Thirty Things Your Customers Want You To Know Before They’ll Ever Book A Holiday With You.
How would you feel if your customers said these three TERRIBLE things about your travel business?
Would you care?
Trustpilot published the following six reviews from customers who had very different travel experiences.
Where would your business rank?
But what if they said this about your business instead?
I bet you’d love to have these reviews for every single customer.
Well, you can.
According to Edelmans highly regarded Trust Barometer, the source trusted by the largest majority is “people like me”.
In other words, you and me.
Very few people trust businesses any more and consumers increasingly rely on words and actions of other shoppers to guide their purchases – 1 trillion conversations take place about brands in US every year.
“I don’t trust websites that don’t include product reviews – what are they trying to hide?”
More than 70% of consumers say they trust reviews. 80% of consumers said that they changed their mind after reading negative reviews.
Consumers today know their power of influence and it’s permanently changed their expectations of what they want from businesses. If you’re a travel business owner, you now have to work harder to engage your customers by giving them more attention and personalizing their experience.
So if success today is about building trust through connection, how is your business set up to give your customer a genuine reason to buy that’s NOT based on features, low prices and benefits which anyone else can copy?
The secret to winning in today’s crowded markets is to make customers feel cool and smart in choosing your business.
I’ll show you step by step exactly how to take your business from where it is today and transform it into a business where more customers love you and buy from you even when it’s cheaper elsewhere.
The Three Part Series On Doubling Your Customers and Sales
What follows is a THREE part series on how to build real and lasting trust with your customer to share genuine brand stories associated with their familiar experiences, memories and places.
This series is for you if:
- You’re putting in so much work into creating holidays but lose them to competitors charging lower prices
- Your travel business has been slowly declining and losing money over the past few months and years
- You’re having serious problems acquiring new customers in effective ways that don’t cost the earth
- You have ongoing cash flow problems
- Your team are disillusioned about falling sales and seem to have stopped caring about their customers
- Do you believe you’re losing most of your business to the web based agencies?
- There is an unpredictability about how your business performs that drives you insane with frustration.
A 3 Part Series That Transforms Your Travel Business Into One Loved By Your Customers….And Your Bank Manager.
- Part 1 (this article): Find out EXACTY what your customer is screaming silently for you to do before she spends any money with you.
There’s a checklist at the end of this article of simple steps you can take to immediately improve your customers’ experience. Download and take action – you’ll see results very quickly!
- Part 2: Get right into your customer’s mind. Why she doesn’t buy from you anymore and how to fix it without draining your bank account.
- Part 3: Create a distinct personality for your brand where the stories, events and experiences that you share bonds your customers because they associate YOU with wonderful experiences, places and times in their lives
Then we’ll bring it all together and you’ll confidently use social media YOURSELF (even if you’ve never used social media before or have had ZERO results up to now) to communicate your stories, values, holidays and offers in a genuine way that’s actually HEARD.
You, or someone in your company, will use proven, tried and tested social media marketing tactics, tips and techniques out of the box and apply step by step campaigns to reach more customers, engage them and turn them into insanely loyal fans of your brand!
Here’s part one.
Part One: Listen Carefully. Your Customers Are Shouting At You.
Why do you need loyal rather than just repeat customers?
There is an old saying,
“ Better to know something about your spouse than everything about marriage”.
Repeat business happens when customers return to buy from you on different occasions for a number of reasons that you don’t fully understand.
It may be lower prices, convenience, service on the day or any other reason.
As long as you keep offering deals on price, service or quality, you will obtain a level of repeat business.
Loyal customers on the other hand will turn down better products or cheaper prices, even crossing the street or driving to another town just to continue doing business with you.
Although it takes time and effort to win them, loyal customers are not interested in other alternatives or the competition.
They just want to do business with you.
Research has proven that loyal customers buy more.
Loyal customers dramatically reduce your costs and improve the quality of your list.
The more time you spend talking and listening to them via customer questionnaires, special events, personalized calls and emails, the closer your bonds with them and the feeling that “we’re all in this together”.
Getting loyal customers is a two step process:
First: understand the REAL needs of your target customer.
Second: relentlessly and consistently engage your customers with a combination of genuine content, brand stories that make them feel valued as well as exclusive offers.
Understanding your customers real needs
The more knowledge you gain about individual customers, the more powerful and impactful your marketing will be.
As you then begin to customize your marketing activity, you will notice that your marketing costs are lowered because you’re only communicating to those customers who are very interested in what you’re promoting, which further improves your response rates.
So how do find out what your customers are thinking and what really matters to them?
Sadly, there is no easy way.
You have to ask them!
Here’s what happened when I really wanted to get into my customers’ minds to see if the theories about only selling to customers who “believe what you believe” was correct.
