Clients want to feel important. By being prompt in all of your dealings with clients, by always entertaining them in your presence with a warm and welcome manner, you make them feel special and you stake your claim to their attention. Far too often, though, we allow our perspective to wander off course and clients become intrusions on our day. If you catch yourself thinking of clients as annoyances rather than the primary reason you are in business, it’s time for an attitude adjustment.
Here are a few tips that will let your clients know that they are important to you and that you are giving them their full share of your time: Read the rest of this entry »
Do you remember the Jet Blue episode a couple of years ago where a flight attendant cursed over a loudspeaker and then disembarked from the airplane? People’s reactions to the event, including my own, shifted uneasily as we all tried to accommodate the flight attendant’s acts in our own ethical and professional framework. Following the story, it was easy to feel empathy for both sides. Certainly we have all seen rude passengers and surly flight attendants. Yet, each time I mentally review what actually happened, I feel the same discomfort that I feel when I see signs behind the counter of a store that say “You want it when?” Read the rest of this entry »
Client retention is a big part of marketing, certainly as important as client acquisition. By retaining your existing clients, you stabilize your travel practice, and provide a base onto which you can layer client acquisition and growth. WOW customer service is the way to retain clients, and a big part of great client service is accomplished by educating your clients.
It is highly likely that most of the public you encounter, including your existing clients, do not fully understand what you do as a travel consultant. The consumer, by and large, does not understand the role of a travel agent. This situation is compounded and worsened by bad press and journalism. The public views you as a retailer of travel. In fact, the public mistrusts much marketing and advertising by travel agencies. But there are steps you can take during the actual buying process to cement your relationship with the client through the booking process and beyond. Read the rest of this entry »
I once suggested travel professionals give their clients a subscription to Conde Nast Traveler to help them dream. A reader expressed concern at that tactic. After all, that magazine, and others like it, are filled with opportunities and solicitations to buy travel. Why give your client a magazine that provides so much travel advertising?
Because you don’t sell travel.
Your clients don’t need you to buy travel. They can buy travel anywhere. They can buy travel on the internet, from a supplier direct or from the agency down the street. They will encounter a thousand travel ads between visits with you. That’s a great thing! Suppliers spend money, and lots of it, marketing travel. You want your clients to want to travel. You want them to see as much advertising as possible! Read the rest of this entry »
Customer service. Everybody talks about it, but the fact of the matter is, good customer service can be pretty difficult to find. Think about your day-to-day transactions and how often the companies and businesses with which you deal let you down by failing to deliver even a base-line degree of good customer consideration.
Are you giving good customer service? Here’s the test: how many of your clients i) repeat travel with you more than twice; and ii) refer other people to you? If a high percentage of your clients are both repeat traveling with you and referring others, congratulations! If either of those percentages are looking a bit anemic, however, here’s an infusion of advice. The 365 Guide will be spending this week giving you the five most important customer service rules to put into practice for your travel agency. Follow these simple prescriptions and your repeat business and referrals will begin to climb. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
In the first installments of this week’s study of customer loyalty, we looked at the difference between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Not only are the two different, an emotional relationship with the client was the basis for the difference. But let’s take a couple of steps back now and let’s look at the importance of the customer experience and its connection to the product offered by the business.
Certainly if my products are substandard my business will suffer and no degree of loyalty will make much of a difference for long. In fact, an initial satisfaction with a company’s product is essential for loyalty to develop. While loyalty flowers from relationships with the people of a company, the soil in which it grows is the product and procedures of the business offering. Read the rest of this entry »
This week, TRO’s 365 Guide will be examining the theory of client loyalty. In the context of your travel practice, what does the term “customer loyalty” mean? Does it mean that your customers always travel with you? Does it mean that they always come to you instead of booking online or with a supplier direct or instead of booking with another agency? Are these acts in themselves examples of customer loyalty or are these the result of customer loyalty?
Let me suggest the latter. Let me suggest that we might have the whole thing backwards. Perhaps the concept of customer loyalty has more to do with the travel consultant’s attitude toward the customer than the customer’s attitude toward the travel consultant. In other words, to have great “customer loyalty” Read the rest of this entry »
Marketing has a two-fold function – to acquire new clients and to retain your existing clients. For that reason, smart travel agents put into place a comprehensive client retention plan designed to keep an ongoing conversation with their existing clientele. When economic times get tough, it is your existing client to which you can most easily and cost effectively turn for support. It is commonly known and accepted that it is much more expensive to acquire a new client than to retain an existing one. Existing clients represent the stability of your travel planning business. If your clients are not traveling with you on a repeat basis, chances are you are doing something very wrong. Read the rest of this entry »
Carnival Cruise Lines did a study several years ago indicating 80% of cruisers booked their second cruise with someone other than the travel professional with whom they booked their first. However, the clients must have been satisfied with the cruise experience, because they took a second cruise.
So how to explain this rather startling statistic?
Understanding the title to today’s article is the beginning of a strong customer retention program. Read the rest of this entry »