July 12, 2012

A Day in the Life: Customer Support

Welcome to A Day in the Life, where we take you behind the scenes at JetBlue to learn more about the important jobs that work in concert together to run a major airline. This time, we visit with Kristi on our Customer Support team, who has one of the most flexible jobs at JetBlue.

Kristi has the shortest commute of any other workgroup. She sometimes wakes up at 7:45 a.m., brushes her teeth, grabs a cup of joe, and walks into her home office to start her shift at 8 a.m. She slips her headset on, which is hooked up to a phone and a computer, and begins her day as a Customer Support crewmember, taking calls from customers looking to book flights, get answers to JetBlue travel questions, and more.

Kristi is the voice on the other end of the phone. She is one of our 2,100 Customer Support crewmembers in the Salt Lake City, Utah area, 1,800 of whom work from home. The work-from-home model, created during JetBlue’s earliest days as a company, works well for those who seek flexible schedules and the comfort of working from home, and allows us to ramp up or down quickly depending on operational needs. The versatility also allows crewmembers to trade shifts with one another to work around their personal lives, like taking the kids to soccer practice, or for a doctor’s appointment. The demographics of our Customer Support team are diverse and include stay-at-home parents, retirees, college students, and everything in between.

Kristi joined JetBlue nearly seven years ago after a friend recommended the position for its flexible work arrangement and good company ethos. Kristi left her job as a secretary in order to spend more time with her young kids, who are now 13 and 15, but she still wanted to earn an income. “Flexibility is what attracted me,” Kristi relays. “My kids walk home from school and I’m there. They’re not going to daycare – they’re with me.” Kristi’s flexible work arrangement allows her time to volunteer in numerous community activities, including the president of the PTA, and the official football and lacrosse mom for her kids’ sports.

Kristi’s home office, though, is off-limits to the kids. “I don’t want background noise when I’m taking calls and they know that.” Kristi enjoys having a separate space for work while still at home.  The only family member allowed in her office is Fonzie, her mini dachshund, who lays by her feet while she works. Another benefit to working from home is that Kristi gets to set the dress code. She can work in her pajamas if she wants, but usually wears yoga shirts and sweatpants just to be comfortable. “It’s nice not to have to get dressed up to go anywhere,” she says.

Working from home means Kristi can be most comfortable when she’s on the phone with customers. “I love talking to a variety of people. I’m more myself when I’m here at my house.” On her eight-hour shift, Kristi gets a lunch break and two additional short breaks. If she needs to leave her desk for any other reason, she reaches out to her supervisors to let them know and is always met with understanding. She has a good work ethic and believes in being honest about her time because, “my time is the company’s time, and I don’t want to waste it.” She and our other 1,800 Customer Support crewmembers that work remotely are in close touch with their supervisors throughout their shifts to report on anything that should be relayed to the rest of the team and to escalate calls when needed.

The Customer Support team out in Salt Lake City volunteering, one of their many outings

Kristi estimates that she talks to anywhere from 50-80 customers each day. The time spent on each call varies, with some as quick as less than one minute and others extending to more than an hour. She spent 55 minutes this week with an older gentleman who didn’t know how to book his tickets on jetblue.com. Kristi pulled up the same screen that he had on his computer and walked him through each step in the process until he had completed his booking. “It’s rewarding when a customer figures it out and says, ‘I see what I’m doing wrong,’ or ‘Thank you for staying on the phone for so long.’

“To me, that’s customer service; taking the time to work with each customer for as long as he or she needs the first time so we deliver a good first impression. We can then continue to build on the experience with excellent customer service at the airport, on the aircraft, and beyond.”

The calls Kristi handles on a day-to-day basis vary greatly. Most of the calls that come in are customers looking to book flights, but she also gets a lot of questions. The top ones are usually about checked luggage (first bag flies free on JetBlue!), traveling with pets or booking unaccompanied children. Kristi loves that she can relate to many of the customers personally, having traveled with her kids and with her mini dachshund.

One of Kristi’s favorite calls? A big celebrity called JetBlue and reached Kristi wanting to reserve the entire plane but not wanting to pay for it. Kristi politely relayed that she’d be happy to book as many seats as possible for the requested flight, but that the customer had to pay for them, just like the rest of our customers.

It’s not all fun and games, of course. Weather events mean a high volume of calls from customers who are not having the best travel experience and are looking for answers, assistance, and sometimes just an outlet to vent. “I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned from this job is patience. It transfers out to my home life too.” Kristi considers herself a people pleaser and tries to accommodate customers with helpful information and a friendly tone.

