Top 4 customer service take outs for tour operators
When it comes to tailor-made travel experiences, tour operators must provide their clients with exquisitely tailored packages that wow them.
The high-end experience, however, should start much sooner than the departure gate. A customer should feel like he or she is being treated to top-of-the-line customer service from the first point of contact, whether phone or website form.
Customer service is a good thing for any business to focus on, but can we actually measure its benefits in a tangible way? The short answer is yes, and the longer answer is the rest of this article.
Below are 4 top customer service tips for your tour or travel company.
Getting customers in the door
You need to have customers before you can provide them with great service. Most businesses have two types of customers: new and repeat and tour operators are no different.
While attracting new customers is key to growing your business, research suggests that loyal customers are far more profitable. In fact, getting a new customer costs five times more than keeping an old one, according to Invesp.
The profitability of customer retention isn’t just evident when it comes to cost; customers who have been with your company longer will generate more business. Research by Bain and Company reported in the Harvard Business Review showed that a fourth-year customer at an auto mechanic will generate three times more profit than a first-year customer.
Naturally, this means losing one of your older customers can result in significant losses. Focusing on retention, therefore, can have a big impact. The Bain research suggests that, by improving retention just 5 per cent, businesses can increase profits from 25 to 85 per cent.
Building a rapport
Your tour company should focus on retaining customers, but how can you do that most effectively? Sometimes, it can be through sweeping changes to all of your business processes.
Or, it can be accomplished through something so simple as asking for your customer’s name. This small gesture can go a long way in showing clients that you’re committed towards providing personalised and attentive service.
Surprisingly enough, even though asking for a name takes less than 30 seconds, customers are only asked for their name in just over one-fifth of encounters with employees, according to ContactPoint Client Research.
This is somewhat understandable in some instances. After all, pointing someone towards the right aisle doesn’t require that level of a personal relationship. Travel, however, is a different story.
When you’re putting together bespoke holidays for your customers, you want to focus on their interests. This definitely requires getting to know them early on in the process. It would be rather awkward to only learn your customer’s name when filling in booking details.
Of course, if you’re waiting that long to get to know a customer, he or she might turn to another tour company instead.
Making the deal
It’s easy to assume that the biggest factor affecting where customers do their business is cost, but the reality is quite different. The service experience plays a much more significant role in determining where customers are willing to spend their money.
American Express’ 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer found that customers in a number of markets favour customer service over value. This includes over 65 per cent of consumers in Australia, the US, the UK and Canada.
When it comes to that service, customers see it as quite valuable. In all of the countries above, consumers said they would be willing to pay 12 per cent more or higher for good customer service.
More importantly, not providing the level of service customers expect can derail a potential sale, even if the consumer intended on making a purchase or booking. American Express found that a surprising majority of customers around the globe have backed away from an intended purchase as a result of poor service. This was particularly noticeable in the UK (52 per cent,) Australia (58 per cent), Canada (57 per cent) and the US (60 per cent).
Successful tour operators bring customers back
We’ve already seen why retention is important when it comes to the cost of generating business, and good customer service is key to maintaining that strong relationship with your clients.
Despite the numbers, this is a lesson that a large number of companies can’t wrap their heads around. In fact, in the US alone, lost customers as a result of poor service cost businesses US$83 billion each year, according to Genesys.
How can travel software help?
One of the most effective ways to improve your service and avoid losing your valuable customers is by giving them your time. Therefore, it is crucial to be as efficient as possible in your business processes.
If you are spending a couple of hours cutting and pasting Word templates or drafting Outlook emails to suppliers you aren’t investing enough time into client interactions.
Spend less time on administrative tasks and keep your focus on the customers with tour operator software, like TourWriter.
To learn more about how TourWriter can help your tour company, contact us today.