Dear Travel Agent,
Thanks to Facebook and other social media, we live in a world that feels like the grass is always greener across the street. It seems like only MY grass has so many weeds, and that it is more like a greenish yellow-brown than the sparkling deep green of my neighbor’s!
Is this true?
I remember very well that before social media, when I went to meetings and conventions, other companies and competitors talked about how WONDERFUL their businesses were doing, but I knew from other sources that it wasn’t the real truth.
Let’s face it, people haven’t changed, only the vehicle used to deliver the “news” has. Now it is more “in your face” and “reminds you every day/second” – every time you check your social media. Before it was ONLY when you met them in person.
Now that I have vented to you how it all works, let’s talk a bit about clients who complain during the trip, just when you thought you were all done and ready to enjoy the commission and the benefits of a referral.
Suddenly, you get an awful phone call, text message or email. If a problem is happening on your client’s trip, contact your supplier and tell your clients you are doing so. Get back to the client as soon as you get an answer from the supplier. If a problem has ALREADY happened and they want to complain about it and demand a solution, ask them to send it in writing with all details. If it is pertinent to the supplier, forward the complaint to them and ask for an explanation and/or compensation for your client.
Remember, a client always behaves differently when he/she is excited planning for the vacation as compared to when he/she is on the real vacation. Not every traveler is relaxed and easygoing. Some are more demanding, more uptight. Jet lag can have a bad effect on many people, and a change in medication could play an important role (taking it on time, changing, or not taking it at all).
From a supplier’s perspective, I can tell you that some clients will complain even because of the weather (over which no one has any control) and demand compensation for that.
My advice is to listen to your client, deal with real problems as soon as they arise (and then deal directly with the supplier) and if not, ask to have it put in writing in detail once they come back. Let them cool off and have the time and energy to put all in writing.
Knowing how to handle an upset client is similar to when you yourself, feel overwhelmed by so many postings about fantastic green grass on Facebook. Take few deep breaths and be gentle to them, and to yourself!
Travel is like life, only those who choose to see the beauty actually will!
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Facebook @Rosana Chermisqui