Triangle Trip

Tag: ATL

Navigate Delta’s terrible call center like a pro

by on Mar.15, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel, Vacation

There are so many reasons why Delta may be one of the worst US airlines.  Here are some of the most convincing:

  1. ATL
  2. Northworst Airlines merger (2 wrongs make a bigger wrong)
  3. Everyone has status (Just look at a flight and you will qualify)

But at the top of the list is poor customer service administered by agents who are not empowered to make any decisions.  When was the last time you had to call Delta’s customer service line?  Quite likely it was the last time you flew on Delta.  Do you remember waiting somewhere in the ballpark of 40 minutes to talk a person?  You’re not alone.

I re-learned a few nuggets of wisdom recently.  My vacation was canceled by Delta’s automated ticketing service the day of the flight, and was followed by a $250 penalty fee and a requirement that I reuse the remainder of the fare solely towards the same destination.  Naturally, I wanted everything back and wouldn’t settle for less.

First of all, even if you don’t have status, don’t call the generic phone line.  That’s just silly.  Use their catchy 1-800 number (1-800-323-2323) for members, at a minimum and start saying “representative” like a robot.  In my experience, wait times will come down from nearly an hour to 10 minutes.

Second of all, don’t try getting what you want by being pitiful.  Everyone who call’s their call center is a sad story.  It doesn’t matter if you broke your leg and can’t go skiing now; they’re a business and they relish in the fact that they took your money without adding your weight to tare.  Delta screws thousands upon thousands of people each day and they know it – focus on that when you call.  In a cool and professional manner, convince them that they wronged you, even if you have to add a little editorial spin.

Third, if you’re trying to get something you probably don’t deserve, climb the ladder.  Ask to talk to a manger, and then their manager.  This isn’t Bank of America’s call center, their managers are standing right there and there are no policies about scheduling a callback.  If the manager is busy, tell them you’ll wait.  The rep will likely thank you, they dont have to take more calls and can sit in silence for 5 minutes.  If you ever end up talking to someone without a computer in front of them, you just hit oil.  It will take them enormous effort to corroborate every facet of your story, you can just wear them down; there will be no better opportunity.  And if they still can’t do what you’re asking for, either you’re a terrible negotiator or you’re asking for the impossible.

TermD out.

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