Have You Hugged a Porcupine?

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

We have talked before about how NOT to send proposals or deal with a client or prospective one over email or text, but to do so over the phone and in person if possible. This is because we don’t want a “Prize,” but instead a client who will stay with you and recommend you to others. For those who are LUCKY enough to send a proposal and “get” a sale, know that you got a one-time deal, and next time it could be another lucky TA!

Now that I have made my point about the difference between a one-timer and a client, let’s talk about complaints and endless questions from clients over emails and texts. This is one of the cases I call “embrace or hug a porcupine.”

Example: Client is on her/his vacation and sends text messages about the poor service she is getting at the restaurant in the all-inclusive resort where they are staying. Well, you don’t really know if the service is poor, or if she is having a bad day, or is upset because of personal reasons. So, don’t engage over text messages or emails. You can ignore them the first day, or reply with, “I am sorry to hear that.”

If this continues, ask your client to contact you by WhatsApp at a time that is convenient for you so you can give them all the attention they need

Once she/he calls, ask about the weather, about her husband or family or friend (whoever is traveling with her), ask about the pool, the ocean. I mean, take the driver’s seat and “drive” around the all-inclusive – everywhere BUT the restaurant (the problem). Let her tell you about everything she is enjoying. Or you might hear that she is a complainer and sees the glass so empty that it is almost broken. Write down everything she says and repeat it back to her.  Then, and ONLY then ask her about of the restaurant. One of two things will happen: She will see for herself that everything else is wonderful and she herself will find an excuse for the poor service, OR she will realize that she complains about everything, and that this is an awful all-inclusive (it is your fault, of course, so you will deal of her when she comes back!) but in any case – she feels heard. This is one example of how to EMBRACE OR HUG A PORCUPINE!

Can you give me an example of when you’ve hugged a porcupine?


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