The Secret: Ask and Ye Shall Receive
Soon after setting up my travel agency stores, I interviewed over 50 of my best customers to find out how they felt about our company and our services.
Although I found some of the feedback very painful, I immediately changed the way I engaged with my customers, the way we treated them and how we excited them with the products we sold.
By creating an extraordinary customer experience, our sales rocketed and our phones didn’t stop ringing.
No matter where your travel business is at right now, the responses given by my customers below in which they reveal their innermost emotions, feelings, fears, insecurities and experiences also apply to your business.
I’ve grouped the responses into what were logical headings at the time split between my customers’ feelings and their experience of my business.
Moment of truth
Imagine your fifty best customers in front of you giving you this real feedback.
I grouped feedback from my customers into SEVEN different sections that represented how they felt and about my business:
Thirty things your customers want you to know about them before they buy any holidays or services from you
2. My feelings.
It’s all about me
I’m really a remarkable person and I’m better than everyone at most things so if you make me feel amazing about myself and I feel that “you’re one of us”, I’m more likely to identify with you and maybe buy from you. It’s not hard!
I am more insecure than I admit to anyone and I think most of what goes wrong is someone else’s fault, such as politicians or the bankers, or even your business! If you are sympathetic to my insecurities without mentioning them, I’m more likely to listen to what you have to say about your business. I’m not stupid – I know what’s happening in the world – don’t ram it down my throat!
As a potentially loyal customer, I ought to have much more in terms of service or better deals than I get from you currently. How much is my loyalty worth to you? As a loyal customer, will I benefit from better “early bird” offers?
If I refer my friends and family to your business and you give them amazing service because of me and they know it came from me, it makes me look good in their eyes. If I refer them and you don’t follow up or they get bad service, I’ll be really angry with you and won’t trust you anymore. If I’ve heard about you from people I know, then I’m more likely to give you a try.
I don’t care about what you say in your emails or your leaflets, it’s not about you. It’s always about my needs so don’t forget that! What’s in it for me if I listen to what you have to say?
My Feelings are precious to me
Some of your products are complex and I get anxious about being embarrassed or made to look silly if I don’t understand what you say. I might even pay more if you don’t make me feel anxious or stressed by packaging our holiday into one easy to understand deal.
I’m not really fussed about cost when it comes to my interests, hobbies and things important to me. I just love travelling and sometimes it’s almost an obsession for me. So I hate it when I come in and your staff are pushy about selling holidays and services I don’t want. They should know by now I will pay extra for what I want.
I hate your website. It’s too complicated for me to use, but I don’t want to tell you because it makes me look stupid. Please make it easy for me to use! I just don’t have the time to waste by being dragged all over your site.
I don’t always know what I want when I’m looking for a holiday. You need to be more creative and help me choose. Why can’t you spend more time with me?
Personalize my experience
I’ve bought from you several times now and I would like to receive something from you that no one else gets because I’m loyal to you.
I’ve bought from you twice and I get angry when I see you treating another customer better than me, especially if they’re a new customer. Why do you do that?
When you communicate to me, whether it’s in person, email or newsletter, I like to feel as if you’re talking only to me and not anyone else. It’s so obvious when it’s just a sales blast – you clearly haven’t listened to what I like, even though I told your staff.
Can I really trust you?
You don’t have to be faultless all the time but it’s really important that I can rely on you to do what you say you’re going to do. You promised to send me the sales brochures and they never arrived. You could have rung to check!
I usually don’t trust anyone when I shop because you’re all really the same but show me how I can trust you because I really like what you do. What will you do that’s different to everyone else?
If you earn my trust, I don’t mind if occasionally you mess up or you actually don’t know something as long as I don’t feel you’re taking advantage or making me feel silly. I hate being lied to when I know more about something than you do.
I’m not usually wrong about anything, and if I’m unhappy at you or your staff, it’s because you broke my trust. But if you apologize for screwing up, I’ll really respect you and trust you more as long as it doesn’t happen again.
Creating a sense of urgency with your communications and offers doesn’t mean that I’ll trust you any more or faster. Sometimes the holiday you’re promoting is really expensive and requires more trust so I’m more cynical if you push me. So don’t. When you’re transparent about your intentions, I’m more likely to trust you.
Your Connection with me!
I’m too busy most of the time and some of your material is interesting. At best it reminds me that I need to book a holiday soon (substitute for your product). But if you stop sending me emails at reasonable intervals, I’ll just forget about you and maybe buy online somewhere else.
I could tell you anything you need to know so that I can buy from you, especially if you make it easy for me to tell you, but you never ask me!
Actually, I find a lot of your communication to me very confusing and most are really dull. Can’t you make talking to me clearer and more interesting? If you’re just going to include me as part of an email “blast”, then don’t be surprised that I read it as spam and treat it as such.
