For many travel professionals, their most loyal clients are those with whom they’ve developed longstanding relationships. And it’s been said that at the heart of every good relationship you will find effective communication.
Creating “forever clients” doesn’t happen in a vacuum—it requires skillful communication. Technology has produced many modes of communication, yet at the same time, it has also created a disconnect when it comes to the “art” of interaction. Positive interactions are crucial in forging long-term relationships, which can be built only when you know your customers and serve them through adept communication.
Communication works only when everything in the interaction process goes as planned, with the receiver understanding the message in the way it was intended. This vital question should be memorized and recited to every potential client the next time a request is made: “How would you like me to communicate with you?”
Gone are the days when everyone wants to communicate via phone or email—or, for that matter, face-to-face meetings. How you communicate should be based on clients’ preferences, otherwise, you will never know if they received your text message, phone call, or email.
Successful communication starts with understanding customer needs. By identifying those needs, you are showing your clients that you care—and studies have shown that consumers prefer to work with businesses that care.
As an example, Millennials communicate very differently than other generations. If you want to win their business, you need to speak their language. When you ask them how they want to communicate, you are demonstrating to them that their needs are your priority.
Modern VOIP phone systems have the ability to “text” through a virtual phone on a desktop, which appears on computers as a “messenger” method. A recent Forbes article reported that 68 percent of Millennials prefer texting to verbal phone conversations.
Although sending a quote via a text message is not ideal, perhaps advising clients that you will be emailing them and following up with a text would demonstrate that you respect their preferred communication method.
Serving your customers means respecting their requests and trying your best to facilitate them. Those requests need to be conveyed and heard, which requires learning clients’ language and understanding how they communicate.
In the final analysis, it’s well worth the effort to ascertain your clients’ communication preferences. The benefits of effective communication foster understanding, strengthen relationships and build trust.
If you want to build “forever” clients, adhere to the words of the great Tibetan leader Lobsang Tenzin, who said, “Communication will bring understanding and understanding will cause harmonious mutual relationships, which can establish peace and stability.”