Perils of the Disloyal CustomerAugust 2nd, 2013 . by Richard Earls
Let’s don’t forget one other important ingredient for customer loyalty. Our study this week indicates customer loyalty develops out of a great service or product and the relationship initiated by the business. The customer who is loyal has an emotional bond with the business. The loyal customer works with the business, giving the travel professional the opportunity to evaluate other offers and opportunities on behalf of the client.
But just as it takes two to tango, it takes two parties to have a relationship, and not every individual will be a loyal customer. Thus, there will be times when the smart travel professional should refuse a particular request. Customer loyalty requires a great service and a business capable of developing a solid relationship. It also requires the right customer.
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Some people simply refuse to enter into a relationship. They view business as a zero-sum game where only they can be a winner. These individuals often have a cynical view of life and only relate to cost, never to value.
Some people cannot be coached, cannot be trained. You don’t want every client you might possibly recruit. Some clients you are better off without because they will never be loyal to you.
Here are a few examples of good reasons for not taking on an assignment.
- The client challenges you to “beat a price” – this is a no-win proposition with no good reason for participating;
- The client asks you to do something unethical.
- The client asks you to do something complicated at the absolute last minute when doing a good job is impossible - a recipe for making their problem your own;
- The client insists that you book a supplier with a dubious reputation because it is ‘cheap”;
- The client is not well-known to you and asks for a trip on short notice paid with questionable funds.
Each of these examples carry warning signals to the experienced travel consultant that problems are about to pay a visit. In these losing situations, it is nearly impossible for the travel consultant to either form a relationship or to perform to their best capacity. You should not be surprised if you lose any of these types of clients to the next “great deal.”
The best advice? Politely turn away the business – life is too short to compound it with problems that can – and should – be avoided.