Progress update on our recent systems conversion (April 24th Edition)

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Infinite1K, Apr 24, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    Just got this email below.

    Aside from things are not working quite right and we are still working on it, the two new major pieces of info are:

    - Star Alliance Award Booking back online
    - (Yet another) new boarding process in the works


    We continue to work hard to improve your customer experience

    Dear Infinite1K,

    Providing good customer service to you is our top priority. Our systems conversion last month caused inconvenience or problems for a number of our customers, and we apologize for any issues you may have experienced. Your feedback in person, online and by email has been helpful to us in guiding our response and priorities, and we thank you for it.

    We are progressing steadily and have already resolved many of the issues. Some will take longer, and we are working hard to fix them as soon as possible. Today, we want to update you on our progress, and also let you know what's to come.

    Progress in our Contact Centers
    All of our contact center performance measures are steadily improving. On average, we are answering our Premier phone lines in less than a minute, which has been our goal. In addition, we are addressing our queues of customer emails and responding to pending inquiries.

    We recognize there are still peak demand periods when our call wait times are too long. We continue to fix underlying issues and add resources, and are particularly focused on improving your interactions with our MileagePlus Service Center, Groups Desk and Travel Agency help desk.

    Upgrades within 24 hours of departure
    We understand the frustration that some of you have with being unable to request an upgrade within 24 hours of departure. Revising our systems to allow for this functionality is one of our top priority projects. It will take us several months to complete this important project, but we are committed to delivering on this for you.

    Improving Complimentary Premier Upgrade processes
    We have resolved many of the problems with our Complimentary Premier Upgrades system, and continue to refine our upgrade processes in order to be accurate and timely. If your flight is eligible for a Complimentary Premier Upgrade, be assured that we will automatically add you to the upgrade list. Once you have checked in for your flight, you can see where you are on the list by going to mobile.united.com or our mobile app.

    As you view the upgrade list and the available seat map, please keep in mind that the number of open seats on the seat map is not an indication of how many seats are then for sale. In many cases, customers have confirmed reservations on a flight, but have not yet chosen their seat assignment.

    Continuing to improve our upgrade procedures is a top priority. We understand that our members place a very high value on upgrades, and we do our best to accommodate as many people as possible, and in the proper order.

    Star Alliance Upgrade Awards
    Star Alliance® Upgrade Awards are now bookable again on united.com. With the Star Alliance network, our members have seamless travel options that span the globe. With Star Alliance Upgrade Awards, you can explore the world in the comfort of a premium cabin. You'll enjoy priority check-in and lounge access, as well as a more personal level of service on board. Learn more about Star Alliance Upgrade Awards.

    Remember that you can also use united.com to book Saver Awards on nearly every Star Alliance member airline. When you search for an award flight, we automatically include available Star Alliance carriers in the search results.

    Reminder about Mileage Upgrade Award co-pays
    If you request a Mileage Upgrade Award that includes a co-pay, please note that we will collect it at the time you request the award. If you are not successfully upgraded, we will refund the co-pay and recredit your miles for no fee. Learn more.

    Mileage credit, mileage redeposits and refunds
    Our systems conversion increased the amount of time required to credit accounts for flights and partner activity. Right now, flight activity typically requires up to 96 hours for posting, while activity on certain partners may take up to 15 days. Please allow this amount of time for mileage posting before contacting us about missing miles. We are working to reduce the mileage crediting time to 48 hours for United flights.

    Current mileage activity is now crediting accurately in the vast majority of accounts. After our systems conversion, there was a backlog of customer inquiries regarding mileage credits, redeposits and refunds. We added substantial resources and modified our processes to be sure that we respond accurately to everyone. While we're not done yet, we have replied to most customers and are quickly addressing the remaining ones.

    Signing in to united.com
    We receive many customer questions about signing in to united.com. You can log in to our website in multiple ways, just as you always have:

    Account number or email address or username
    ~ AND ~
    PIN or password

    Do you have more than one MileagePlus account?
    If so, you should go online to merge them into one account. By having just one account, all your earning will be in one place, which means you'll get to an award faster. We'll combine your Premier® qualifying activity, lifetime miles balance and account history, too. It's an easy process that takes just a few minutes. Before you start, please make sure that the first and last names match between the accounts. If you have to request a name change, visit united.com first to learn what is required.


    Other key developments are also in the works. We are simplifying and better identifying our boarding groups and boarding sequence to improve your experience at the gate. We will introduce our improved boarding process soon. Plus, we're continually refining and adding to united.com, in advance of a completely redesigned state-of-the-art website coming next year. Visit the United Hub for website details, news about United products, answers to frequently asked questions and periodic updates on a wide range of subjects.

    The bottom line is that we've heard you clearly. Our entire company is focused on delivering the travel experience that you expect from us. This is our number one priority, and we'll continue to update you as we progress.

