Tourism Customer Service 101

Customer ServiceDid you know?

  • Happy clients who have their problems resolved will tell 4-6 people about their positive experience.
  • A dissatisfied client will tell 9-15 people about it.  And approximately 13% of your dissatisfied clients will tell more than 20 people about their problem.

Conclusion: You have to satisfy three to four, for every one that is dissatisfied with you.  It’s tough to work with a 4:1 ratio against you, which is why your client satisfaction efforts are so important.

I never went to Travel & Hospitality school. In fact, I’d never had any experience in client service or in the travel industry whatsoever before I started my little inbound travel business. You don’t need to – avoiding dissatisfied clients as above should be common sense – for any business.
Some basics that should be common sense, except that common sense doesn’t, unfortunately, seem to be that common:

  • Respond to an enquiry within 12 hours at the most, preferably a LOT quicker. Every time. There is nothing more impressive than someone coming back to you at real pace…
  • Respond PERSONALLY, not via automated reply, and make it look like you’ve given their enquiry some thought.
  • Respond with correct grammar and spelling – this displays intelligence and professionalism, and is a reflection of how you do business.
  • A personal phone call is the optimal response – and SMILE when you talk to them: they’ll be able to hear it in your voice!
  • Follow up on your initial response when you say you will ie. BE PUNCTUAL.
  • Be honest, transparent and comprehensive in servicing their enquiry – and don’t bad-mouth the competition. What goes around comes around…

Look after your suppliers as well as you do your clients, I always say…

  • Make sure you pay your bills on time, every time. We prepay our accounts 14 days prior to client arrival, for every client. Do unto others…
  • Provide your suppliers with as much information about your client as possible. Combine to create a “united front” in working together to make that client’s experience as good as it can be.
  • Keep in touch with your suppliers, even if you don’t send them business on a regular basis. They can be great referees, both within in the trade, and to other tourists.

Have you any other client service ideas or tips that have worked for your business or organisation?  If so, please comment.

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5 Comments

  1. Michelle Ackers February 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    I would add that if a tourism business ever gets a negative review on a travel review website as a result of poor customer service, then always respond to the review with a positive comment to resolve the issue. You are better to be part of the conversation and show you care about what others think.

  2. Daniel Bridges February 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    Great post, I’d add that care should be taken in all areas where you ‘touch’ a customer, and your own website is no exception. Here’s the wording on one B+B website’s ‘contact us’ page as an example of how not to do it:

    “Please don’t phone or e-mail us just to ask: ‘Have you got availability on such and such a date?’ You can see exactly which rooms are booked for which dates (and see exactly what we can see) in real time by just looking at our rooom availability calendars in the left hand margin of each of our web pages.
    Any other questions that aren’t answered on this website: please feel free to contact us, but please pay attention to the timezone…”

    • Robyn Bolton February 12, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

      It is sad to say that there are lots of horror stories out there like this one Daniel has referred to. I recently spotted a sign in the car park of an accommodation outlet which read “parking is strictly for guests only” (so far so good), but it then went on to say that “violators will be prosecuted”. Certainly made me think twice when pulling in to ask a question. Whilst I understood the intent behind the message, the choice of words seemed quite threatening. I wonder how well they do when it comes to ‘off the street bookings’.

  3. Motella February 12, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    Great spot, Daniel!
    Love the irony. Probably written by folk that thought the television series Faulty Towers was a training video.

  4. Rory June 18, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    Customer Service is very crucial in the tourism industry. Addressing the clients concern should be one of the top priorities.

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