Client Feedback: How to get it and how to use it
You can listen directly here.
For many years, to receive and hear words of praise or thanks gave me an awkward feeling. It was always unexpected. I may need therapy.
In our line of work, receiving POSITIVE feedback can be far fewer notes than receiving negative feedback. Common feedback, "My flight was cancelled." I didn't get the King Bed or the view, my room smelt funny" I know we try to be perfect, and create the 'dream' our clients want, however we aren't always able to achieve this.
Feedback in any business is important. This episode will help you get feedback and use it to your advantage.
You love what you do. I know that. It's not a job, it's a lifestyle, it's a passion.
To hear something back in return is really nice but can also be confronting. Taking the negative feedback is much easier than taking the positive ones. Why? This is because we care. And sometimes, these nice words about you and your business may take you onto a back foot as well.
In this episode, we will be talking about testimonials. It’s really the same as feedback. I will be showing you how important client feedback is to our businesses and how we can get it without the stress surrounding a ‘testimonial’.
Today’s episode will be guiding you on what to do and how to get some of these "good stories" and feedback from your clients.
Links Mentioned in the Episode
Quotes from this Episode
Feedback is helpful for any business that wants to grow and improve"
“We are allowed to take a break however the longer we do that it may mean that as a business we may not come through the other side”
“Appreciation for a customer comes from our heart”
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Announcer: Welcome to Travel Agent Achievers! The place to learn how to grow your travel business and have fun with it. Join Roslyn and her guests as they walk you through proven steps to a fulfilling and profitable business.
Ros: Hey there! Welcome back to another episode of the travel agent achievers podcast. I'm Ros and I am your host.
Thank you to everyone for reaching out over the last couple of months. Sending me your messages and subscribing to the podcast, downloading it and of course just letting me know that you're ok. I am hearing you, I am with you and I know that things haven't been easy.
I want you to know that you will get through this time. It's not something that we've seen before and it's affecting everyone worldwide.
Please, now, I know that we have come through the initial shock and the world has almost come to a standstill, please allow yourself and give yourself some grace and the opportunity to just breathe right now.
We all need it. It’s been really a tough few months.
I will say that, but I also don't want you to become complacent. I don’t want you to fall into a hole though, if you are feeling this way please reach out. I just don’t want you to take your foot too much off the pedal.
We are allowed to take a break and I will give you permission to do so. I know that I need a bit of a break myself.
However, the longer that you do take a break, the longer that you stay away from your business, the longer you actually sit back and watch Netflix or stand and whatever it is that you’re doing, it may mean that as a business we may not come through it strong and you may not even come through the other side.
Unfortunately, it’s the sad truth and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I know that because you listen to this podcast, you subscribe to it, and because you take action. Even if you’re following us on social media, because you use the tools that I put together and provide for you, I know that you will get through this.
I know that you will come through it and as taking action, you’re downloading, you’re reading, you’re listening, you’re putting things into a perspective, you’re going to be on a strong position at the end of all of these.
I believe in you and I hope that you also believe in me to help guide you through this really tough time. We will get through it and we’re going to get through this together. Remember that.
In Today’s episode I want to talk to you about testimonials. It’s something that other people talking about us in a good light. That’s what testimonials are.
I’m sure over the last few months, this has been the last thing on your mind. I'm sure you felt as though you've been kicked in the guts and hurt and there's a real sense of sadness.
For me, I have compared it a little to the grief process. For me there's been anger, shock, sadness, denial, and a real sense of loss. I am talking about your business. I’m ok. Just so you know that. I get it and I have also felt it too.
Testimonials can be really hard to get your head around. Especially when you come from a place of giving. Who we as travel advisors and travel consultants inherently are. It can be hard because we always want to help others, right? We wanna help them achieve their dreams.
We want to help a client get to and experience their dream holiday and travel destination.
To hear something back in return it's really nice, but often can be confronting. Nice words about you and your business, it may take you onto a back foot. I know for me, even after so many many years, it can possibly even shock you a little.
It is a very humbling experience to receive some nice words. It may not come very easy to you to be able to hear it and listen to what other people say about you but I want you to hear it right now.
It’s often easier and our invisible armour can be penetrated really easy when we hear the hurtful things or angry words. I know for me, and like me, I know you guys are as well. It is easier to take criticism than to hear positive words.
