Defining customer service in the travel industry | TravelResearchOnline


Defining customer service in the travel industry

What is your definition of customer service? Maybe it is answering the phones by the third ring; or returning emails within 24 hours. Perhaps customer service to you is the little add-ons like destination guides or a little tchotchke gift. I know many agents that claim customer service is based on their knowledge or experience of travel. Some will claim that their professional affiliation or industry certifications are part of their customer service. I might suggest that these are all perks. But, is it truly customer service?

Customer service is truly much simpler than that: It is all about solving problems.

Think about it as a consumer. Whenever you go to a business, you are likely there because you have a problem. Not a problem as in a troublesome problem; but a problem nonetheless. You are at Best Buy because you need a new television—no television is a problem. You go to the grocery to get food—no food is a problem. You buy gasoline at the gas station—no gas is a problem. People come to you because they need or want to travel and they are looking to you to solve their problem of finding a flight, resort, cruise, tour, or hotel. Simple! Right?

Now take their problem, and fix it!

Once the problem is solved, then it is time to put the value-add into the equation. A customer will likely come back if you handle their problem. But if you want to insure they will come back, add in a little bit of you—here is the time to put your credentials and experience to work for you. Show the customer what a true destination or lifestyle specialist can do for them. Show them the added services (and convenience) you bring to the table when you arrange to have dogs walked and plants watered. Arrange for a ride to their airport. Present them with a detailed destination guide from TRO. Update them before their trip on useful information. Be their agent.

Done well, and for a fee, they will come back time and time again. Forget customer service and solve their problem first—and then allow yourself to shine!

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