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    Your questions answered about customer service and payments

    Rebuilding customer service—and how you can help reduce delays in payments.
    By Airbnb on Sep 4, 2020
    17 min video
    Updated Nov 13, 2020


    • Airbnb’s Global Head of Hosting Catherine Powell and Global Head of Operations Tara Bunch discuss bringing on more customer service staff to handle your issues more quickly

    • They also explain our payment process and share ways that you can help reduce delays

    As we rebuild Airbnb’s business together, we’ve held some constructive workshops that have connected us with the real issues that many hosts are facing every day.

    Beyond these host workshops and listening sessions, we’ve been reading your comments and feedback—what’s clear is that you want transparency and action on a number of issues that matter to you. These include concerns about the level of our customer service and the challenges some of you have faced recently with payments from Airbnb.

    In our latest Host Update with Global Head of Hosting Catherine Powell, our new Global Head of Operations Tara Bunch dropped in to share more about how we’re strengthening our customer service team and why there may be some payment delays. Here’s what you should know:

    Why we’re bringing on more customer service staff

    The past few months have been a tough time for hosts, guests, and our teams at Airbnb. When the pandemic hit our business, we had to reduce the size of our customer service team by 50%. For safety reasons, our support team shifted to working from home—and then bookings came back much faster than we expected.

    More bookings and higher cancellation rates due to all the changing travel restrictions led to more questions than we could handle. Since joining the team, Tara has been focused on creating a stronger support system. This includes:

    • Working toward our goal of up to 8,000 customer service staff by early November—we’ve been adding about 200 support staff per week
    • Restoring priority phone support for Superhosts
    • Giving priority phone support to hosts and guests with bookings within 72 hours
    • Prioritizing urgent issues and emergencies
    • Aiming to handle most phone calls in under two minutes by the end of September

    Why there may be some payment delays

    We’ve heard from some hosts who have had delayed payments from Airbnb, and we want to be clear that there are no community-wide delays in payments.

    We did have a small technical issue in July that affected some hosts for a few days. We identified the problem and quickly resolved it, but we know a delay of even a day or two is too much. We’ve put additional monitoring in place so in the future, we can try to identify issues before they happen.

    But if you’ve experienced a delay in getting paid, we know that can be frustrating—and stressful. Here are a few examples of why Airbnb may need to delay some payments:

    • To minimize fraud and ensure compliance with laws and regulations, we need to verify hosts’ identities before certain payments go out
    • If you’re a new host, we need to be sure you are who you say you are before we make your first payment
    • We also make another verification after payments reach a certain threshold. Since people are booking longer stays on average, many hosts are hitting this threshold more quickly than usual.

    In these cases, we may send you a message to verify your account details and information, which can delay your payment. If you get a message like this from us, you’ll need to log into your account and verify some information before we can issue payment.

    Be sure to check your dashboard or the junk folder of your email account if you haven’t heard from us and you’re experiencing a delayed payment. You can also check out our Help Center to learn when you can expect your payout and where to find your payout information.

    We understand that it’s especially difficult when you have questions and you may not be able to reach our customer service team right away. We’re working hard to get our level of support back to where it needs to be.

    We’ll be back soon with another Host Update with Catherine covering the topics that matter to you. In the meantime, please keep sharing your thoughts with us on the Community Center—you can tag Catherine directly: @Catherine-Powell. Thank you for being such an important part of our community. 

    Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.

    Sep 4, 2020
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