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NEWS


In a year that has been filled with uncertainty for many retail industries – from Brexit queries


to high street closures – businesses must ask themselves, ‘What sets us apart? Why do our customers come to book or buy with us?’ We asked ourselves that question earlier this


year and the majority of the answers centred around one key theme: customer service and satisfaction. Providing exceptional customer service is


Jacqueline Dobson PRESIDENT, BARRHEAD TRAVEL


Quality service and innovation are a winning combination


something that we as a business have taken great pride in since our inception back in 1975. It runs through the absolute core of our values. We know that innovation is key, keeping up with


market trends is crucial and providing good value for money is non-negotiable in this competitive market. However, each of these elements are incorporated into our strategy as a result of ensuring our customers and their needs always come first. Tere is a balance that must be struck: forward-


thinking innovation and shiny brand-new ideation with good old-fashioned customer service. It’s a winning combination, so long as you never lose sight of how important the later is.


Good service Across our business, we’ve introduced Back to Basics training for all of our employees. We’ve realised the benefits of pausing and reflecting on what good service means and how exactly we deliver it. Barrhead Travel averages a 47% repeat client rate because we know what maters to our customers and personalise each experience. According to Google research, 59% of


millennials would pay more money to tailor- make their trip. Te scope for opportunity in


the millennial market based on that research is virtually limitless as long as you ensure you have the customer service skills, training and expertise to offer true personalisation. Our Back to Basics initiative is designed to


remind our consultants that personal relationships and small gestures can go a long way to retaining customer loyalty. As well as ensuring that every single one of our employees has a training plan designed to continually improve their product knowledge, we recognise that personal growth and customer service sessions are equally as important.


Real-time training Training can range from role plays within our dedicated Training Academy to real-time coaching in our unique Live Pod, which allows consultants to have the full support of our training team while taking real bookings and enquiries from customers. We’ve reintroduced refresher sessions on the real


value of service – such as the importance of good communications with our customers – and we have already seen great results from this. Aſter all, you can introduce myriad new gadgets and invest in countless digital platforms, but if you have not mastered your basics, then you may be fighting a losing batle. Trends will evolve and new technologies


emerge, but offering good customer service will never go out of fashion. We may be reverting back to basics, but having exceptional service running through the foundations of our business is what will prepare us for the next stage of growth.


Read more columns by Jacqueline Dobson: go.travelweekly.co.uk/comment


18


6 JUNE 2019


travelweekly.co.uk


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