Let’s Talk about the DVC Member Services Hotline
Like all other Disney Vacation Club members, I received an email on April 13th.
It came with this headline: “Member Update: Save Time With Online Planning Tools.”
That’s a strange statement, kind of like emailing someone that the best way to search for information is via Google. Of course, the email contained more information that clarified intent.
Let’s talk about the DVC Hotline and why members are complaining.
What Is Happening with the DVC Hotline?
The member hotline, aka Member Services, is the phone support system that has been in place for a long time. When DVC owners call 800-800-9800, they speak with a cast member who assists them in a myriad of needs. Whether you want to book a reservation, modify an existing one, ask about how Holding Accounts work, or the like, the DVC Hotline will help.
Alas, a problem has arisen during the pandemic. You may recall that Disney laid off approximately 32,000 cast members in calendar 2020. Yes, that’s a shocking number and indicates that many DVC workers lost their jobs, which is heartbreaking. The Walt Disney Company was as damaged by the pandemic as anyone, as their core businesses involve tourism, the movie industry, and television advertising. Those industries are among the ones that suffered the most in 2020. As such, Disney couldn’t afford its employees and has remained short on cash.
Simultaneously, DVC members have experienced unexpected circumstances with their points allotments. With the parks and resorts closed for an extended period, people couldn’t spend their points and wound up with a surplus.
These owners understandably want to speak with Disney about their problems…and I’m barely scratching the surface of customer concerns.
So, the DVC Hotline faces a fundamental problem with supply and demand. Members demand more cast member contacts, but the workers are in short supply. Gridlock has taken hold, as the current DVC staff faces overwhelming call volume each day. You’ve likely noticed that members have vented across social media about their frustrations in reaching a human on the hotline.
Simply put, the system isn’t equipped for such demand. Aggravated owners suggest that they encounter repeated busy signals and prolonged wait times if/when they get their call answered.
What Has Disney Said?
This week, Disney took the extraordinary step of reminding guests to use the online tool. First, the company acknowledged the problem, though.
“Our goal is always to provide our Members with the highest quality customer experience, including during that essential planning and booking process.”
Later, DVC delivered a full-throated apology:
“Please know that we are working diligently to remedy this issue and recognize that we need to do better. We want to assure you that we are taking the necessary steps to help reduce call wait times, including hiring more Cast Members and investing in new phone systems that will enhance our customer service levels.”
That last part should get your attention, as you know that America is nearing a tipping point in the pandemic.
The worst appears to be over – knock on wood! – and that knowledge alleviates Disney’s financial woes. They’re apparently ready to hire again.
Even so, the company sent this email in hopes of persuading members to avoid the DVC Hotline as much as possible.
A Quick Fix to the Current Problem
Disney would rather you visit Disney Vacation Club online and take care of your own needs there. It’s a reasonable request, at least in theory.
Unfortunately, most members already use this service and only call the DVC Hotline when they have a need that the online tool doesn’t address.
While Disney has made strides recently to improve the online system, it’s nowhere near as robust as members would like.
The email does point out something you may not realize, though.
“The website even offers online chats during Member Services operating hours with Cast Members who can update guest lists, cancel Disney Vacation Club or Walt Disney World Disney Collection reservations, deactivate waitlists, remove nights from Disney Vacation Club Resort reservations, review and bank points, request Disney’s Magical Express service (for Walt Disney World stays in 2021) and answer general questions.”
Yes, if you’re not aware, you don’t have to hit redial on your phone for hours on end. You can log into your DVC account and request an online chat instead.
Many members report that this option isn’t any better due to prolonged wait times.
However, it’s less aggravating than holding your phone for hours on end.
I recognize that the solution isn’t ideal, but I’d still recommend online chat during its operating hours. Disney lists those as:
- Monday to Friday
- 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Eastern Time
- Saturday and Sunday
- 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Eastern Time
This option’s the best Disney can do until it hires new/returning staff and finishes training/re-training them.
Nobody knows the timeframe for when this will happen. Until then, we’re all kinda stuck.