What Your Clients Aren’t Telling You

Customer Service
Photo by michaeljung/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
Ruthanne Terrero
Ruthanne Terrero, CTC vice
president–Content/editorial director

Even if you know your customers very well, you can assume they have some mysterious thoughts they’re not sharing with you. Here are several ways you can proactively jumpstart conversations to address their inner needs.

They want to know what this whole Airbnb thing is about. They’ve even gone on to the website and spotted out a few homes they’d like to stay in. However, they don’t bring that up when you speak to them about their next vacation. This silence is dangerous; you may lose them next trip if they really want that home experience.

What you can do: When preparing a list of hotels for your clients,  include several that are in the heart of the action and have studio-style suites. State up front to your clients that these hotels can provide that “live like a local” experience of being in an apartment, yet provide great service and amenities at the same time. Another option? Find a trusted home-stay supplier.

They feel you’ve got them pegged and offer them the same thing year after year. You know they’re going to take that annual cruise so you’ve rustled up the newest ships and freshest itineraries for them. They love that you know them, but they have this secret angst that their vacations have become rather vanilla and that they’re never going to go anywhere really exciting.

How you can handle: Do provide that comprehensive list of where to go next for them, but include one or two exotic adventures as well — something they’ve never dreamed about. Push them to go beyond their comfort zone. Even if they opt for a more traditional experience this time, they’ll feel pleasantly challenged by you and toy with the idea of taking a “riskier” trip next time.

They don’t feel like they ever have anything to brag about. At every social setting, their friends are always boasting about the amazing adventures they had on their last trip. They tasted foods they’d never dreamed of, found a shop in an alleyway that sold unique gifts and met a guide who took them to the countryside to visit his family’s farm. You get the picture.

Your solution: Work with suppliers that pride themselves on getting off-the-beaten path. Your client will still want a great hotel and all the comforts of being in a trusted setting, but they’ll also have the chance to explore. Don’t simply accept the supplier’s website; pick up the phone and quiz the company about what that day outside of Rome or London really is like. Is it sitting on a motor coach with 50 people and lining up for a glass of white wine in the middle of a field while their bored tour guide stands around texting his friends? Or is this an itinerary that has been meticulously planned out and vetted to be the real deal? Get to the ethos of that supplier to find out what drives them to create special programs to be sure they’re not delivering the same old “authentic experience.”

Last tip: Your client has a million travel options thrown at them daily. They’re always mulling over where to go next. Stay ahead of that mindset so you can address their unspoken dreams at the start of your next conversation.




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