When asked if Kristi ever gets lonely working from home, she says, “I never get lonely. I like being in my own atmosphere. Sometimes it would be nice to interact with other people, but we have team meetings and parties that allow us to connect with others.”

Check out the previous editions of A Day In The Life and meet Rick, an Executive Coordinator for our CEO, Chris, Lashonne and Jaclyn from  Brand Design Jeff and Greg from Schedule Planning, Loretta in Security, Chris in InflightMorgan in Social Media, Don in Air Traffic System Control, and Mike in Ground Operations, and stay tuned for the next edition!

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12 Comments on “A Day in the Life: Customer Support”

  • Posted by Manfred Richard on July 12, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I need a flexible job like that !

  • Posted by Janey on July 12, 2012 at 10:27 am

    How do you get a customer service position at jetblue? I’ve wanted to work at the company for some time now but can never see any open positions.

  • Posted by JetBlue on July 12, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Thanks for your interest Janey! You can check the Work Here section on jetblue.com (http://www.jetblue.com/work-here/?intcmp=ft_workhere) for open positions.

  • Posted by BlueTales » JetBlue » A Day in the Life: Customer Support « Customer Service Max on July 13, 2012 at 12:01 am

    [...] reading here: BlueTales » JetBlue » A Day in the Life: Customer Support Comments [...]

  • Posted by Michelle on July 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I love my job with Jetblue its amazing how flexible it is and what great people we work with who are always willing to help with your shift or trade you should you need it! I love my Jetblue job and I do it part time and also have a full time day job!

  • Posted by Mandy Tribuce on July 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Hi, I am very upset with customer service and their reluctant to try and help me in my situation. My fiancee and I have TB points and wanted to use it for a trip to San Juan PR. When I tried to book our flights one got booked but the other didn’t because at half of a minute it said that the points wasn’t enough. Apparently there were only one seat but it didn’t specified on the flight option page. I called customer service and the young lady I spoke to refunded me my points and the taxes on my card and said to me to try later on the night. I did try later on but was unsuccessful the same thing happened. The problem is in the process of booking I got a call from a friend with bad news saying my nephew just got killed. Shock and unstabled I left jetblue sight to attend to my sister. For the past 36hrs it’s been extreme sadness for my family and I. I called jetblue tonight and ask for them to cancel the flight and the customer rep (Krista i.d# 81292) wasn’t nice at all. I expained to her my situation and in turn she throw in my face that when I booked my hotel I knew the term and condition so in other words I should know Jetblue terms. Now I have to py $100 to cancel and get my points back. No exception cannot be made is their excuse. I know that’s a lie I work in customer service for a bank and I know that eceptions can always be made. I would never fly with jetblue again. I fly with jetblue with vacation packages atleast 3 times a year and it’s so unfortunate no one can help me.

    Mandy Tribuce

  • Posted by Ross Hernandez on July 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Having a flexible job is really a once in a blue moon opportunity. I hope That I can also get a job that will not eat up all of my time on a daily basis. So I can still do some productive activities during my spare of time.

  • Posted by Mandy Tribuce on July 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Just wanted to give an update on my trip. Thanks to Kristine first she was really trying to help me out but my cell died after speaking to jetblue customer care for about 1 1/2 hrs and being transfered so many times and placed on hold. I called back and got Michelle who listened sympatized tried to help and transfered me to Suzie in true blue dept where she saw my attemp to purchase my tickets and the problem that occured. She was able to book my flight for the same amount of points on the same flight with my fiance and I am so happy. These ladies really show how much true customer service means to them. I really appreciate their effort and help. They are the only ones throughout my 2+ hrs on the phone of being transfered back and forth said sorry for my loss and for that I would always be thankful. Because of them I will continue to keep jetblue as my #1 airline. God works in great ways and I didn’t give up. Thank you Christine, Michelle and Suzie.

  • Posted by Brandy Cho on July 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

    You forget also that when you book a ticket they charge you $15 per ticket to talk to a customer service agent.

  • Posted by » Is Telecommuting Right for Your Business? on October 3, 2012 at 12:11 am

    [...] where 1,800 of its 2,100 Customer Support crewmembers work from their Salt Lake City-based homes (read more here). The work-from-home model, created during JetBlue’s earliest days as a company, works well for [...]

  • Posted by Sharon Smith on January 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Sharon Smith
    Are there in openings? I am looking for employment

  • Posted by JetBlue on January 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Sharon,

    Check out the “Work here” section on jetblue.com

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