My clients love me, of course they’ll return. My clients had a good experience, they’ll come back, I’m pretty sure. Well, they said they had a good time, I’m pretty sure they might come back next time. I wonder where they went?
Sound like a familiar refrain? It does to me. And I can confidently say that it is likely nothing that we have done to see a client list dwindle. Times have changed and that client list is not nearly as valuable and robust as it once was. Last week we talked about the CAC and the ATV; and this week, let’s talk about keeping them around once we get them—that is the goal right?
Times have changed. In the 80s clients had to come to us for travel. Sure there was competition down the street or across town; but generally clients were loyal. Until the Internet brought travel to their computers, and eventually phones. Until Aunt Kathy paid $399 to become a travel agent. None of these obstacles are going away anytime soon so we need to find out what to do to make sure the client keeps coming back for more.
Tear Down That Wall
Is working with you a hassle? Take a hard look at that and find the barriers to working with you and remove them. Are you dealing with 20 voicemails every morning? Maybe your clients want to work with you in the evening. Change up your office hours.
Is your website easy to navigate? Is it clear what each step is to complete a transaction? If not, change it up. One of my biggest frustrations with my kids’ colleges was having to pay the bill—the schools made it impossible. I had to sign in with passwords, navigate to portals, put in their student ID, confirm it twice and tell them what my mother’s maiden name was. Put a button on the front page—PAY TUITION. Then ask for the credit card or check info along with a student ID number and let it go!
If you are a brick and mortar agency, is your office set up for efficient client movement. Can they be greeted and assisted immediately when they arrive? Are there chairs for them to use at your desk? Find ways to make the transaction as seamless as possible.
Apple has mastered this. Need to buy a computer, see a sales rep and have them punch it into their little iPhone, they go get it and you walk out with your receipt emailed to you. Total time – less than 10 minutes. Not fast enough for you? Get their app and you anything you can pick up in the store, you can scan and walk out with it. It is amazing!
Raise the ATV
If you want to increase your average transaction value, cross sell and up sell. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprise at how many so-called professionals are afraid to ask for the sale. When you paint the picture of a vacation, make sure it is special. Paint it with a private transfer from the airport to the cruise terminal. Paint it with an upgrade to a suite so there is expedited check in. Paint it with tickets to the latest Broadway show. Paint it with a day-long cooking or wine excursion with a chef or sommelier. Paint it with travel insurance. Stop shopping with your wallet and shop with the client’s!
More clients mean more sales, more revenue, more profit, more success. Make sure you are able to be found. Geographic borders are no longer terribly relevant, so make sure you are findable worldwide. On the world wide web. Facebook. Instagram. LinkedIn. Twitter. SnapChat. Of course you need a website as well.
And here’s the trick—make sure that all of your relevant contact and specialty information is there. If am looking for a specialist in Israel, I want to be able to discover that pretty quickly.
Make sure that your site is optimized for mobile devices. This will be critical moving forward. Don’t listen to me, listen to what these guys have to say.
Work What You Know
If you are not collecting data from your clients, just turn off the lights, lock the door and pick up a job application at your local convenience store. How many stores do you need to read about how much information we give websites about ourselves when we surf the internet?
Do this on a much more dumbed down level with your clients. Start out with a name, then an address, then a phone, then an email address. Did they mention their line of work? A milestone event in their lives? How much do they spend on travel per year? What areas do they visit? In what stage of life are they? Friends with other clients? All of this information (and more) should be in your CRM. Clients give this information freely.
International trip—verify the passport and when his birthday rolls around, send him a card! I bet his accountant won’t. Is her precious little Timmy graduating from kindergarten and she is planning a special trip to Disney for him—send a note congratulating her on her outstanding parenting skills to be able to take a child and have him graduate kindergarten. OK, that may be a bit over the top, but you get it!
Gather information and use it to build that relationship. You may not think there is a lot of information, but there is if you just look for it!
A final note on CRM. Use it to study YOUR trends. Your agency will develop trends and you can change your marketing to reflect them because they are working for you. Are you finding you are selling more high-end cruises? Change up your marketing and ditch the low-end ones. Have you not sold a single trip to Europe in two years? Why are you giving space on your website to that UK supplier?
One More Acronym CLV
With a higher ATV and more clients, you will be doing better. Again, utilizing your CRM, make sure you identify your top clients and know what their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is to your agency. The bigger the number, the better the client and the more effort you need to use to make sure they remain. And remember, when I speak of “value” I am talking about the commission or the net value. The client that buys first class tickets all the time without fees is worthless to me!
Thoughts? Leave a comment!