Submit Press release  · eTN Team ·  Advertising  ·  eTN Awards  - Worldtourism Events    


Lufthansa: The worst call center in the world?

Jan 11, 2017

Lufthansa should be nominated for the worst call center experience award. In the United States calling Star Alliance Member Lufthansa German Airline reservation is just a phone call away. The US toll-free number 1-800-645-3880 connects you to one of their agents based in South Africa, Canada or Philippines.

This is what actually happened to a potential Lufthansa business class client on January 9.

CLIENT: "I was thinking to book a United Airlines Code Share flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt on the new Lufthansa Airbus A380. Before spending thousands of Dollars, I needed to get clarification on Lufthansa's seat configuration and service. Spending this kind of money should buy a little more than just going from A to B.

You buy an experience.The experience should include the expectation to have access to an experienced agent at any time. I wanted to know more about the seat configuration and service Lufthansa would offer on this long-haul flight to Frankfurt. I wanted to know about the size of the seat, the food, the champagne, the entertainment, the blankets, the pillows, the lounge so I can decide if I wanted to spend my $8000.00 with Lufthansa or another airline. I needed an agent to convince me my investment was worth it."

Agents should be trained to know everything about a premium product, and if they don't, a call center should have special agents ready to take over. Selling one ticket in business or first class means 10 to 20 times the revenue of a coach seat. Repeat business can convert into hundred thousands of additional revenue from just one satisfied customer.

Many airlines have a special department for their Gold, Business or First class passengers - not at Lufthansa. Just in October eTN published this article about Lufthansa "Fraud Business Class."

This is the transcript of a call datedJanuary 9, 2017, 19.00h Hawaii time.

CLIENT called 1-800-645-3880 and selects to talk to an agent.After waiting for 11 minutes the agent answered.

CLIENT ASKED: "I am in the process of making a reservation on United Airlines that includes a codeshare flight on Lufthansa from San Francisco to Frankfurt. I am interested in Business Class. I would like to know more about the seating. In October I was on an intercontinental Lufthansa flight and the business class meant coach seats with a middle seat open. I don't want this experience again. Would you tell me more about the aircraf. I understand you operate this flight on an Airbus 380. Most likely I will be booking for January 16.

AGENT: "What is the flight number?"

CLIENT:" I don't know, but I think you only have one flight a day."

AGENT: "Without a flight number of booking code I cannot help you, I am sorry."

CLIENT: "Why can't you pull up the flight in your computer? Do you have so many daily flights on an Airbus 380 from San Francisco to Frankfurt on January 16? My flight should be leaving San Francisco late in the afternoon because I will be connecting from a United Airlines flight originating in Honolulu."

AGENT: "Sorry, but we never guarantee a specific plane. There may be a change in aircraft at any time, and I cannot tell you if the seats will be coach seat with a middle seat blocked or any other type of seats. You need to go to Seat Guro to find out. As I said, without you giving me the flight number or a booking code I cannot do anything else for you."

CLIENT: "You understand, before I spend $8000.00 for a flight I would really like to know a little bit more what I am buying."

AGENT: "Sir, I told you what I know. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

CLIENT: "Yes, I would very much like for you to pull up the information and respond to me in a more professional way, or connect me to someone else."

AGENT: Have nice day, thank you for calling Lufthansa (SLAM)

The image of the German flag carrier should have been left in German hands - perhaps, or may be not? After all this airline is representing the Federal Republic of Germany, German tourism and the German image overall.

The disturbed cLient called the customer service department for Lufthansa in Frankfurt and talked to a senior agent. The agent was very pleasant and listened to the story in detail. He agreed with the client - but had no solution, excuse or incentive to make good on this. He didn't even want the client's contact information.

Lufthansa recently had enormous problems with strikes, massive flight cancellations, and horrible customer service. One would think the airline should be on an image-building campaign.

Lufthansa: The worst call center in the world?



Premium Partners