The 3 Step Process Behind Creating an Incredible Customer Experience for your Travel Clients with Michelle Pascoe
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At the centre of a travel business is the service provided to clients. Nurturing relationships, building trust. One of the things I love about Travel Businesses is that the personal connections we have can create opportunities for others to fulfill their travel dreams. Helping people.
Our guest for this episode is one of the Hospitality Industries most sought after speakers and trainers. She educates, advises and evaluates venues, management staff and ground floor operators to champion the Customer Service Experience.
In our travel businesses this in turn can help grow through referrals and repeat clients.
Michelle Pascoe founded one of Australia's most respected training companies, Optimum Operating Procedures Pty Ltd (OOPS).
In this episode of the Travel Agent Achievers Podcast, Michelle provides insight, big ah ha moments and reminders to help us create an unforgettable customer experience for our travel clients.
Expectation. Experience. Evaluation.
We talk about these 3 E's behind creating an incredible customer service experience. Listen in to learn more about each of these areas and how you can implement strategies to assist in creating magical experiences for your travel clients.
Michelle also discusses with Ros about “FLOW”. What this is, and how it can help you improve your approach to handling your business. It's important to make sure that we make the most of every guest, every visit and every experience.
With all that's happening at the moment in the travel industry, especially with more borders opening, your clients need you. They are not coming to you just for the service that you provide but because of the person and the business that gives them an amazing experience.
Make sure you stay up to date with the podcast by subscribing and downloading our free resources and checklists to help you with your travel business and let us know what you want to learn about to help your travel business grow. https://travelagentachievers.com/
Links Mentioned in the Episode
Quotes from this Episode
“Learn from experiences and change things or do things better, like we are, as business owners, we have that opportunity to adjust and keep doing more of the things that we do really well and keep working on the things that we could be doing better”. - Roslyn Ranse
“We are all human and we're all learning” - Roslyn Ranse
“The little things can make such a big difference”. - Roslyn Ranse
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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: Hi, everybody, welcome back to the Travel Agent Achievers podcast. It's Ros, your host here. And today we have a very special guest for you. Somebody who I've known for a number of years now. I admire her greatly. And if you are watching the recording of this on YouTube, or you see some of our photos, we're actually twinning today, which is super cool. We're twinning in our outfits.
Nothing was organised, I promise you. All right. So I'll give you Michelle's formal bio, but then I'm going to tell you a little bit of a story about how she and I met as well.
So Michelle Pascoe lives and breathes her passion for customer service, mystery shopping, and team motivation. She's an experienced businesswoman and specialist in every aspect of service operations and processes and their impact on the customer experience. One thing is that I love customer journeys. In 1994, she founded one of Australia's most respected training companies, Optimum Operating Procedures and Services (OOPS) to break it down. Now, that's a thriving provider of mystery shopping, service benchmarking, surveys and focus groups, competitor audits, staff training and leadership development, Michelle does so many different things.
She's also applied the very tips and techniques that she presents in achieving her own business success as well. She's an international certified speaking professional and an accredited trainer and author. Michelle combines her extensive experience and specialised knowledge with an absolute commitment to igniting the potential in each and every individual so that they can achieve outstanding results for themselves. Her programme participants from across the registered club industry, hospitality, manufacturing, real estate, automotive, self-storage, government, and professional service sectors, walk away from her presentations, feeling inspired, educated, and equipped to deliver outstanding customer service experiences, which is why this is really timely, her key focus and passion pertain to service delivery and the expectations of the 21st-century customer.
This is done through mapping the journey of today's customer. And she believes that no matter what industry you're in service is the key point of difference in creating the essential human connection. Remember that human connection everyone, the emergence of the extreme customer who is connected, competitive and optimistic and relentless in their pursuit of value. It's driving changes in how businesses and even large corporations deliver their product or service. Michelle, welcome to the Travel Agent Achievers podcast. I am thrilled that you are finally here, my friend.
Michelle: Thank you for having me and your wonderful listeners. I'm going to enjoy this time spent with you and listening.
