Heads up, think positive, lead by example and rebuild your business!
It is a crisis, yes it really is. And even after more than 40 years in the travel industry, involved on almost all continents, I cannot remember a crisis of such a depth. And we all are shocked; and it is justified that we are shocked. In comparison, Lehman Bros. in 2008 as well as 9/11 in 2001 did not have such an impact on the world economy and on our travel industry like the 2020 Corona crisis. Not to mention all the personal impact on so many of us.
But I think it is high-time to talk about the current situation, to try to spread positive messages and give advice to my colleagues and customers. We have to restart thinking positive, refocus on what needs to be done, see how we can work on the pre-corona problems and to find ways to drive the industry in the times, everybody calls now the “new normal”. And, furthermore, try to identify the potential problems of the post-corona era.
This is why I started this blog here.
Tell your customers you are alive!
Have you been in contact with your customers recently or have you been far too shocked to even think about your customers?
Please, believe me, it is high time to get back to your customers and tell them that you still care.
Did you already operate a newsletter or even a newsletter platform? If no, get one. If yes, reactivate it. Further, please update the data of readers; correct the names as well as the email addresses. In case you still have other team members around, let them help you:
- Go through all (paper) booking files of 2019 and 2020 and get the data into that system
- Run a GDS query in order to download all email addresses in you 2018 and 2020 reservations, update the newsletter system as well
- And yes, think about the future whilst executing these both tasks: make a plan for the future for either a work-a-around or an automatism. Don’t forget: the customer is the real treasure. To gain a new customer costs much more efforts, power and money compared to maintain and “keeping” the customer
My very next step would be to design and setup a Marketing campaign. This campaign should include all channels like newsletters, social Media but also WhatsApp. The road book could look like this:
- Tell them you are alive. Refresh the memory about your own location, phone, web, Mail and WhatsApp and tell your customers you are not hiding behind any bush
- It is a good time to explain how extremely important it is to have an independent and serious broker; broker for services and (very important just now!) a broker for honest and valid information, considering all the fake news which is currently spread around the globe
- Make it very clear: customer service and customer care have a special dedicated meaning to you and your business. This was and will be the foundation of your business.
- Tell your customers what you are doing at the moment and don’t forget: spread a positive message. It might be how you assist in your neighborhood to assist those who are less privileged. Or the training you are conducting for your staff. Or how you treat ticketed and unticketed PNRs. Explain your customers what you do and how you -in the very best positive sense- use the days to make your business ready for the re-start.
That’s a good one for another advice: ticketed and unticketed PNRs. Please run reports of unused tickets or coupons and also of unticketed PNRs. Get in contact with your customers and talk about the refund situation. Do good things and talk about it: You need to have a 100% fully transparent workflow, which you report in certain intervals to your customers. Make them aware what you do, how much phone calls, emails, letters you are writing to make them aware: You deserve the title to be awarded as the “customer care taker 2020”.This will pay back later.
Also run reports about future tickets and non-tickets PNR’s and do the same. Talk with your customers and confirm the conversation additionally in writing; always give them the feeling how amazingly professional and care taking you are!
And last but not least: Rework your email signatures and make them look very professional. As professional as you are!
Read next week: Focus on Social Media