    As always, thank you for flying with United.
     
    mht_flyer and EWR764 like this.
  2. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    Baby steps. At least some functionality that we want has returned and other capabilities are in the pipeline. A new, less hectic boarding process would be great, though I can't envision how it would work out. In theory, the current process is well-organized, but that goes out the window as soon as you add human beings to the equation.

    I think a weekly status update email would be a very effective tool that could help assuage concerns about the company's lack of communication. Things are in such flux that I am sure there is enough reportable news to fill an email once a week, including the technical side (to the extent the information can be made public) that many of us would be interested in.

    My message to United: TELL US! I think a modicum of transparency and greater communication would go a long way toward improving the public's perception of the merger.
     
  3. IMRU

    IMRU Silver Member

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    While I was happy to get this email, and honestly, haven't suffered any of the problems that have actually been systemic, I was a bit disappointed. I'm not a PR person, but a more effective piece for me would have said something like: we're adding X number of people to our call centers; we've increased our training efforts on SHARES etc. The "we feel your pain" tone of the email is a bit 1993.
     
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  4. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Despite the complaints, I suspect that most who were loyal to UA or CO remain loyal and wish to see the new company succeed (at least, that is how I feel, because the merged company offers so many more ways to 'get around', e.g., Latin and South America for MPUA members). Weekly updates and transparency, as you suggest, would convey to the public the sense that the company is trying, thereby alleviating some of the concerns...
     
  5. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    I am a former/reformed PR person and I can tell you that keeping things generic is the right way to go. It may not be what folks want to hear but it's the prudent way to communicate. Saying things like elite phone pick-up times are now averaging less than a minute is a lot more meaningful to people than "we've added 300 people to the call center banks to reduce hold times."

    The other issue is the first part of your post. You stated that you haven't suffered any of direct problems. There's a lot of folks like you out there (or, like me, who have experienced issues, but don't find them to be a big deal) and it's not in the company's best interest to publish a laundry list of glitches that they're working towards fixing as it creates a perception that people should be experiencing problems.

    If you don't see something wrong, and don't perceive there to be something wrong, is there something wrong?
     
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  6. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    This is interesting, my guess is they will have less boarding groups maybe? Go back to something similar to what UA had prior?
     
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  7. Stephen
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    Stephen Gold Member

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    I am honestly to the point of no longer caring about loyalty to any airline or alliance, with the way all the airlines are merging and the alliances are doing things, the ticket prices going up, I am just going to book what works best for me at the time for myself or my business needs.
     
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  8. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    Here's hoping as imho, it's a CF the size of Texas the way it is now.
     
  9. Fredd
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    Fredd Gold Member

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    So I guess I wasn't that far off in viewing it simply as a PR exercise. Maybe it'll impress the masses though. As a 1K Million Mile Flyer I didn't even receive the e-mail, but Mrs. Fredd forwarded hers to me. :p

    IMHO that's the best way to look at it. UA lost my "loyalty" when it changed and removed several of the lifetime benefits it had advertised for pre-merger Million Mile Flyers. At one level it's quite liberating.
     
  10. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Indeed. In fact, this will cause confirmation bias if you do.
     
  11. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I am still having a hard time wrapping my mind around this. Confirming something that is factual can hardly be put in the same category as "confirmation bias." The company has admitted that there have been problems, not before but after there have been multiple reports here and at the "other site" of all kinds of issues...

    Where is the "bias" if the incidents are real?
     
  12. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    You can look at facts in a biased way, that's one of the points of several classes of confirmation bias. I was specifically meaning "biased memory."

    Because it may have been something that was of no significant consequence to a given person. If it was enumerated, though, then the person would then look for it.

    As an example, I don't really care if my miles post immediately so long as they post. If they'd mentioned specifics of posting problems, I'd probably start watching like a hawk.

    You see biased interpretation all the time over on TOBB; the episodes may be real (hard to tell sometimes), but the interpretation isn't.
     
  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    This is called "projection" and it is itself a form of "bias." Just because someone has not experienced something in the way as others have does not make the others' experience less substantive...

    Misinterpretation of the facts does not alter the facts.
     
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  14. Fredd
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    Fredd Gold Member

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    This is an interesting conversation. One of the more valuable aspects of forums such as this and FT is the opportunity to learn if problems we're experiencing are unique or common or somewhere in between.

    It's easy to dismiss a complaint or "data point" as "anecdotal," (sometimes it may be) but there's a certain satisfaction to finding out that statements such as "we've never had that complaint before" or "nobody else has had a problem" aren't always accurate.

    It seems positive that UA will admit to problems for "a number of our customers," but that's hardly a major mea culpa.
     
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  15. benolaa
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    benolaa Gold Member

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    New Boarding process sounds interesting?? I wonder what they will do. I think that it should all be numbered so gate agents simply say 1,2,3 etc no matter what with the exception of announcing uniformed military. In addition the numbering should change based on wide-body / narrow body / express although only the system will know that agents simply need to call numbers.

