When I dive into something, I like to learn as much as possible. I may not be an “expert,” but I tend to feel I know more than the average person—after all, that is why they are coming to me. I take the time to do extra research. I ask for opinions from true 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. I am sure we are all the same! So why are there three types of customers that drive me crazy?
We hang our shingle (or URL) out as a travel professional. We explain what we do; ad-nauseam at times. We network. We travel. We read. We research. We surf. We attend training. We listen to webinars. We speak with suppliers. Together, this makes us what we are-professionals! We are experts (or close) in our field. So why do some clients not understand that and try to “out consult” us so often? Why did they call us in the first place?
I specialize in single parent travel. Every family situation is different and there are countless hurdles that might pop up in a travel experience. 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 that fit in the comfort level of the family. We put together families that want to cut expenses. We arrange carpools. We offer advice on all of the other issues that pop up. Special needs? Yup, we handle that too as more and more kids today have them. One time, I needed to manage a change travel 3 hours prior to departure when a father abducted his child just before vacation. This is what we do. But there are three types of people that I have a difficult time managing.
Someone can do it better
It really irritates me when we work hard to consult with a prospect for naught. We research, price, advise, and counsel only to hear, “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?
I only want to hear what I want to hear
While that customer already knows the answer they want; the other one I dislike is the one that is not satisfied with your answer! I am sure you know the type, “The brochure said from $299 for a week on Royal Caribbean, so why can’t I get on the ship over Christmas for that price?” No matter what you do. No matter how hard you try to explain, you are not going to please this client.
The third type that really irritates me is the one that takes no action at all. They call you all excited for your advice. They spend time talking to you. You ask the right questions. They ask the right questions. And then they vanish! Never to be heard from again. Are there really people that get their kicks out of ignoring travel professionals?
I wish I had the answers; but I don’t. And it is not unique to travel. I see it everywhere. 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?