Margaret Matthews

Travel Consultant

I work in the Takapuna Contact Centre – it is a 24 hour centre and I am one of the Late Team Leaders which means I work afternoons and evenings (so never have to wake with an alarm and I have my mornings free to do as I please).

Depending on the time of day, my team take calls from North America and the UK as well as NZ and Australia and sometimes everywhere in between. We are a sales and service centre booking and changing flights but also accommodation and rental cars.

If you like to travel this job is great as you get to travel vicariously helping your caller to plan their trip of a lifetime, a work trip or maybe a trip down the line.

Where did your journey start?

I started with Air New Zealand seven years ago as a consultant in the Contact Centre. Previously I had worked 25 years in IT and decided that was enough. My biggest love was travel so while I finished off IT contracts, I decided on a whim to work part-time in the Auckland Map Centre which was around the corner from where I lived. I got the bug, deciding that talking to people about their travel plans was much better than sitting in front of a computer in a back room on my own.  From there I moved on to an 18 month stint as a consultant at the NZ Visitor Information Centre at Auckland’s Viaduct before starting with Air New Zealand.

Where’s your journey taken you so far within Air New Zealand?

I have spent all 7 years within the Contact Centre working first of all as a Consultant progressing to an Acting Team Leader and, 2 ½ years ago, a Team Leader. While I have been working I have also been studying finally achieving a personal goal of graduating with a BA in English and French.  Currently I have a team of 15 consultants. I am also assisting in the development of Acting Team leaders and am about to become an ATTTO Assessor. 

Where do you hope your journey will take you?

Working in the Contact Centre is constantly working with change so who knows?

I love working here and would be happy to finish my working career here.

What Air New Zealand value do you feel you best represent and why?

At the Contact Centre we embrace all of the company values in all of our dealings with customers and each other.

It is “Be Yourself” as we “Welcome as a Friend” all of our callers. “We share our NZ” (and the rest of the world) promoting destinations whenever we can. It is “Can Do” all the time as we find the best options to suit our customers’ individual needs.

As a Team Leader it is mainly “Can Do” helping consultants find a solution either in finding a fare, helping resolve a system error and of course helping in their development. It is also “Can Do” when calls get escalated and having to find a win-win solution directly with the customer.

What’s the best story you’ve been able to tell after a day at work?

My goodness there are many!

The classic ‘where do we find the bridge to drive across to Australia’ pops up now again from our geographically challenged American callers! But one escalated call comes to mind just after we had a policy change regarding unaccompanied minor’s (UMNR’s). An English grandmother was understandably upset when unfortunately one of our consultants made a mistake making a booking for her 14 yr old granddaughter as a UMNR from London. Before the change we could accept UMNR anywhere on our network but with the change we were no longer able to accept them on more than 1 long haul sector.

This caused a problem for the adolescent transiting in Los Angeles as she would not be assisted and taken to a safe private room. Ensuring assistance from the concierges on both the LON-LAX sector and LAX-AKL sectors I was able to placate and reassure the grandmother in the UK and the mother in the Hawkes Bay with frequent phone calls and emails. As it was my day off and for my peace of mind (being a grandmother myself) I met the young lady off her flight in AKL and took her across to the domestic terminal waiting there until she took off. It was very satisfying to hear that she had been treated like a princess all the way.

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