Two weeks ago our reader Michael contacted us with a Reader Question about the issue that Air Berlin doesn’t have any English speaking support staff at the Topbonus Service Center.
We then contacted the Air Berlin press office which assured us the issue would be taken care of, but after the same reader reported nothing changed the company now back paddled and said it would take more time.
Air Berlin as an international carrier serves destinations in the United States, Middle East, Asia and of course all over Europe. As such they also offer their frequent flyer program Topbonus to customers worldwide and one would expect the company provides service to this clientele in a variety of languages.
You can access our Reader Question from last month here with further details.
The press officer outlined that Air Berlin has contacted the service provider that is operating the call center for the and they have been assured that no further issues in regards to English support at the Topbonus Call Center would be forthcoming.
I wrote Michael an email to thank him for bringing the matter to our attention and to contact us again if he encounters problems of the same nature again.
Sure enough it wouldn’t take long for this to develop as he contacted us again a few days ago:
This is to follow up on the article regarding airberlin topbonus having no English support. The problem continues to be the case. The number is still German only.
I have also written to the topbonus service-team and their reply has confirmed this:
“… I am very sorry for the inconvenience that this all caused you. Airberlin itself does still have an English line but topbonus does not anymore. Sadly we do not have any other option for you at the moment. All our agent who are able to make a flight reservation should be able to speak English. Please try to call again for specific questions or final booking.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. …”
I forwarded the original email to the Air Berlin Press Officer again, asking for clarification who then replied to me very promptly.
Vielen Dank für Ihre erneute Nachricht. Leider ist die Umstellung aufwändiger als zunächst gedacht. Es müssen verschiedenste Parameter beachtet werden (mehrtägige Programmierung der Telefonanlage, Schichtplanung der Mitarbeiter an der Hotline – um nur 2 Beispiele zu nennen). Wir bitten die aktuelle Einschränkung zu entschuldigen und arbeiten an der schnellstmöglichen Umsetzung.
It was outlined that the service provider ran into issues with setting up English support, including but not limited to reprogramming the phone system, scheduling shifts of capable employees etc.
I inquired further how long this is expected to take and I was told it would be done by years end.
I already expected that there wouldn’t be an immediate fix to the situation, but one has to wonder why Air Berlin didn’t ask the service provider to hire English speaking staff in the first place. This fact alone is weird as it puts international customers who collect miles with Air Berlin into the situation of not being able to manage their account and redeem miles to their full ability.