Over the past few weeks there have been several articles about being a better travel professional. Most recently, Terry Denton talked about going above and beyond. Nolan Burris talked about the differences between strugglers and superstars. And a few weeks back, I suggested, that to be successful, we just need to suck a little bit less than the competition. So why is it so elusive?
Terry pointed out some easy, and overlooked, options. Nolan discussed a different mindset that ultimately would make you money. And I just pointed out how ridiculously low the bar is set for most industries today.
At a travel conference, I heard a great story* that really drove the point home, that a simple act can make all the difference in the world.
Way back when, there used to be gas station attendants who actually pumped your gas, washed your windshield, and checked the oil and air in your tires. The attendants often received a few coins as a tip for a job well done. One enterprising attendant was always leading the pack in tips; and when asked, his explanation was simple—he always addressed his customers by name. Every time.
With a busy gas station, the owner wondered how he could remember everyone’s name. The young man explained that when he took the customer’s credit card, he noted the name and discretely wrote it on a piece of masking tape and taped it to the inside of the gas cap (or door) for future reference. So, when a customer pulled in, he opened the gas cap, read the name, and then was able to address the customer.
How difficult was that?
As an industry, are we looking for the little things that matter? Are we using the tools provided by the suppliers? The information provided by a CRM? Are we addressing our clients by name? All of these “extras” are really nothing more than the basics of any business relationship; but time and time again I find that most people in a sales position miss them—it is not unique to the travel industry by any means.
I have a question for you all—what are the simple things you do that keep your clients coming back? Using their name? Presenting a destination guide? Returning calls or emails in a certain period of time? I know I can improve—leave a comment with your tips so we all can!
* As for the story, it sounds like it might be a Mike Marchev discussion, but I am not sure. If you know, please let me know!