Dear Travel Agent,
Let’s talk about dealing with different kinds of people/clients. Actually, I have divided people in general into three big, categories where I can place them most of the time:
1- the ones who see the half glass as half full
2- the ones who see the half glass as half empty
3- and the ones who see the glass broken with pieces of glass infecting their bare feet!
Unfortunately, we will usually find out what category new clients have classified themselves as AFTER they travel.
The glass half full person could come back with some comments (complaints), but will always try to emphasize the positive and tell you how great everything went despite some little things that could have been improved. Listen to them, appreciate their input, and tell them you will make sure to consider their valuable input.
When the glass half empty person comes back with complaints, remember, that from their type there will be only complaints and no positive feedback. First and foremost, DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY! Then, listen, let them vent. Remember that they think they are RIGHT! If they raise their voice, make sure you speak lower and more softly than they do, but not so much lower that they can’t hear, or misunderstand you. Keep in mind it takes two people to fight, and by keeping your voice lower, you are not giving them that chance.
Empathy is the key to success. You can even apologize for the way your client felt, but NOT FOR WHAT HAPPENED, IF YOU DON’T AGREE TO ANY WRONG DOING!
Ask if you can make sure that you understand what happened by repeating what the has client told you, many times. Once they hear you repeat their complaint, they may realize how small or silly the situation was. Ask questions without passing any judgement, such as asking why they didn’t reach out to you on the first or second day? Or why didn’t they complain to the tour guide if he/she was late on the first day, and so on.
For the glass is broken and pieces of glass are infecting bare feet people – use most of the advice above, but remember, NOTHING will work. They are unhappy, and the best solution is to write a note to yourself with their names in big capital letters, then let them move on and be someone else problem! Life is too short to be surrounded by negativity!