Are airlines' CX teams flying blind?

My personal CX nightmare and what it can teach you

Illustration of a Nightmare: When your CX teams don't have the tools or the support they need

Since I've started working in Marketing for a Workforce Management company, getting in contact with a company's support has become almost like field research for me. I now understand the internal processes of a customer experience team better. I am part of a company that aims to optimize processes and improve on the quality of this kind of service.

Over the phone, a chat or email, it always gets myself thinking about the service structure and what's behind it, from the technical part to the culture.

My last contact with customer support wasn't any different.

I traveled to Brasil to spend the holidays with my family. When I was about to return to Lisbon, where I currently live, I tested positive for covid 19. As I could not take the flight, I decided to reach out to the support team of the airline I was traveling with to reschedule my flight.

That's when the nightmare really started.

How to not attend your customer

As the story is quite long, I will translate it into numbers: It took me:

  • over 10 hours between calls & chats with the company,
  • 4 days
  • 2 positive covid tests
  • lots of bureaucracies
  • 60.000 more miles

All of this, AND I had to repeat myself every time I was transferred to another agent. And I had to call back myself every time the call dropped, and start from scratch.


Get yourself a good CRM. They are pricey, but priceless. With a good CRM your agents are able to have a 360º view of previous conversations with customers and agents can leave notes for the next ones to read. This means customers don't have to repeat themselves. And a good CRM stores contact details so they could have called back when the call dropped

I thought that after 2 years of the pandemic directly affecting airline companies, they'd be better equipped to deal with this situation. It must be happening hundreds of times a week.

After hours of waiting lines, I was attended by an agent and then transferred to another. And another, and another. My situation was supposed to be simple, but as I was transferred to the "covid" department, they realized I had bought my flight with miles, so my situation should be handled by the miles department.

But as I had missed the flight because of Covid, Miles's department sent me back to the Covid department until the call dropped for no reason, and I had to call them.


I didn't feel heard, and I didn't feel any empathy. I was mentally exhausted. But the CX insider in me got myself thinking about how agents would be treated in a company where customers are treated like this. Not great, I suspect.

Which is quite ironic since both agents and customers are such vital parts of the company's functioning.


Don't underestimate the power of WFM. In this situation, a workforce management solution could look into metrics and reporting to do 2 things:

1. Report on Average Handle Time, Resolution Time, Non-answered calls, Abandoned calls so they can have visibility that customers are not getting their problems solved in a timely manner.

2. Make sure they are properly staffed so customers don't have to go through this experience

What is this problem really about?

I had told my story at least 8 times to different agents before I finally had my flight rescheduled.

Beyond the fact their CX teams are clearly understaffed (which may be related to a cost-cutting plan due to the pandemic scenario), they are also clearly misusing the workforce they have.

If I only had to explain my story once, the other agents would have had more time to focus on other people's calls, which would mean shorter lines, less wasted time, more money saved, and happier agents. More important, perhaps: happier customers and an increase in customer loyalty.



The numbers prove it, too:

  1. 61% of customers would now defect to a competitor after just one bad experience, according to Zendesk's latest CX Trends report.
  2. According to Gladly, 62% of customers will recommend a brand to a friend if they experience "Great Customer Service"
  3. According to Khoros, 83% of consumers cite good customer service as the 3rd most important factor when deciding what to buy.

Because nobody wants the unpredictable to happen.

But when it does, the way a company deals with it and finds a solution can be decisive for building or breaking the relationship of trust with the customer.

About Tymeshift:

We’re Tymeshift, an effortless WFM solution made exclusively for Zendesk to make workforce managers’ lives easier. Our workforce management tools include shift scheduling, forecasting and analytics. A perfectly intuitive Zendesk integration makes your CX teams’ work easier. Learn all there is about us and our product on