Advantage secures better live-chat service for trade

Advantage secures better live-chat service for trade

The Advantage Travel Partnership is claiming a victory for independent agents after persuading Thomas Cook to address problems with its online chat service.

The operator closed its call service just over two months ago, switching to an online chat facility that Advantage said had left members waiting for a response for up to two hours.

Other agents were also experiencing difficulties, venting their frustrations on social media forum Travel Gossip on Facebook.

In April, one wrote: “Losing the will to live. Been on Thomas Cook Live Chat over an hour and just got cut off with no help at all.”

Advantage managing director Julia Lo Bue-Said (pictured) met Thomas Cook UK managing director Salman Syed on May 6 to raise the issue. Within 48 hours, the problem had been resolved.

Lo Bue-Said praised the swift action Cook took. “Our members were saying there was no point trying to sell Thomas Cook,” she said.

“He [Syed] obviously listened, as agents are now waiting for only a couple of minutes. The move has given our members the confidence to start booking Cook again.”

Lo Bue-Said said addressing the Live Chat issue was an example of how the consortium offers more than just commercial terms.

“We go to quite micro levels of every relationship,” she said.

Cook said it had taken several actions to improve response times, including pre-determined responses for common topics.

A spokesman said: “We are pleased our industry partners appreciate our efforts and we would like to reassure them we will continue to look at ways to further enhance the Live Chat function.”

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