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Serving Clients In a 24/7 World

March 15, 2010 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent

When I think of little children constantly texting each other it strikes me as sort of cute, but then I realize that they are growing up in an environment where they’re in touch with their friends 24/7. It’s a bizarre phenomenon, especially when you think about how we grew up. There were parameters on our time. When we were being driven to school or the store we’d basically be sitting in the back of the car looking out the window or reading a book. Too many children in this current era that would seem like a dreadful waste of texting time.

The thing is, today’s children are an exact replica of the adults they’re hanging around with. Many of us are constantly on BlackBerrys, cell phones, Twitter and Facebook. Sure, it’s for business, but aren’t we all “on” 24/7 these days, just like the little children we’re raising our eyebrows at?

Along these lines, an interesting comment was made on a conference call the other day with our 30Under30 travel agents. We were discussing hot topics of the day and someone suggested that setting boundaries with clients in an era when we are all available all the time is a real issue. I put the question out on our Facebook page: “How do you find balance with your clients when you can now be available 24/7 to them?”

Here’s a snapshot of the responses. Elizabeth Harvey does not give out her personal cell phone, but does, of course, check her work voicemail from home and return calls based on their importance. Michelle Mangio doesn’t take calls at home after 10 p.m., but, “if the client is traveling, and I get a call on my cell phone from them at 2 a.m., I’ll take it, just in case it’s an emergency...”

Others concurred: If their client is traveling, they’ll take a call from them any time, day or night. Christy Norton Jourdan falls into that category, but adds, “I do stop answering random calls when I’m spending time with my family. It’s hard, because we’re all self-employed and afraid to lose business, but we’ve got to set healthy boundaries!”

I’d love to hear from other travel agents about this issue as I’m sure those of you who grew up in times when business hours were more traditional may have some good advice for the newer advisors in the business. (I want to be careful to note, however, that I’m sure the demands of your business back then caused you to work after hours and on weekends, too.) Please e-mail me at [email protected] so I can share your advice on setting parameters for client demands. Feel free, too, to visit our Facebook page to join in on the conversation (just search “Travel Agent magazine” and you’ll find us).

Top Supplier Sales Reps

Talk about being “on” 24/7. Have you ever asked a supplier sales representative if they’ve been traveling much? Their intense road trip schedules will put most of ours to shame, and we’re all world travelers.

We launched our Top Supplier Sales Reps recognition program in 2008 because we felt it was necessary to give a shout-out to these many, many beloved folks who help your travel businesses flourish and profit. The best sales reps get a thrill out of training travel agents on how to sell their products and they really get jazzed when they have something new and fantastic to offer. They get creative when you have a challenge in reaching your sales goals and they’ll pick up the phone when you have a client in distress (or who is just being super demanding!).

The sales reps you will find this year were nominated by you, our readers. Their names were written in and the votes tallied to pick the winners. We congratulate them all for their strong contributions to an industry that we all love. Thanks for making it even better!

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