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02/06/2017

What to Do When Your Client Isn't Happy

 

Greg Antonelle once had a client who complained that it rained every day on their vacation.

“While we felt bad for them, we had to explain that we don’t have any control over the weather,” said the managing director of MickeyTravels, LLC.

In every business, there are bound to be clients who aren’t happy with the work you are doing, even if it’s something as silly as controlling the weather.

“I’m pretty sure every travel agent that has a lot of volume ultimately encounters a difficult client,” said Antonelle. “The reality for us is that we understand they want their vacation to be perfect. When certain things don’t go as planned, they can become upset. Being proactive with other options when this happens is always helpful.”

Communication is key in any relationship, whether business or personal.

“You also know that relationships are not always easy, and even with the best intentions, we do have disagreements,” said Judith White, Romance Travel Expert, White Sand Travel.

“I think the best way to handle this type of situation is to communicate openly about what is causing the disconnect and what the client’s expectations are.”

White remembers one such client who wanted to plan a destination wedding: “We met and hit it off instantly. I thought she was giving me the ok to do the needed research and make recommendations that fit her criteria for her wedding. However, she consistently sent me suggestions from her own research. This interfered with my progress as it meant I was constantly revising results from my work. This caused some delay.”

The client ultimately emailed White to let her know that because she was doing a lot of the work herself, she didn’t think she needed a travel agent and wanted her deposit back.

“We scheduled a conversation because we were both experiencing a disconnect and needed to get some clarity about what was wrong and how we could make things right.”

At the end of their conversation, White refunded her deposit but kept in touch.

“A few months later, after trying to do things on her own, she realized it was more than looking at pretty pictures and reading reviews and reached back out for help,” White said.

Antonelle advises agents to listen to their clients vent and let them know you understand their frustration: “It allows them to get things off their chest. By letting them know you’re on their side and you want to do everything to make their vacation perfect, it makes them feel they’re not in this alone.”

Margie Lenau of Wonderland Family Vacations does just that.

“I have an honest talk with my client from the beginning, but when I do have a client that isn't happy working with me, it is usually the cost that is bothering them,” said Lenau.

“I try to get to the heart of the issue, but I have fired clients. I just say, 'Maybe this is something you prefer to do on your own.' I've only had to do that a couple of times, I don't want to help anyone that doesn't want my help.”

If Antonelle has clients who are being difficult because things are out of the client’s control or his agency’s control, he has a heart-to-heart conversation with them: “The biggest thing is to listen, let them vent, and let them know you want to do everything possible to make everything good.”

White provides some tips for when you have to have one of these difficult conversations with your client:

—Avoid being defensive and really listen to the concerns and expectations of the client.

—Discuss how you can make the experience better for the client and be prepared to implement those changes (if they are reasonable).

—Communicate to the client the importance of the relationship and make a gesture to fix the problem.

“Mistakes will happen, but how we manage them is critical,” White said.Read more at:prom dresses manchester | short prom dresses

 

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