Do you hear the positive or do you hear the negative easier? Because, I know for me, I really care about my clients. I take it hard when something goes wrong.
To hear the good words from people you work for or you’ve worked with, or have helped, it can be difficult, because it is often unexpected. You love what you do, you don’t see it necessarily as a job.
You probably got into travel and you are a travel advisor, because you wanted to create a job for yourself. You wanted to create business for yourself, but you willingly did it because it was something you loved to do.
To hear good feedback and what I call client love may not come naturally. So today I am going to help you with this process and what to do and how to get some of these ‘good stories’ and feedback from your clients.
When you get a card in the mail, when you get an email thanking you, do you just put it aside? Do you reply? Do you reply and say “Thank you” or “my absolute pleasure”, whatever that might be. What do you actually do when people say nice things to you, how does that make you feel?
For a number of years, to receive words of praise or thanks, it actually made me quite shy. I honestly didn’t think I was doing anything out of the ordinary. I just felt like I was doing my job, something I LOVED.
That’s just my personality. I am sure it is like yours as well. You are a giver. You care about others and you want to help them. That’s why you do what you do, right? It’s not just about the travel perks though yeah, they’re pretty good, too.
I honestly didn’t hear the words. I would file them away, hide them almost and I didn’t know why but I didn’t feel worthy. OUCH! Right? It was a little bit of a mistake.
What an opportunity to actually fee the goodness, be gratuitous and also use these words to fuel me. I did that for a very long time. And makes me understand and believe that I was providing a service just like you are. And you still are. You are helping other people achieve their dreams.
It was a real turning point for me and humbling experience when somebody told me what I was doing an injustice to myself and my clients for not acknowledging and showcasing those words. Arghhh that hurt, but it also spurred me into action.
A big thing for me was that I didn't actually let the word in and I didn’t hear them or appreciate the gift I was being given. I don’t want that for you.
If this is you though, I want you to know that you are ok. You are an expert. You do take care of others and you are valued. You are destined to achieve the dreams you have set for yourself. And I want you to hear that. I want you to hear it, if you need to replay it, go back and replay it.
But, you are okay.
Not only did I learn to hear the words and accept them, but I also learnt to put a system together and put a system into place. Yeah right, a system! If you go back to my episode with Mayette, she has to beat these things out of me. Mayette’s one of my assistants.
So a system - a process in my business to acknowledge and appreciate the things, words and actions that my clients gave to me willingly. This is a positive experience that I want to share with you.
And I'm going to teach you today the exact steps and the process that we use in our business, because this is one thing you can do right now to bring you to a place of gratitude but also to help you in the future as you build your business.
So the first thing that we need to do and we’re jumping straight inis we need to ask, right? If these aren’t automatically coming to you, this is probably the hardest thing to do, asking.
If you are anything like me, asking for something is really hard. If you haven't asked for testimonials, asked a client about their experience before, I am going to give you questions you can ask. Whether on the phone or via email. To help you alleviate the stress and the anxiety that can come when asking for feedback.
If you get the replies, over the phone I want you to write them down. If by email, awesome. You can then draft these responses into a “testimonial”. In the show notes of this episode, I will have a link to the download, or you can go to www.travelagentachievers.com/episode24 to download these specific questions.
Now remember that not everybody’s going to come back to you. iIn order to get let’s say 10 testimonials, you need to make sure that you’re asking at least 15 people. Because this gives way for people who don’t reply, or they don’t want to give any testimonials or decline for you to use the reponses.
Use these questions that I have in the download to gather answers. You can choose, alleviate or even amend some of them. They are leading questions I will give you, so that the responses that are returned are not just a yes/no answer.
You want the specifics details and when you have the specifics you can use these for your future marketing. Now if you ask the questions and you don’t have to ask all of them, pick only a few. I
f you are on the phone, you will need to write down the answers. Sometimes that is really hard as you forget what they have said. I know for me, if somebody has said something really nice over the phone, I might have to catch myself and say “Sorry, what did you say again?” I know it’s really silly.
If it is a written response, then you will be able to take the time to read the response. Email is often a lot easier. But it’s also one that you need to do more of in order to get more responses back.
The language you use to also get a testimonial is also different. I prefer to use feedback, as it allows the person an opportunity to think of a response, not be pressured to perform.
