Some suppliers report having customers who return to their hotel or cruise line over the years, but each time they come they’ve booked with a different travel agent. OUCH!
Has this ever happened to you?
There could be many reasons why your clients switched to someone else. Maybe they lost your business card or your rude secretary turned them off when they called with a quick question. Either way, you can always learn something from understanding exactly what went wrong.
We’ve compiled a short list of the most common reasons your customers may have jumped ship along with some easy solutions to get them back or keep your current (and future) clients on board for the long haul!
- They couldn’t remember your name. They couldn’t find your business card, and they didn’t really even try to look because their experience with you was just “fine.” It didn’t stand out in any way. Instead, they went to another agency closer to home or to one that their friend recommended.
Solution: Stay in their face with emails, phone calls and promotions selected especially for them. Make it simple to reach you--and hard to forget you. Social media makes it easy to find them! Once they see your travel-related posts, special offers and amazing pictures, they will remember you, and they will want your expertise for their next trip!
- Something went wrong on their trip and they didn’t tell you because they didn’t want to bother you. Perhaps they got the wrong room category or the ocean-view suite you booked actually overlooked the dumpsters. Ew.
Solution: Call your clients as they arrive at the hotel to pre-empt any potential pitfalls. Quiz them gently to be sure that everything is okay and fix any problem right away.
- You didn’t follow up with them to see how their trip went and that confused them. They spent a lot of money on their vacation, and they felt they’d made a connection with you. Then they were surprised that you weren’t curious to know how everything went. You assumed everything was fine because you didn’t hear any complaints, and in your book: “No news is good news.”
Solution: Even if it’s time consuming for you, get in touch with your customers immediately upon their return. Ask them if they’d change anything at all after their experience. Inquire if they’d started discussing their next vacation yet, and if so, promise to follow up with them with suggestions in the next week or so. Do not wait for them to settle back in before you reach out to them. You’re their advisor, and they need your counsel.
- They don’t like calling your office because the person who answers the phone is rude. Or they don’t like emailing or calling you because you don’t get back to them quickly enough, etc.
Solution: Examine every interface a potential client has with you, including social media! Follow up fast – even if it’s a simple “I got your message but I am busy right now." Or maybe you're traveling too and can't respond at the moment. Whatever the reason may be, keep it honest and personal. Let your clients know you will get back to them as soon as you can. Don't forget! Use your phone calendar and set a simple reminder for yourself to email them or call them back. And if you have a rude receptionist, get rid of them or relegate them to the back office…or send them to charm school. Just fix the problem now. Don't let it fester.
- Nothing went wrong. You did everything right, and you even got them free transfers, breakfast daily and a guaranteed upgrade. You called them during the trip to ensure everything was fine, and they said it was, and when they got home you had a welcoming postcard waiting for them in the mail. You touched base to see where they might be interested in going next, and you provided a list of options based on the initial conversation you had with them during their first consultation with you. Still, they went with someone else.
Solution: Don’t give up. If they received excellent service from you, there’s a good chance they won’t receive it from the next agent. So keep at them, stay in touch and above all, don’t lose faith in yourself. Humans are a fickle bunch, but they do learn from their mistakes. Make yourself fully accessible to your wandering clients without being too aggressive, and they may come back another day to book with you when they realize how good you really are.