Ros: We're so lucky. Now you and I met back in I can't remember what was it? 2017 or 2018 2017. And yeah, we were in. We're in San Diego together at an Amy Porterfield event. And when Amy, you know, said, you know, where is everybody from here? And what's everybody doing? She said, Well, you know, where's people from? And you and I yelled out Australia, and we were the only two Australians in the room. I couldn't allow that lucky way, you know, and working with her quite closely. I mean, I continued the education with her through a small mastermind program but at that time, you and I were able to connect and we ran across the room to each other and we're like, Oh, my God, we've got a number of other friends in common. And you and I also work very closely with another good friend of ours, Tina tower and have been around many different programmes. I'm surprised that we hadn't actually met prior to San Diego.
Michelle: I think we've probably been aligned yes many years beforehand, but it was actually just having that conversation. So that just shows you when you're out there around the world and that's why we need tourism desperately. You just meet people even though you know we're very close within a few hours travel distance by car. We have to meet each other on the other side of the world, which is fantastic.
Ros: Absolutely. So my background is all hospitality and tourism. And I was only looking at this at the end of last year, you know, growing up and my high school job was at McDonald's. And to be honest, I loved it. I thought it was the best training for me. You know, I was crew trainer of the year, I was party hostess of the year I was, yeah, I was all the things because I just loved it. I loved kids, I loved training, I love training other people and I went into management as well before moving into the hotel industry. And then, you know, travel, tourism, hospitality, I've lived and breathed it.
And when somebody was asking me, you know, what's your background Ros? I feel very confident in saying, you know, I love what I do. I love working with people. I'm you know, definitely a people pleaser. Some people say that's a good thing and a bad thing. But you know, I get my energy around other people, even though I can often be an introvert as well.
But I wanted for you to come on today.
So I'm so grateful that you're here because your passion is around customer service, customer experience across all the industries as well as your own background? And can you tell me a little bit more about what you've done over the years? Yeah, well, you know, just so you know, the purpose of Lanie goes for about 30 minutes, and is checked out on the cheap version.
Michelle: Yeah, I know, I know. Very similar to yourself, I didn't start off as a younger person working in fast food, because really, that being a little bit all about more than I think that there but didn't work in the hospitality industry in the 1980s. And I was fortunate enough to be living in Perth at the time during the America's Cup.
And so I was the hostess of the Matilda Bay restaurant. And I think that's where I've found my claim to fame as well, I'd always known I'd love to talk. And I'd been a professional speaker for a number of years. But it really took me out and into that place as she's creating that experience, particularly for an establishment like that. And then at the Menzies hotel in Sydney, running some very large functions when the functions coordinator there and the restaurant coordinator, it was yes, she could sell them a product, you could sell them a service as you do in tourism, but it was how it was delivered. It was the memories that were created.
And that was that experience that then had them returning and recommending. So, you know, a few years down the track, I was in a position with two very young children who didn't want to be travelling to Sydney anymore, and certainly not being able to work long hours at night with two small children.
So I decided to establish my business purely as a training company on that front line, and then leadership development. And then it was only a few short months later, I realised I really now need to assess not only my training, but others. So I created my own proprietary software.
When I say I created it, I had an all in my head. And then I found this lovely young man who I have now turned totally grey with glasses in the same back to him all those years ago. This is what I would like him to be powerful, it's going to be good. It's going to be full of debt. But it's going to be qualitative, because as you know, in tourism you can have great scores. And I'm sure you know many of your listeners may have been mystery shop have heard about it. But our reports can be 600 pages.
So they're looking at every aspect of the business. But a score is one thing, you have to have the qualitative information, you know, if you if you stand in line, if you go to a restaurant, and everybody's queued up, and you ask those people, what's your biggest issue about this restaurant, they will complain about the queuing. And so you'll get a really low score. But if you go to another place at the restaurant where they're enjoying the meal, so that's where quantity where it's just as debt can be very skewed, I want to hear about a staff member who may be having an issue and that she was long, but how has that frontline person actually connected with the people in that line and created this amazing experience.
So even though the score might be 30, the quality of that information and how the credit experience has given them 100%. So that's why I always wanted to create this reporting system where we both had qual and quant and real time data. And then, of course as the years have gone on with professional speaking here in Australia and in America, you know, before all this happened, you know, the last stage was at the big conference Gaming Expo in Las Vegas at the end of 2019. And I think probably like a lot of your listeners we were there. As you know, I flew to the states five, six times a year to speak or attend conferences. And looking back now. I really took it as just a thing.
