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Published on Thursday, January 9, 2020

P&O Cruises slammed by agents over long helpdesk waiting times




P&O Cruises has apologised for long waiting times on its dedicated trade helpdesk after complaints from agents, and has blamed the busy peaks period.

Travel agents have taken to social media to air their frustrations, with one saying she had to wait more than two hours for her call to be answered, while her client got through immediately on the direct consumer line.

Posting on Facebook's Travel Gossip, she said the situation was 'totally unacceptable' and said she'd had to stop the customer booking direct as a result.

Other agents said they were also experiencing problems getting through to the trade number, waiting for more than an hour and still not getting anywhere.

One said she'd tried earlier this week and was told the agent line was closed for the day but that customers were able to call the direct booking line as late as 8pm.

Another said she'd been 'trying to get through for days' just to find out if a certain cabin has a bath

When contacted by TravelMole, P&O vice president sales and marketing Alex Delamere-White said: "In 2018 we introduced a dedicated Travel Agent Helpdesk to provide specialist support for our agent partners. Due to this split, calls from our guests and calls from our agents are answered by different teams. In 2019 the average call was answered in under three minutes.

"We are experiencing exceptionally high demands on our Partnership Helpdesk due to a strong start to the Wave period and so I apologise to any agents who have had to wait longer than usual. We are working hard to improve this and speed up the waiting time.

"In addition there are many training tools and guides available on how agents can service their customers' bookings online. Please visit the knowledge page on shinerewardsclub.com."

One agent, however, said the problems were not just in the busy period.

"They are an absolute nightmare to get through to even when we're not in peaks," said the agent.

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  • Not just the call times!

    The call times are a huge issue but it's also the rudeness and attitude of the staff when they do pick up. I don't need to be asked if I have checked the system, obviously I have and I can't find what I need so I am calling you for help! You should be grateful I'm bothering to hold for so long and not switch selling to RCL or NCL etc. Get your staff some customer service training asap!

    By James Marchant, Friday, January 10, 2020

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