Today’s consumer expects mediocrity. Excepting any New Jersians, when was the last time anyone pumped your gas for you? Been to a Best Buy lately? It might as well be a self serve kiosk. Department store clerks used to be more than cashiers. Waitresses and waiters used to be more than food carriers. But today, we have been conditioned to accept a mediocre sales experience. And that’s a good thing because it presents a great opportunity.
When you think about it, how hard is it to exceed “suck”? If we are conditioned to accept a mediocre product or service, how difficult is it to exceed that expectation? From where I sit, it should not take that much. Look at what Amazon and Zappos (I recently learned that Zappos was owned by Amazon, so that explains a lot) has done to the retail landscape as we knew it. Their service is off the charts. I recently purchased a flat screen television for my den. The following day, I got an email from Amazon for the same television for $40 less. With a 3 minute chat session, I had a $40 credit to my credit card, and a $25 Amazon credit applied to my account for the “inconvenience.” Wow! So how does it relate to travel?
What kind of travel experience might suck? A consumer sees an ad for a $399 7-night cruise from their homeport. We all cringe with these lowball offers and they rarely end up worth your time; but I have always said that we need to look to the next sale and not this one. A $399 cruise today an easily lead to something much larger down the road. This client is comparing you to someone on the Internet. The pricing is the same. The product is the same. To get the sale, all you have to do is suck less than the online agency—how hard can that be? I can think of a number of no to low cost actions that will put you leaps and bounds ahead including
- a personal phone call to the client thanking them for their business
- a pre-departure packing list and destination advice
- some hand holding if it is their first cruise or first time in a new destination
- a hand written welcome home card
Instantly, you have eliminated the “suck” out of a vacation. Now just think what you could do if you kicked that up a notch?
- meet them at their home or a coffee shop to discuss their expectations
- purchase a pre-departure goodie bag
- purchase an onboard amenity
- finagle an upgrade (we are known for being able to do that)
- arrange for a day pass at a local resort while in port
- pre-sell them shore excursions
- make dining reservations in specialty restaurants
The list is endless.
While we allways strive to provide over-the-top service to all of our clients, we also need to remember that sometimes all it may take is sucking a little less than your competition. Agree? Disagree? Let’s talk!