Since entering the travel industry in 1984 I have effectively uncovered a simple way to hold on to your valued clients. Notice I did not label them “customers.” I will explain why shortly.
Having recently been introduced to a shameful statistic I thought it timely to give you my opinion on this subject. See if you can swallow this dose of reality: When interviewed, travel agents believe they retain 78% of their paying customers. When interviewed, paying customers believe this number is closer to 35%.
Let’s not quibble over a percentage point or two. The message is that travel professionals believe their retention rate is a lot higher than it is. Agents are losing customers at an alarming rate and finding it more difficult to recapture market share. This identifies an enormous problem. This presents an equally enormous opportunity.
In the interest of time I will provide my secret remedy to this unnecessary dilemma. Here goes. Get ready for a “glaring-flash-of the-obvious.” Drum roll please: TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS LIKE DOGS.
Pet owners know exactly what I am talking about. Those of you who have been in the company of “pet owners” also know what I’m talking about. The rest of you may be thinking I have gone off my rocker, and I have no plans to convert you today. As for the pet people, I need say no more. You get the picture and are endorsing my position as I wrap up this article.
As for the difference between “customers” and “clients,” a prospect becomes a customer when they buy something. Anybody can sell anything to anybody “once.” The first purchase is “nice.” The second purchase is “meaningful.” But it isn’t until the third purchase that a customer becomes a “client.”
When you happen upon a new prospect think about treating them like a dog. Then focus on ways you can develop a relationship that will result with three transactions.
That’s my opinion. I’m just saying…
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.