It seems appropriate this week to look at how travel organisations handle service and communication issues.
Putting The Customer First
- Any organisation that ramps its prices this week to exploit demand needs to be called out. It is perfectly acceptable to stop discounting but not to double prices. There is already evidence of some hire car companies and hotels doing this.
- Ones that put themselves in the customers shoes, what concerns are they going to have and can they be predicted? Compliments (again) go to First Direct Bank, all holders of their Directory product which includes travel insurance were sent an email assuring customers that the policy covers flight and accommodation related issues.
- Airlines are going to have an interesting challenge as the restrictions lift, how well organised are their rebooking procedures?
Removing Unnecessary Complications
- A common experience on Virgin trains is watching foreign passengers try to make sense of the ticketing policy. The train manager often takes 5 minutes over the pre-departure announcements explaining all the ticket restrictions and then has to tell someone that although they’ve bought a ticket they need to buy another (full price) one.
In all these examples the critical susses factor is communication. Many organisations work under the delusion that if they have nothing to communicate that’s what they should do, nothing.
The amount of communication should be in direct proportion to the level of anxiety the customer is suffering. With extremely stressed customers it’s very difficult to over communicate; through making regular, timely updates expectations can be managed much more effectively.
One of the most difficult things to get right is the balance between procedure and initiative on the part of the front line person. Do they simply say they have no news and act as ignorant as the passengers or do they try to work out some form of coping strategy? Remember, what initiative is – appropriate disobedience.