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Qantas: Closing service desks. Big mistake. Huge!

Qantas: Closing service desks. Big mistake. Huge!

This is a big error by Qantas. Closing its service counters at airports and Qantas Lounges on the basis of COVID-19 cost-cutting means losing another opportunity to create loyalty by personal contact.

If there is one thing we have learned from our life on zoom calls, it’s that digital communications are just not as good as face to face contact for making relationships work.

If you live on aircraft, then the personal touch of a Qantas staff member welcoming you, or sharing the time of day, or sorting out an issue is a godsend. Taking the ‘service’ out of customer service is a big error by Qantas that they will regret.

As some are saying, you might as well travel on Jetstar!

What they are closing

Qantas is closing its service and sales desks at airports. I’m not a big user of these and cross-fingers, I have not needed to use the service to re-arrange flights because of service and other disruptions.

You can kiss goodnight to lost baggage staffed counters too. So when you are in a total panic because your groomsman suit which you need this afternoon has gone astray – there will be no one to soothe you!

What they are not closing

They are retaining people at check-in counters. Thank God! If I have luggage to check, this is where I go. I loathe self check-in, and I also like to encourage employment. It’s the same reason I try to avoid those horrid self checkout stands at supermarkets. I want the service, and I want to keep those people employed.

Horror starts in 2021

Yes, that’s right. The excuse is COVID-19 provoked changes to customer preferences, but the change doesn’t occur until the first half of next year. This is just pure and simple cost and service cutting. Very little to do with COVID!

Job Losses

According to Emeline Gaske, assistant national secretary of the Australian Services Union this will mean about 100 staff will lose their jobs.

What’s a customer to do when service is disrupted?

Well, you might just get handed an iPad to sort it out online yourself. If its too complex for that system to handle it – and these kinds of issues by their very nature are complex – Qantas will have a ‘flying’ team to whip in and deal with service difficulties and faults or ‘time-sensitive flight management and exceptions’ in Qantas speak.

people standing in a large room

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

If you get the impression I think this is a very bad idea, then you are correct. I think Qantas will rue the day it made this decision and I would invite its competitors to step in. It’s unlikely that Virgin will under its new Bain ownership. Maybe Rex can capitalise on this with a major point of difference by bringing something of its country feel and service to their new Capital city flights. Take a leaf out of the CWA playbook by providing some human interaction and a kind word as part of the customer experience.

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