    I would like to see Wide-body with:

    1) GS/Global First/Uniformed Military
    2) Business Class/1K/Plat
    3) Gold/Star Gold
    4) Silver / Star Silver / Club Credit card
    5) E+ / Explorer Credit Card
    6-? based on the most efficient system of getting the rest on board back to front.

    Narrow-Body:

    1) GS/ Uniformed Military
    2) First Class/1K/Plat
    3) Gold/Star Gold
    4) Silver / Star Silver / Club Credit card
    5) E+ / Explorer Credit Card
    6-?(less numbers as small plane) based on the most efficient system of getting the rest on board back to front.

    Express:

    1) GS/ Uniformed Military
    2) 1K/Plat/Gold/Star Gold
    3) Silver / Star Silver / Club Credit card / E+ / Explorer Credit Card
    4-?(less numbers as even smaller plane) based on the most efficient system of getting the rest on board.
     
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  16. IMRU

    IMRU Silver Member

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    The thing is that this statement isn't accurate: I do see things wrong. I just haven't experienced them. The vague responses sound like waffling to me, and make me think that they don't believe they're a big deal.
     
  17. SFOtoORD

    SFOtoORD Silver Member

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    It's nice to see an increased cadence around customer communications post-3/3. Not perfect, but better.
     
  18. gobluetwo
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    gobluetwo Silver Member

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    Although it might have been a couple fewer groups, I still think you need to somehow differentiate the former 1Ps into separate Plat and Gold boarding groups. It's the fact that they added the intermediate priority access/credit card group that adds yet another level. It'd be tough to take that away, especially given all those explorer card commercials and many people getting the card just for that perk. At most, I can maybe see better training, which I would love, or consolidation of groups, which I would hate.

    As I mentioned above, I don't like consolidation of groups. The further you can segment, imo, the less of a cluster you get at boarding time. Grouping F/1K/Plat on a narrow body is asking for a crush at the gate. I think the process change should be one of communication on the GA side. Better training and better communication to the masses should yield a less stressful boarding process.
     
  19. benolaa
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    benolaa Gold Member

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    If the agents simply went by number and the number was big and bold on everyone's (including GS) boarding pass there would be no training required as all the GA has to do is count! Then they could tweak as they want without ever disrupting the flow as it would simply moving people up or down a number.
     
  20. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The "British Empiricists" (Hume, Locke, Berkeley), who pushed the odd notion that in order for something to exist it must be perceived, would say that under your scenario, there is nothing wrong. But then again, the "Empiricists" ran into trouble with the now familiar argument or one like it: "If a tree falls in the middle of a forest and no one witnesses it, did the event occur?" The "Continental Rationalists" (Descartes, Spinoza), of course, came up with the answer: cogito ergo sum.

    Just a little thought on available evidence would establish that the new UA is not functioning as smoothly as either of its predecessors...that there is something wrong, and that we need to keep the heat on because:

    That is the danger...complacency perpetuating subpar service because they think it is no big deal. The last thing we need at the moment are "apologists"...
     
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  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Then you might have passengers bug the GA to find out why they are now group 6 when on the previous flight they were group 4.
     
  22. redwoman

    redwoman Silver Member

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    I read this latest email and thought that UA was kind of sort of apologizing, and choosing to tackle easy stuff that, while nice to have, isn't the stuff that impacts the ability to successfully travel with the degree of flexibility that I was used to on the old UA, and doesn't address the extra time I have had to spend as well as the nail-biting that occurred with a substantial refund that was very, very delayed.

    I don't like the death by a thousand cuts that seems to be the Continental way of operating, such as a bunch of little nicks being made to the old United routes' catering, the disappearance of small comforts like pillows and a decent blanket, the lumping together of all Elites, the crediting of miles more slowly than what I experienced with United since 1997.

    Those things aren't deal breakers on their own for me, or even taken together. What I really need for UA to resolve is the impact to my time and money. Having to call 5 times over nearly a MONTH, holding for up to 90 minutes at a time, to get >$1000 back for a FF ticket that I had to cancel. Waiting hours or overnight for a booking to ticket (yes, my boss really has done things to me like walk into my office and say, "get on a plane to Appleton, Wisconsin tonight"). These things really do impact my travel, my busy life and my bank account.
     
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  23. flyerlaguna

    flyerlaguna Member

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    Call pick up times may have improved, helped by an infusion of outsourced agents and fewer calls. The improvement may reflect that many have given up calling for the time being.

    In my recent experience, agents are friendlier, but empowerment and problem solving skills still leave much to be desired. Your call is answered, but then you spend a long time on hold listening to a cracked and popping Rhapsody in Blue loop while the problems prompting the call are rarely solved. Among them: *Alliance flights taking a month to post and then posting incorrectly. Your cancelled award redemptions may or not be credited to accounts with no assurance of when, or if that may happen.

    This United seems to be taking their loyal customers and the Mileage Plus program for granted, but there may be wake up call coming.
     
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