Ros: Yeah, I just did it. You just do it. You just did it.
Michelle: You know I've been travelling with all of my Life and even, you know, one of my churches has travelled with me, you know, out now, but I know, as you know, we now start to go out, I'm going to look at it very differently through these lens of it truly is a privilege to travel.
And I think that's where I'm really going to love chatting with you today Ros is because it's something that we've always perhaps just had, or we just do it. And I know for others it was that wow. And, you know, obviously these people on these game shows going, I just want enough money to go to, you know, London to see my family.
And when I seriously just go, Yeah, that's me out mirrors now it's looking at it is a privilege. And it's an honour to be able to board a plane, go to another country and experienced that. But of course, as we're going to talk about today, it all starts with yourself and your listeners, what do they provide? And what's that experience that starts? Yeah.
Ros: Oh, my gosh, I'm so glad that you've started with that. Because, as travel advisors know it, because it's a natural thing for us. And I agree, it is a privilege for us to be able to travel. And I know that, you know, those that I work with in a part of our community, the heart is in travel, and we want people to explore this incredible planet that we live on.
Because there is so much to learn, as well as experience. And certainly, you know, for travel advisors, we get that opportunity. And the big reason why most people become a Travel Advisor is because they love travel themselves and have that passion.
So I mean, definitely talking to you today, I know that you've travelled a lot yourself. It's certainly bringing to mind, you know, the experience? And how can we not necessarily, or not take it for granted that we have been able to do that? Sure. We've all been grounded for the last couple of years, and we haven't been able to do it. But where can we, you know, get that passion back across but treat our clients and customers with, you know, the enthusiasm and the excitement that this isn't normal for everyone to know that that's right.
Michelle: And, and it's respecting, and I think you're right, you know, it's, it's building that human connection. But it's also realising when there is a problem is how you handle that, because customer service and experiences, everyone always thinks, oh, it's the status, the first impression. That's the lasting impression. Yeah, how moments, but it's also how you handled that service recovery.
And so you know, whether we get a chance to talk about this today or later on service recovery is key, because you have to think about whether there was a human with emotions behind that. And I know I don't have to tell your listeners and and the clients that it is very heightened that emotion is very heightened at the moment, do we cancel? Do we pass for a refund? Do we leave it till next year? Do we go do it? And what do we need? And I know you know, the 1000s of questions that you must be fielding each and every one of you every day, you probably feel like just having a cassette tape, but just like okay
Ros: I hear you with that. But I was just on a call this morning with the Travel Agent Achievers community, we had a Facebook and our monthly Coffee Connections and catch up session. So on Facebook Live and on Zoom, and we were just able to share a coffee and 30 minutes together to kick off our day. But one thing that I have been hearing over and over again, and this is also in the last couple of years is it's like it's a kick in the guts. And I felt it too.
So all those questions that are coming in, and potentially accusations from clients on their emotions are really heightened. You know, we take that personally, and we take it on board because we want the absolute best for our clients. We want them to have these experiences. We also want our suppliers to be there at the end of the day. And we've seen companies closed down and hotels closed down and you'll probably see this as well. There's big turmoil and struggles and things that are going on across both industries in Hospitality and Tourism and Travel and all the rest of it. But I know for travel advisors, it's always been exhausting. But at the same time, you know, we just want to get back out there and there is some trepidation there is some nervousness there is the anxiety around we want to make sure we get this right for our clients. And I think that that's also drawn with delays and getting back to people and I will know we're going to speak about because we want to get it right with such perfectionist if we send somebody to you know, this is the one thing is we've got to make sure that we're sending them to Sydney, Australia, not Sydney, Canada. attention to details. So minute little things like that, that it does take a lot more time and energy in order to make sure that it's done properly for our clients. Yeah, but I want to let's, let's even just start there, like the customer experience. You know, share your experience like you've previously worked with travel professionals, like how is your travel history?
Michelle: I'll get back getting on my first trip I went to New Zealand as a very, very young child in 1969. That was my first international travel where all was magnificent. You wore your best outfit, or hat, your gloves because I was a little girl.
Ros: I'm gonna do that next month.