A testimonial is something that I can often think as “Oh my gosh, I need to perform, I need to say something really good in order for that person to hear it. Now whether that is for an experience or something that I’ve purchased, a feedback allows me to be honest.
Make sure to grab these questions, get and the freebie from this episode, go to www.travelagentachievers.com/episode24 and we will also have this on the shownotes of the episode for you.
The hardest part of this process I think is actually asking for the feedback in the first place and this is all it is if feedback if it comes back to you in a positive light then you can use that. Feedback is always positive right?
The reason why it’s always positive? Is because you can always improve. And if feedback comes back to you and you may think that it’s a positive light, it gives you the opportunity to do better next time.
It also gives you an opportunity to thank that person for being honest with you. Because that is all you want, their honest and true response.
Okay, so you’ve got the questions, right? And you’ve already sent out these questions in an email to your clients.
Ok so the second step, once you have received responses - remember you can’t just ask for one, but this could be a process you set up for EVERY client!
In The 67- Step guide Process, once you’ve received it or you received the inquiry, you have this. This is one of the things that we do for every single client. Now that you have a response, what do you do with it?
I personally have a folder on my email which is titled “client love” You can also have “testimonials” if you want for ease of remembering. This is a really simple system whereby you have the feedback and a place to store it.
Now don’t get into the trap of receiving the response, replying with a thank you, now we have to dig a little deeper and see what words they have used and formulate it into a reply back to them, so you can ask for permission to use their words for future use.
I also have a spreadsheet and I copy the words that the client has said, their email address, a link to a photo if I have one or have one off their social media page and whether I have their permission to use their words.
Once you have their words, you can now formulate a short response, if you don’t think you can use the exact wording they have replied with. It’s ok to cut a word out, but you need to ask for their permission. As an example. You may have asked the following question.
- “What’s something you like about having a travel agent organising your travels?
Their reply may be:
- “It was so easy, I didn’t have to think about a thing and I trusted the recommendations. “
Now, that's a great response, However you can’t really use those exact words for a testimonial.
You now formulate this to say:
- “ Working with Ros was so easy. I didn’t have to think about a thing and I trusted her recommendations.”
I haven’t changed anything about the response, just repurposed it to make sense when someone else is reading it.
Once you have this formulated response to a question you have asked, and you don’t have to do it for every question, you can then reply to the client , appreciate their responses and how it helps with being better at what you do and how you look after your clients and and ask if you can use the above text.
Make sure you copy and paste the words you have rearranged and add it to the email. Finish off, by asking their permission.
You really should ask for their permission so you can use their reply.
Now if feedback comes to you automatically, like a client has just emailed you with thanks, or they sent you some flowers or a gift or something. Please send them a thank you. Even if tey’ve sent you a postcard, you can still take some of their words or even just a photo of their gift and use it with thanks and gratitude.
I wouldn't suggest using all of their words because it might turn into a bit of a letter so grab some of the words that they've used put it in an email send it to them and just say
“Hey I really appreciate the kind words that you've given me following your trip thank you. If it's ok with you I would love to be able to share this on my business social media pages is that ok?”
Those can be simple and easy emails to send somebody because all they do is write back and say sure no problem or yes go ahead or no. Remember if they come back and say they don’t want the words used, or they don’t reply at all. It’s ok.
If a client sends you a gift, what I love to do as soon as that arrived is take a photo of it I send it to my clients via text or via email and just say thank you so much. This means the absolute world to me and you've made my day.
I am honestly humbled when someone goes out of their way to send me something. It means they have taken the time and thought about me and they’ve done it because they want to.
Appreciation for a customer comes from our heart. If we don’t have clients and customers, we don’t have a business. So make sure you also take the time to thank them too. This also helps with referrals and repeat business.
So now we have words, or a photo, what do you do with it?
If you're like me and you have social media channels and you also have an email list, which I do hope you have, you can use the client's love, customer testimonial or feedback as social proof showcasing the person that you are and the business that you have.
I spoke about social proof a few weeks ago and the things that happened in Australia that was a perfect highlight of it. Remember - Coronavirus hit and Toilet paper became almost obsolete here!
The media highlighted the fact that people were stocking up and I am sure that by the end of the week your shelves were also empty. I hope I'm not alone here, but at the beginning of the week, I thought those purchasing and stocking up were crazy.
Within a couple of days I think I was looking at my own stock levels, then friends were telling me they were buying, then family and then it became scarce in the shops! It was a frenzy!
The Social aspect here was the way you heard about it, looked at your own situation, heard more from friends, questioned your own beliefs and then if you needed to, did you take action or sit back.
The word of mouth is powerful. This is the same in business. You have people talking good things and that will get shared. You have people talking smack and rubbish it could also have a negative impact but I’m not talking about that here because you are going to be the star of your own show.
That's a crazy story and probably put Australians in a bit of a negative light and around the world. People were laughing at it. I get it however it is a classic example of social proof and that is exactly what you're testimonials and your client words and the client appreciation information that you have is going to give to others whether they purchase from you or not.
You will see that as you start to talk about the words and the things that your client have done for you other people will jump onto it because hearing good news stories and good things and more than one person speaking about something it is the proof that the story is correct or the story is good or the story is worthy of other people sharing it.
I know when I put up a video or a testimonial on my social media pages, it gets shared a lot more, it gets a lot more comments, it gets a lot more love and more eyeballs on it. And that’s what you want.
So what do we do with these words? How can you use these to your advantage?
I have spoken about Social Media a lot of time. My personal opinion is that you obviously need to have social media business specific pages. I know that you already have a Facebook business page and you have an Instagram page that you only use for business and that you do have some sort of an email list. Three things - that's all you need to get started.
When using social media, putting together images, I'm sure you've heard of a tool called CANVA if you haven't it's ok, go to www.travelagentachievers.com/canva and check it out. There, you can put together professional looking social media images and it's really easy to navigate and understand.
We use canva for our social media images. On their site, they even have some basic training on how to use this and my team has done it as well. We have the PRO account, which is an awesome business investment, as we have a number of templates we use as well as our branding loaded into it and also our company colours and things.
We use it for the majority of images across our business. By being a pro member you also get access to additional templates and also images. We love it. So if you just go to our website/canva. You can see it there.
On the basic account as well, they have templates already in there that are set up specifically for Facebook and Instagram image sizing. So if you're using this platform in addition to any others you can upload images or find images at text to them.
As I said, we have set up templates so we can specifically use this for ‘testimonials’ if I have an image of my client I can upload that as well but basically it's just a template that I can add the words and my client's name to and it looks very professional. It's very consistent with our branding and I can use that on my social media channels.
You have the words and replies now from your clients, so now we simply add that sentence into the template and we can post these! I also know the client details from their social media pages as well because I want to be able to tag them in the post. I have that information in my Google sheet too.
Once you have your image designed you are now ready to use it. We have a series of images ready to go at any one time. We don’t just post them all at once, obviously, that may look a little indulgent.
We have our Social Media calendar set out, so these can be drip fed into the calendar at specific times. Whether that be weekly or every other week. This is totally up to you. You may dedicate one day as a client love day, and you either have a testimonial, or you wish a client a fabulous bon voyage and holiday?
If you are unsure about how to do this getting your Social Media in order, check the show notes for other resources and how you can put one together so that you can actually get this done for your business..
Planning out your social media calendar, preparing it, how and where to grab information to use is important. It stops the overwhelm of what to post and gives you the opportunity to look at what your clients want, what you need to talk about and ways you can expand your business easily through partnerships and a set flow.
Having a plan really does stop the “OMG - what do I post today?” It stops the overwhelm.
You start to look more structured, professional and the message you are getting across is exactly what your clients are looking for right now.
I don’t post things that are irrelevant and unprofessional. I speak from my brand. If it is a fun brand and you showcase your personality, then let that come through. Your clients will relate to you and your posts as they will see you in them. Your business is a reflection of you.
If you can, also try and tag your client in the post. We do this again for Social Proof. That it is an actual person. You are appreciating and calling someone out in a positive light. Your message in the text of the post will come from the heart of who you are and what you do to take care of your clients. Others will see this, respond, relate and also share the love.
As I said, sharing my client love or my testimonials, they are my most shared posts.
If you want a little extra step here why not send a physical postcard or a physical note to your client in the mail. Right now one thing that we're all loving is to go to the post office or go into your post box and collect the mail.
It’s random right? and it's really bringing our childhood back to life. I certainly remember how as a child, I would run to the mailbox each day and see if a letter from my pen pal had come. Gee, that makes me feel old. Who else had a penpal?
