I don’t mean to sound vain, but I pride myself on my expertise and knowledge. You should too! Whenever I become involved in any endeavor, I really try to become as much of an expert as I can. I take the time to do extra research. I ask for opinions from other experts. I learn from my mistakes and I am very willing to share my knowledge with others. Sometimes I am a fast learner and other times it takes more time to become proficient. And I am sure you are no different.
We hang our shingle (or our URL) out as travel professionals. We explain what we do ad-nauseum–to consumers, to the press, to our employees, to our supplier and to our friends and family. We network. We travel. We read. We research. We surf the web. We attend training. We listen to webinars. We speak with suppliers. All of this together makes us what we are-professionals! We are experts in our field. So why are there clients and prospects that just don’t get it and feel they know better? Why call us in the first place?
I specialize in single parent travel. Every family situation is unique and there are countless hurdles that might pop up in a travel experience for a single parent. Passports and the specialized forms for a MIA parent are the norm as are authorization letters from non-traveling parents. We handle recommendations for experiences to fit the individual family. We put together families that want to cut expenses. We arrange carpools. We offer advice on all of the other issues that may pop up. Last August, a single mom called me from onboard her flight to the Caribbean. It seems that her father had just passed away and needed to know what to do. Of course with children we always insist on travel insurance–so I told her to get off the plane, try to retrieve the luggage and call me back in ten minutes. During that ten minutes, we had contacted the insurance company and began a claim. Dealing with an insurance company as a single parent after just losing your father was not something she wanted to do. That’s why she hired us! A week later the claim was approved and the client was reimbursed the cost, and a replacement trip was planned. This is what we do. But there are three types of people that I have a difficult time managing.
My sister’s husband’s co-worker said…
It really irritates me when, after considerable effort, we offer advice based on our experience, training, and education only to be told, “Well, my boyfriend’s sister says that I should do it this way.” Hello? If you already know the answer you want, why are you wasting my time? Tell your boyfriend’s sister to book the darned trip.
But that’s not what I read…
While that customer already knows the answer they want, another type is the one that is just not happy with any answer you give. You know the type, “The brochure said from $299 for a week on Royal Caribbean, so why can’t I get on the Allure of the Seas between Christmas and New Years for that price?” No matter what you do. No matter how hard you try to explain, you are not going to please this client.
Hello? Bueller? Bueller
The third type that really irritates me is the one that takes no action at all. They call you for your advice and do nothing with it. How does one handle that situation when you reach out to close the sale or clarify the information and receive no response? I am reluctant to believe that there is a segment of society that gets their kicks out of ignoring travel professionals; but what are these people doing? Did they book elsewhere? Why not tell me and get me off your back. Did they change their mind? Hey we all do, it’s ok, really it is!
I wish I had the answers; but I don’t. And it is not unique to travel. I have seen it in some of my other interests. People call you for advice and then ignore it. Go figure. How do you deal with it? What are some of your best tips for working with these three types? Are there other types of clients that drive you bonkers?