AFFILIATION: Air Canada
Tell us about being a Customer Sales & Service Agent.
My role is to provide expert knowledge about Air Canada’s range of products and services, to listen, to ask questions, and then make appropriate suggestions for various products and services to enhance my customer’s travel plans. I opt to be an experience-maker instead of an order-taker by being friendly, calm, attentive, and proactive.
You serve both consumers and travel professionals; is a different approach needed for each?
A direct customer might need more of my guidance, experience and product knowledge so I take my time with them and make sure I set the right expectations. My approach with a travel agent is a little different because it is more service-driven in that we are their help desk. Travel agent calls are more about asking specific questions on our policies and our fares. We speak the same language, so I can be brief and still offer customer service and satisfaction.
What does the term “uphelp” mean?
"Uphelp" means using my experience, in-depth knowledge of my products, and services to make suggestions that enhance the overall customer travel experience. It means getting to know my customers and treating them like a family member by offering products and services that are relevant to them, and will help make their overall journey smoother and enjoyable.
What is the most common call you get from travel agents?
Questions about our Schedule Change Policy, usually concerning clarification on the re-protection guidelines and steps to ensure they successfully exchange their customer’s ticket without triggering any additional fees to them or their customers. The most common sales call from a travel agent is our seat selection product. They call in to obtain either standard seating or preferred seating for their customer.
When should an agent make the call to the call centre?
A travel agent needs to know they can call us anytime. We understand and respect the fact that they are ambassadors for every airline and might not have absolute knowledge of all Air Canada’s products and procedures. That’s where we come in – we are their Help Desk! We are there to provide assistance and guidance with any concern, issue, question, or transaction they may have no matter how long it may take.
How do you make the experience more memorable for your customers?
First and foremost, I always adopt a smile so I can create a positive and friendly foundation to my call. I make the experience more memorable for my customers by listening to them, asking questions, and making them feel at ease so they can trust me with their travel plans. My airline and customer service experience is a plus for my customers because I can offer my product knowledge expertise and quickly determine which products and/or services are truly beneficial and relevant to their travel plans.
You’ve been called a brand ambassador for Air Canada; how do you do that?
I am a proud brand ambassador for Air Canada because I believe in Air Canada and love working here. I love the fact that we connect Canada to the world. I take pride in and am passionate about my job and the success of my company. Talking to about 60 customers a day can be quite challenging, and with each call, I try to engage the customer so I can then enhance their travel experience with us.
Is there something about the call centre that we don’t know but should?
We are the only Canadian airline to offer more languages than just English and French. We now proudly offer assistance in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and Korean to our customers calling from Canada and the U.S.
Maria (Terri) was chosen by Air Canada to be profiled in CT Magazine. Why?
"Maria Theresa Femia, also known to her colleagues and friends as Terri, has 28 years of experience in the airline industry. Throughout her 17 years with Air Canada she has held several diverse roles and is currently a customer sales & service agent in our Montreal Contact Centre. In the world of contact centres, one may say that the role of an agent is to take orders over the phone! This is NOT the case with Terri – she has taken this to the next level and can best be described as an “experience maker.” She effectively asks appropriate questions and provides answers in a way that is not pushy and is easy to understand. Terri also excels at sales, being one of only 32 Contact Centre agents to exceed a top target in 2016, and she has already surpassed that goal in 2017. Any organization would be fortunate having someone like Terri to represent them."
- SPIROS TSILIMIDOS, Contact Centres Sales & International Operations Manager, Air Canada
See the full INSPIRE issue here: