P&O Cruises and Cunard have admitted trade call wait times of up to three-and-a-half hours are “unacceptable”, but have urged agents to help combat the logjams.
Responding to a barrage of criticism on social media forum Travel Gossip, where agents hit out at “frustrating” lengthy delays, the lines argued that many questions could be answered online.
And it revealed it was introducing training modules to help agents navigate its website to find resolutions to more straightforward queries.
One agent, who asked not to be named, said: “The situation is a mess and it has been for a couple of weeks now. Some members of staff have been waiting two hours to get through, but it seems direct customers get through straight away. It’s frustrating.”
Pat Sutton of Independent Travel Experts added: “I called several times over five days to get a name on a booking changed. I’m dreading getting my phone bill.
“I know some agents are asking unnecessary things online, but cruise can be daunting to those who haven’t sold it before.”
Natasha Richardson, director of sales operations for the brands, said supporting agents was her team’s top priority.
She said the top three reasons for agents’ calls were to check cruise availability and flight times and to upgrade cabins, all of which could be resolved online.
She added: “We have identified that 68% of our agent calls are to obtain information, of which 47% can be self-served online. Our focus is to help agents to use CCS.com so they can find the answers online.
“We have reviewed our Ask CCS Q&A tool on CCS.com to make sure that every conceivable query can be answered online and that all the guides are easily accessible.”
John Cooper of Vision Cruise said his business wasn’t affected because his staff used CCS.com for the majority of issues.
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