." If the situation warrants, I will offer "perhaps I can assist you" and, in such situations, more often than not, the caller can have their issue resolved to their satisfaction with no need for me to bend any rules or policies in any way (or devise "creative" interpretations of same) -- and no need transfer them to the supervisor they initially requested.
 
LO231
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:40 pm



Quoting Zruda (Reply 20):


Quoting LO231 (Reply 10):


so when are you coming? .)

15-16th of March, thank you.. On SN this time, couldn't resist the fare, 55 EUR all in  Smile

Regards,
LO231
Got both LO 788 frames already, next LO E95 and 734 BRU-WAW-BRU
 
zruda
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Sun Dec 16, 2007 6:52 am



Quoting LO231 (Reply 23):

You will love our new KFC right in the terminal building .) its terminal 1 tho
there is no coincidence
 
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stasisLAX
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Surve

Sun Dec 16, 2007 8:48 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 16):
Plus, although I'm certainly not trying to rush the agent (and I keep my vocal pacing on the slow side) I know that in most call centers agents are rated, among other criteria, on the number of calls/transactions they complete per hour, so the quicker we get through the call (without unnecessarially rushing) the better it is for both of us.

Yes, it's very true that average number of call handled is an important measurement for call center reps, but it is definitely not the only metric that's important. Accuracy of information provided to the caller is the most important measure (never lie to the caller or withhold information!), along with friendly tone of voice, closely "mirror" the caller's pace, using the caller's name (usually last name unless instructed otherwise by the customer) at least once, professionalism (no slang terms, no blaming other departments in the company, etc.), offer for additional assistance (either by providing the website address or another point of contact), and ending the call with a sincere "thanks for doing business with us". As a call center "suit" over the past 25 years for international firms, I have found one "golden" rule. Allowing service reps (or any other employee) to make the decisions necessary to service the customer is the greatest step toward providing world class customer service with accurate "one call" problem resolution coupled with very close call monitoring and individualized quality feedback.

I have often asked the service reps on my teams what they want most from a servicing aspect - they all want to be empowered to make decisions at the point of call/contact, and not have to get management's approval to do what they think is right. If management will trust the service rep to make solid decisions that fill the customer's needs while still being good stewards of the company's resources, the result is a extremely high level of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. In my opinion, these "happy" service reps will have better job performance, the company will have less employee turnover, and customer will notice that they had a positive experience!

IMHO, CO has the best call center customer service in the airline industry, followed closely by B6.

[Edited 2007-12-16 01:00:51]

[Edited 2007-12-16 01:01:26]
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!" B.Franklin
 
AAgent
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:47 am



Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 14):
For new res agents of legacy airlines, the learning curve required to handle the endless array of convolution heaped upon them by their employers in an efficient manner is huge -- as in years.

Too true! I've been an AAgent going on six years and I still see something totally new to me every week or so. I understand how so many of the newer agents (two years or less) feel a little like the proverbial deer in the headlights with all of the convoluted scenarios that present themself at a ticket counter or gate. It's never boring at the airport. The money is terrible but the job is second to none. I love what I do and unless I get to a point where I can no longer survive on the poverty wages paid, I'll continue to send people off into the wild blue yonder for as long as my fingers can type.

Best regards,
AAgent
War Eagle!
 
WDBRR
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RE: Res & Ticket Agents Top Time's Happiness Survey

Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:47 am



Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 6):
Simply curious... why then are you no longer doing what you loved to do? Your choice...or otherwise?

Several things happened....both airlines I worked for went out of business
and the B scale pay was terrible with very little monetary increases.
It was fun while it lasted, I needed that push to get a job making
much more money anyway.