I told you I only want to deal with you by phone and I get annoyed when you keep sending me to your website. (You can substitute phone and website for email or store, but the point is that every customer wants the ability to connect with you in the way they feel comfortable).
I’m not convinced that you’re as good as you say you are on service. Ask me and I’ll tell you what I think you’re really good at. (You can substitute service for anything else, e.g. communications, offers, pricing, customer satisfaction).
How I See Your Company
When I call into your store or even if I just call you, I would like you or your staff to be friendly, sincere and helpful at al times, even if I don’t know what I’m talking about (see point 3).
I get really enraged when you or your staff answer the phone while I’m speaking to you or them face to face. It’s disgustingly rude. Don’t you have voicemail? Why do you assume that the person on the phone is more important than someone standing in front of you?
My life is very hectic. If you design your buying process and your holidays in store or online so that it reduces my stress and really saves me time, I’d find that priceless and in some cases, I may even pay extra for that.
Your employees are sometimes rude or uninterested – is that because you don’t treat them well or is it the way you train them? Either way, it’s not professional and makes me very uncomfortable buying from you. Please train them better.
I really like the way you and your staff always greet me by name and always thank me for my business with those lovely hand written notes or when I call them to refer a member of my family. Your staff are so pleasant to deal with, unlike staff at all the other stores in the Mall.
When something goes wrong, take responsibility and just be honest. Apologise rather than make excuses – I don’t really care about why it’s not your fault and actually, I think it’s just cowardly.
Your Products and Services
I really like your holidays and offers but I need to know that I’m getting value for money. Can’t you do a price comparison or something that takes out the hard work I have to do? Don’t give me three or four options – just make it easy for me to buy, will you?
I’m happy to spend money with you, especially on the holidays, but you’ve got to help me be comfortable with my investment. Even better than that, if you can do it in a way that makes me feel good that I got such an amazing deal, then it makes it easier for me to justify the spend next time. I mean, if I spend $7,000 on a holiday, why can’t you give me a small gift for my husband so that he’s OK with me spending that kind of money in future?
The feedback above is both insightful and powerful. No matter what your business, your customers will all have identical or similar feedback about your business.
Use the research above to design how your customers interact with you to give them an amazing experience every time they shop with you and communicate to them in a way that inspires them.
Remember that your company is what your customers see – it’s every thank you, every letter, every email and every delivery you make.
What’s even more important, your communication and marketing are the ONLY view of your company from people who are NOT your customers yet.
So let’s take the thirty feedback points above and create ten principles below that you can use everyday in building profitable, lifelong relationships with your customers.
Your Extraordinary Customer Experience Checklist
Transform Your Customer Experience Into More Sales!
|Your Customer Experience||What Action Will You Take?|
What emotions do your customers feel when they think of booking holidays and how can you engage them and connect with them to tease out those emotions?
How will you make your customers feel valued even if they are not yet ready to buy from you?
What can you do to keep up a great level of communication with your existing and new customers?
What can you do to communicate more frequently with your prospects?
|The Customer Journey – Discovery and Close|
How can you provide a unique, customized experience for each customer?
What will you do to greet ALL your customers warmly and sincerely, whether in store or online?
How will you improve the customer experience of those customers who are in your store compared to those who call you when you are busy?
What can you do to improve the holiday discovery process for customers who aren’t sure of what they want? How do you guide them through a process that you use all the time?
Is your website easy to use and if not, what areas must you improve to improve your customer’s experience?
What reassurances can you offer to your customer when she says, “I need to think about it” or “I need to shop around to compare prices”?
|Risk reduction and closing the sale|
What can you do to reduce any risks and concerns your customers may have in booking with you?
How can you communicate your guarantees and risk reduction as part of your sales process?
What can you do to ensure that every sale has at least one “upsell” such as insurance, excursions or extra packages?
How can you keep your brand at the front of your customer’s mind when she has returned from holiday?
|Your Loyal Customers|
How can you spend more time with your loyal, existing customers?
What gifts or Thank You items will you offer to a loyal customer who buys a high value holiday from you?
How can you help your (loyal) customers refer friends and family to you in an easy to use and understand way?
What is your “Return Path” for bringing back customers after they have bought from you?
|Training for excellence|
What training can you provide to make sure your staff interact with customers warmly, sincerely and professionally every single time?
What incentives can you provide to your team to get the right behaviour to engage your customers and sell more?
Download this FREE checklist here.
Look out for part two, coming soon.
In part two, we’ll get right into your customer’s mind. You’ll learn why she doesn’t buy from you anymore and how to fix it without draining your bank account.
“The best time to start was last year. The second best time to start is right now”.
PS – If you really need urgent help in growing your leads, customers and sales, just reply to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to help, as one business owner who shares the same passion for travel as you do.