A while ago, I had the pleasure of lecturing the Master students at the International School of Hotel Management, Les Roches Marbella in Spain. Whilst on the Rooms Division Management class, we discussed the importance of Customer Service or, as I call it, Customer Care!
Whilst running my own business andcoaching my clients on setting up and managing theirs, I constantly stress the importance of effective and high-quality customer care. This is because in our super-competitive economy, finding an alternative supplier is only a Google search away, the best and most long-lasting way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is by providing unique and outstanding customer care.
At my management consulting company, United Consulting (www.aunitedconsulting.com) I have defined “Problem Resolution” as one of our main KPIs. Every business faces problems, however, how you resolve them is what matters the most. A customer with a complaint should turn out to be your most loyal customer. This is an opportunity, not a problem and should be viewed as such!
Providing excellent customer care starts with a genuine desire to delight your customers. Your team must be empathetic, and service orientated. Expect to deal with people at their worstbut have the goal of returning them to a state of happiness, or at least to satisfaction.
Both leisure and corporate customers are looking for more than a hotel room, an air ticket, or an activity. They are looking for value, not just how much they are paying, but in what they EXPERIENCE while on their trips. According to the Customer Service Benchmark Report, the travel sector currently offers one of the lowest standards of customer service. Travel companies are often ignoring customers and therefore, failing to meet the demands of the modern traveler. The past three years have been a difficult time for the travel industry however, the value of a smooth, efficient customer service function at times like these cannot be underestimated.
Online Travel Agencies are tech companies operating in a different industry – in this case the travel industry. In most cases, automation is used as a way to avoid personal interaction with customers. Being a customer-centric guru, I’ve decided to do things differently and build a travel platform from the customer’s perspective.
The pandemic provided me with the time and space to finally present my own answer to many problems that the travel industry constantly faces. My answer to these was the creation of Ojimah (www.ojimah.com), a Pan African Travel Ecosystem built by the industry for the industry.
As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
By Mike Tavares, OJIMAH