Finweek English Edition - - Something Els - BENE­DICT KELLY

HAV­ING TOR­TURED ALL of South Africa’s other lo­cal air­lines, I thought it op­por­tune to turn my at­ten­tion to 1Time, the air­line that prom­ises “More Nice Less Price”. First im­pres­sions were very favourable, as the line was an­swered in about two rings. In fact, I didn’t even have time to start the stop­watch be­fore I was speak­ing to a real live per­son.

Once I’d got over that shock I asked for prices for a flight to Port El­iz­a­beth and back last week­end. The in­for­ma­tion was sup­plied ex­ceed­ingly quickly and, apart from one small slip on the re­turn date, was per­fect. All in all I had ev­ery­thing I needed in a minute or so, prob­a­bly a new record.

If that’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the over­all level of ser­vice at 1Time, then I’m very im­pressed. The agent was well spo­ken and clearly knew what he was do­ing.

There are lessons here for many other call cen­tres, first of which is em­ploy the right peo­ple. The sec­ond is that un­less you re­ally need an in­ter­ac­tive voice re­sponse sys­tem, then don’t use it. All too of­ten com­pa­nies put those sys­tems in place just to keep cus­tomers busy while they wait for an agent to be­come avail­able – and in my book that’s just sneaky.

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