Your Gratitude Attitude
In life, forging strong personal ties is vital to happiness. The same goes for success in our professional lives. And this is especially true for travel professionals because the travel business is a service-oriented profession. So it is important to build close ties with clients, and this, in turn, will build loyalty and minimize competition. Taking a sincere interest will help you build your network of loyal clients. On the other hand, being indifferent to their desires and taking your clients for granted are sure ways for those bonds to wither.
Last week, we talked about the basics of serving and appreciating your clients. So, what is the next step? The key is to show your gratitude and staying connected to your clients by
- Providing friendly and personalized service. Customers want to be treated fairly, intelligently, and individually — in other words, with respect. To do this, use the clients’ names whenever possible. Answer the phone with a friendly greeting, an identification of yourself and your company, and an offer to help the caller. Then, listen to your clients’ words, tone of voice, and feelings, and then demonstrate concern for their needs by tailoring your advice and recommendations.
- Being prompt and efficient. No one likes to be kept waiting for an unreasonable amount of time, and, with today’s technology, no one should be. You can send messages, texts, and emails instantly, rather than playing phone tag. On the other hand, take the time you need with each customer to deliver reliable service. Clients don’t mind the wait if they know that things will be done right the first time, promises will be kept, and things will be delivered on time.
- Being knowledgeable. Clients expect to deal with knowledgeable travel counselors. You need to know enough about your products to be helpful, and you need to take responsibility to find the answers you don’t have. Never say, “I don’t know” without adding “But I’ll find out.”
- Remaining flexible. Keep in mind that clients don’t want to be told no. They want you to make the system work for them. Typically, this is not too much to ask. As long as a request is not unreasonable, you should be able to come up with ways to make it happen.
- Solving their problems. If a mistake has been made, apologize and take responsibility. Everyone makes mistakes. How you correct them can set you above everyone else. And, contrary to what you may think, owning up to a mistake will not drive the clients away. It actually will bring them closer.
- Being empathetic. Customers want to be treated as individuals. Ask questions and listen to the feelings behind the responses. If you can make them happy, you will establish an emotional connection that builds loyalty and trust. The more you make an effort to get to know your clients, the more skilled you become at anticipating and meeting their needs for future trips.
YOU SAID IT!
Customer service and appreciation is vital not only for attracting customers but also for keeping them. You demonstrated your outstanding acts of gratitude and appreciation by responding to our recent survey that asked the question:
“How do YOU show appreciation for your clients?”
Here are a few more of those inspiring ideas:
Heather Travis, CTA, of Globe Getaways in Lakewood, Colo. said, “I bring a box of chocolates to client meetings when we go over final documents. I used to try other fancy things, but now almost everyone gets chocolates from me! If it’s a cruise, I give chocolate covered strawberries and bottled water!”
Jacquelyn Williams, CTA, of Cruise Planners in Sandy Springs, Ga. said, “We love to surprise our clients with gifts in their room or with extra OBC, if it’s a cruise. For land trips, I like to upgrade their transfers from shared to private.”
Angeliec Birr, CTA, of AAA Travel in Chicago said, “Always… Always write a handwritten thank you note.”
This week’s Hot Tip Tuesday was based on materials found in The CTA Program’s Customer Service course.