Go away, I’m not interested | TravelResearchOnline

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Go away, I’m not interested

You read the title, why are you still reading. Go away! Really! I have everything I need right now, I don’t need you. Click the little red “X” in the upper right corner or the “back” button on your browser. Go someplace else!

That sounds kind of rude doesn’t it? It certainly isn’t something you would say to a client who might be considering booking a trip with you. Or is it?

I have to believe that none of us would be so brazen as to voice those sentiments directly to a client, but what about indirectly? Recently, I received two auto-replies to emails I had sent. Here’s the first one.

In order to better serve you, we ask to please allow 48 hours for an agent to respond to your request.  Thank you.

Not horrible. But a long way from good. First of all, email is immediate. Auto-responders are to be used when you are away from the office, not for every piece of email you receive. And exactly how does it better serve me that you are taking two days to respond to a question I have right now? A better solution, if you need to operate this way, is to let the sender know that you are acknowledging the email and give them some options on how to do business with you now! (Stay tuned for a Mike Marchev column about “now”)

And now for the second auto-responder.

I will be unable to read e-mails from Dec 4th until Dec 27th. Please hold off with any messages until then.

There is not much to say here. You are out of the office for a month and want me to hold off on sending you a message? This message tells me that you don’t care enough about my business to even offer an option to do business with you. Nothing about a backup travel professional covering for you. Nothing about calling a cell phone or an after-hours service. If memory serves me right, the Northeast had a blizzard right after Christmas. I wonder how this agent handled that on December 28th.

Folks, we are in the service business. For years, we have talked about being our own brand. Selling ourselves and not travel products. We need to be keenly aware of our brand message in all venues. Technology has enabled our brand is everywhere today—Facebook (the reason to separate personal and business), Twitter, blogs, forums, email, newsletters, brochures, websites, and even old fashioned face to face. Be careful and be critical.

No go on, scram!

  5 thoughts on “Go away, I’m not interested

  1. John you are so right. Why any agent uses an autoresponder or out of office auto reply is beyond me. It does help me get their business.

  2. Laura says:

    The one that gets me is when you call someone, and their voicemail says ” I will call you back at my earliest convenience” which really sounds like they’ll only call you back when they have nothing better to do.

  3. Following you on all of these responses. However, I beg to differ with Larry on agents using an auto responder. I think it is critical to tell people whether or not you are in the office. That way they can set their expectations. We always offer an alternate solution such as another agent responding to critical situations that require immediate assistance. Offering the other agents name, phone number, and email contact. That way, the client doesn’t feel that they have no advocate. The most important thought here is put your money where your mouth is. Walk the talk, and so on. You are spot on as usual John.

  4. Dal Lockwood says:

    If only we could get the spammers to be so considerate…
    I try to find client emails immediately and reply as quickly as possible. Unfortunately they are often buried among pages of “tremendous offers” from travel suppliers, spammers etc. I have set up a system where my best clients have their own in box file. This has helped a lot.

    1. John Frenaye says:

      Dal–set up a separate email address (use a free one if you can;t do it via your own domain) for various things. suppliers get their own, competitors that you monitor get their own, misc lists that you sign up get their own, etc.

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