My fingers now ache when I write a few cards, it's much easier to type, but we didn’t have that back then (I’m not that old I promise) haha. I am loving sending cards at the moment, as a show of appreciation. Coming from a place of gratitude. It has really turned the mess of the last couple of months to a good place.
This is an extra step, but the extra details are what will set you apart moving forward. These little things that don’t take long to do are going to take you to the forefront of your clients mind the next time but they are booking travel. They’re also going to tell other people about what you have done.
Good news stories, that is what we want to see right now.
Other places that you can use these images or these words are on your website. On your website it doesn't have to be a beautiful curated image it can simply be the text that a client has written and their name and photo if you have it.
When you have a look at the number of different websites you often see a line on the website that has customer love or testimonials. It’s just the words and a photo right?
Does this make you feel more connected? Do you believe the words said? It is again social proof that that business is ok. You can also use testimonials in your marketing materials.
I know these steps will help you get started if you haven’t already. Do you do anything different? Do you have ideas on how you use your testimonials? How to get them as well?
Feedback is helpful for any business that wants to grow and improve. I know you want to re-grow and improve your travel business. And I believe you WILL.
We also gather the testimonials as we go, we don’t send out a hundred emails all at once, however if you need to and you do this at this time, it's ok. I just want to ensure you have a system, a flow or a process to get them. Use this time now to focus on your business, not as you have, just worked in it.
It’s time to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. For me, I am a planner and an organizer, I don’t like planning about something a night before, it’s too stressful, right?
I don't like having to think about something the night before as I said before regarding posting images or posting something on social media I like to be prepared. That's just who I am. We may miss days and that's ok but it's having a system and a process so that you can use this information for building your business.
That’s what it all comes down to, ways to build your business and make it better. Whether that's your sales process, your marketing funnels and process, your systems and what you actually want your business to look like with a plan to follow.
I want your clients to know you are still there, you will be and are ready to take bookings and you will help guide them on this journey as you have already been doing. As soon as we can travel again you will be at the forefront of mind to build those dream holidays.
I want clients to come to you. The reason why I want them to come to you is because you are ready to take action and you will take action to help strengthen your business.
Right now, as an industry we're in a phase of hibernation. This is a perfect opportunity for us to actually look at the processes and systems we have in our business. The things that we can do better because as soon as those gates open as soon as the door's open as soon as our borders open we will travel again.
If you want some extra help and guidance to ensure you are ready for this next phase, then go to our website. I have a 6-week Travel Business Rebuild Runway program, starting Monday 11th May.
Specifically for you, The travel agent. I put this program together, as I mentor hundreds of small businesses each month. I also have a travel business and I understand the frustrations and the things you need to move forward.
I understand the steps you need to do in order to make your business stronger to be ready when the door's open. To be prepared and have a business model that will help you in the future.
It's a 6-week program, so each week we will focus on one thing whether that's marketing, sales, clients, finances, your new business vision and what you want for your business.
Each week will help you with a part of your business that you can be ready. Take that next step and go out to the world when it is time to start re-booking travel.
Right now it's very quiet but it's a perfect opportunity for us to work on our business when we can't work in our business.
To access all the details - go to the website: travelagentachievers.com/6weekrebuild
The program will start on the 11th of May. If you jump in now you'll be able to secure an early bird price. If you are on our email list, you get a special code.
If you do miss the beginning, don’t worry, if you aren’t ready yet, it's ok. Even though you won’t do the MasterClasses live, you will still have access to the replays as well as all the tools, checklists and workbooks we have for you to then come back to and do at your own pace.
On a Monday I’ll be running a masterclass then on a Friday we also have a mini Mastermind and accountability call to check in and see how you've gone with that week's task. I'm going to help you throughout the week, I'm going to be there to support you and you are going to rebuild your business so that you are ready to absolutely Rock your business.
By taking the steps now, your clients are going to be there for you when we return to being able to travel again, plus you will be in a better position to get new clients just by doing some of the things we will be doing as part of the program.
Thanks for listening, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast, download the free cheat sheet and check out the upcoming 6 Week Rebuild your travel business program. I'd love to see you join us. see you soon, stay safe and keep well.
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Jump on in and book your individual strategy coaching sessions with Roslyn.