In our industry it is imperative to stay fresh and new. With that being said, I read a lot, and I study a lot of information about sales, marketing, branding and specialization. There are many travel professionals who have a generalist business model, and it works for them; however, in my business, we have determined what areas we want to specialize in, and have now truly started the process of directing all of our efforts towards obtaining that specialized business.
Throughout the process of starting our business; setting up our website; and just plain old information gathering, I have worked with many individuals for various services, and I must admit, many have fallen extremely short in the customer service area. I am NOT a technological person. Does that mean I can’t answer my phone or operate a computer? No, I have two Blackberry devices (one for business, and one for personal use), I operate a computer, and I can navigate fairly well in cyberspace, but I am not savvy enough to set-up a website or do HTML coding. And to be honest, all of the other jargon is lost on me. I know many agents have set-up their own websites, but when my business partner and I started on this adventure, we decided that we would hire people to do the things we just simply could not, or did not want to do.
When our journey began, we interviewed many web designers. During that process, we looked at websites we liked, and also asked some of our friends and other business owners for their recommendations. Finally we settled on a company to build our site, and let me tell you, it was not a pretty experience. Don’t get me wrong, we love our website, and can’t wait to continue improving and building on it, but the process we had to endure left a bitter taste in both of our mouths. We worked with several web designers within the company that built our initial website (at least four, I lost count). What was supposed to be a four to six week project, turned in to several months. Once it was completed, we were just happy for it to be done. During 2010, we wanted a few tweaks and changes done to our site, and each time we worked with the designers and it was like pulling teeth – I finally had enough!
I threw in the surrender towel and began asking (again) a few of my trusted friends about their websites and their designers. One of my friends swore by the person who did the updates on her website. She gave me the contact name and information and said, “You will not be disappointed.”
The name of the company is Atomic Cherry, and the web designer is John. Honestly, I cannot come up with enough positive adjectives to describe the experience I had working with him. He was professional, prompt, courteous, and has a quick wit. Regardless of the request I would make, he responded promptly (within the same day), and never made me feel like I was bothering him, even if I had the smallest inquiry. Also, he built a content manager program so I can now go in and make the changes to my website myself. He essentially, “idiot proofed” the site, so I wouldn’t completely erase it, but I could save money by doing minor changes myself, and he was quick to point out that if I ever needed anything, he would be there to assist me – you can’t get any better than that!
Working with John has shown me that while our society, overall, is suffering with less than satisfactory customer service experiences; there are still people out there who have pride in their work, and appreciate having business, and are willing to go that extra mile – with a smile. Thinking about the positive experience I have had working with John, I want to make sure that I am the exception (like John) with my clients, and not what appears to be the rule in lackluster customer service. I am curious if others have experienced good or bad customer service, and if poor experiences have caused you to change the way you handle your own business interactions with your clients?
Chanté Owens is co-owner of Chicks That Trip, and is an independent affiliate of Incentive Connection Travel. Chicks That Trip specializes in group travel, culinary & wine experiences, and major sporting event packages to the UK, France, Italy, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and select Southern Caribbean Islands. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her website at www.chicksthattrip.com and her blog penned under the name, That Chick Té at http://chicksthattrip-lobbybarconfessions.blogspot.com/