Terrible Decisions: American to Layoff 600 People and Outsource Customer Service

Charlie Mortling

Los Angeles, CA

Last updated on Jan 31, 2024

Posted on Jan 31, 2024

Hey American Airlines, come here buddy let's have a chat. Because what you're about to do is probably one of the most irresponsible and terrible things that you can do right now...

American is about to layoff over 600 customer service workers across their Phoenix and Dallas customer service centers, and instead outsource those jobs overseas. While American is moving most of these jobs they are creating a new department called "Customer Success" that they say "will be dedicated to providing more convenient and elevated support" per Carolyne Truelove, vice president of reservations and service recovery.

According to reports the employees currently working in the customer service department will have the opportunity to apply for this smaller team that will still be split between Phoenix and Dallas, however with the size of the new team many will be offered severance packages.

Terrible Customer Service Already

Photo by Miguel Ángel Sanz

Before this outsourcing I never really had a good experience with American's customer service. I've been hung up on and repeatedly lied to about flight status and generally did not have a good time whenever a problem did come up. Now that customer service is going overseas I think part of the comprehension and compassion of the job will be disappearing to be replaced with drones who only know how to read off of a script and do exactly what is outlines in any sort of training that they will get.

While on some select occasions I had trouble with customer service I was eventually able to get what I needed by appealing to their compassion and underlying understanding of the situation, something that I know will get lost when outsourcing customer service to another country. A lot of understanding and situational awareness won't be there with someone halfway across the world.

Smaller Team, More Work

Photo by Justin Hu

When I hear that American will be creating a smaller team for "Customer Success" that just tells me that only high level elite members will get priority service and everyone else will have to wait in a large queue or have to deal with the outsourced customer service. A smaller team means more work per person and will make each one of their jobs harder and even more busy than they probably already are.

I can only see this going more poorly as an increasing number of calls can't be handled by the outsourced customer service so they are escalated to this new team and we end up where we had been, this smaller team dealing with the same issues they had been dealing with previously. But this time with a smaller team and probably less resources to go around.

Final Thoughts

With a net income last year of just $822 million, compared to over twice that made by Delta and United, I think American is trying to do all they can to increase their revenue outlook. And at this point I think the only way they can do that is to sacrifice customer service and other office-based jobs. While on paper this is going to look great to American, to the consumer like you and me this means less value and care towards the customer. To American I now feel like just a meat bag that has paid money to fly on their cramped jets and am entitled to just the bare minimum.

; ; ; ;

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