Tuesday August 22, 2017
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Linkedin Linkedin Linkedin
logo

Training your clients (as much as you can)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Training your clients (as much as you can)

There’s a hairdresser in Toronto who wanted more clients … so she expanded her working hours from four days a week to five. Guess what happened? “My same clients spread out their visits over the five days – I was doing the same amount of work but working one day more each week. So I went back to a four day work week and my clients are just fine with that.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could ‘train’ our clients to respect a set work schedule for us in retail travel!

One of the biggest changes in our business over the past 10 years has been the connectedness. The same wonderful Internet that can allow us to research African safaris and Antarctic cruises with a few keystrokes also means our clients can contact us instantly – at home, in our cars, and at our kid’s school recital. And the expectation is that you will respond.

How on earth can you keep this under control? Keep some sort of that elusive ‘work-life balance’?

First, it helps to resign yourself to the fact that you will be expected to respond virtually immediately. However not every communication is one that must be worked on immediately (e.g. a death in the family) versus someone just blue-skying some distant trip (maybe doing a villa rental for the family next year). In the latter case you can simply let the client know that you’re on it and will get back to them after some research, but you’ve got some great ideas already.

If you’re a leisure agent, acknowledge that Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, is not when your clients are thinking about their vacations. Many independent agents tell me their busiest inquiry time is Friday night and Sunday afternoon. So carve out some me-time at other times during the week.

One of our most successful Toronto-based independent agents has a significant L.A. celebrity clientele, so takes time off from work between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. (1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Los Angeles time) and resumes working after that. Ideal? Perhaps not for everybody. Does it work? You bet it does.

Sometimes a little extra communication can help to ‘train’ the clients. Let them know well in advance of any planned absences. While you’re away, make sure your out-of-office email response alerts them to who their contact is in your absence … or at least that you are out of town and may not be getting back to them as quickly as you normally do.

At the end of the day, all we have is our personal contacts and relationships. Clients may not need it now, but they want the info now. The Internet will always have answers a lot faster than you will. How you respond to clients who reach out to you, pretty jazzed about booking a trip, will speak volumes about how much you care.

Lynda Sinclair

Lynda Sinclair

CTM, Vice-President/Leisure at Vision Travel Solutions
With over 30 years in the Canadian retail travel industry, she says she “Lives and breathes what goes on at the front line.” She can be reached at lynda.sinclair@visiontravel.ca.
Lynda Sinclair

Latest posts by Lynda Sinclair (see all)

With Ireland bookings up, tour ops look for gateways beyond Dublin (and more rooms)
The Canadian market to Ireland is booming, with the number of Canadian visitors to the Emerald Isle up 60% since 2013.
Transat shares surge to highest level since 2015
Transat shares surge to highest level since 2015
Shares of Transat A.T. surged 10% on Monday to the highest level since early 2015 after the travel company signalled...
Collette announces Ron Lonsdale as its new Vice President
Collette announces Ron Lonsdale as its new Vice President
Congratulations are in order for Ron Lonsdale, who has just been promoted to the newly created role of Vice President...
Agents earn double the rewards on Goway’s Holidays of a Lifetime
Agents earn double the rewards on Goway’s Holidays of a Lifetime
To celebrate the launch of its new Holidays of a Lifetime brochure, Goway is offering agents double cash rewards...
View all News