Michelle: Beautiful printing more menus in economy. Of course, you went up to the cockpit and met the captain cuantas fly back. I've got everything. You know, I'm a bit of a hoarder. But that whole experience. See, I can still remember that. Yeah, it wasn't the turmoil of driving from here to get to the airport. These were semi rural. It was an experienced pain. And that connection that the travel agent had sold us. You know, it's just a mother, myself or my grandmother, you know that she hadn't been out of the castle. My mother hadn't been because my grandmother had from shovelling from overseas, but a lot. But it was that experience. But that's where it starts. And that's where I would like to start this conversation because I know, Roz, you were talking about mapping the journey that you were sharing with your travel agents, achievers today and in past recordings. It's going back that step further. Where does that mapping of a journey begin? Now? As you know, I've done a couple of Disney Institute courses in 2018.
Ros: I know how cool our Disney expert here. And I love that you've done it. You've Mickey's and everything too, right?
Michelle: I have got two sets of Mickey D's. I've got two certificates. I actually love that there's a customer experience Summit. But unfortunately, nothing is live until next year, and then I'll come back on Can You Supply that? What was one thing I picked up from there. And being all these years of hospitality, which is so closely aligned to tourism, is that I asked your listeners to draw a line on a piece of paper. And I want them to clearly look at the flow of so FL O W. So the F is the first impression. So if you go to the far left hand side of that line, what are all the touch points? Now when you start that first impression? Is that, you know, for some that are quite big, or is it a billboard? Is this a website? Your marketing?
Ros: Are you saying so the first impression in your marketing? And they even before booking on before an inquiry? I don't even know. I can't they don't even know you? This is okay. Right. Right.
Michelle: They do. What will they find when they Google? Oh, have you ever Googled yourself?
Ros: Yeah, I have. And I've also done a few little things as well to tweak that you know, the about.me page and making sure that your Google profile and everything's up to date. I'm still working on a Wikipedia page isn't to say that myself.
Michelle: But you're amazing. A lot of people will think Oh, Michelle, you're getting too serious. But I know because I deal with multi generations in the hospitality industry. You know, I train people from 18 to 81. But each of them look at different, like social media for different reasons. About one broad one that they all are really off is they'd like to dig deeper into somebody when you're a travel agent. I see you as a true connection. You are an extension to me.
Ros: I'm an extension of you. I'm an extension of your team. I'm an extension of your community.
Michelle: Again I'm living vicariously through your trip. I will be a hopeless travel agent the same as owning a lolly shop going to eat all the lollies. When you think about that, you've got to think within they will dig deep into your social media. So that toe touch point because so many of you as you were saying that are in your group and listening to this our home base operators what are those social media story?
As lovely as it is you have some photos of you travelling but if you're lying back in a lie low going up a creek thinking a couple of things and as lovely as that may be for your personal friends and having fun not I'm not judging that. But how will that be judged by somebody that's going to be putting money into an account online to you.
So this is where we have to think about personal judgement, rightly or wrongly, we all do it. So that touchpoint that's that very first one. And then I want you to then go through that. So that should be a touch point, then your first impressions, the telephone call, the email response, is it just a casual pace? Or do you actually read the email from the person? I did this as a mystery shopper a few years ago for the recreational vehicles Association.
Yeah. And I wrote off to 20 caravan sites, like big resorts around Australia, and only one bothered to respond to my actual inquiry. The rest of the work, Yep, got those days, it was just cut and paste. And I put it up on the screen in the print on this, this one, but I go to you. And while it was funny, so I want you to look at that.
Ros: Okay, so just touching on that and the number of advisors over the last couple of years, we've had to get a second job, or, you know, do something different before they even get into the travel stuff. There are others that have been able to continue to hold their business, or they've had to do to the amount of cancellations and refunds and those sorts of things, which is where we were talking about before the kick in the guts and, you know, the, the energy just feels really down. And we're trying to flick that switch back into positivity.
So what you're saying is that first impression when we get an inquiry or when somebody sends us a message, because now people can contact us everywhere. Yeah, it needs to be personal. And it needs to be prompt.
Michelle: Yes, it does need to be prompt. And you may think I'm old fashioned, but it's etiquette. Manners. If somebody sends you an email, and they go, Hi, Ross, I'm just inquiring about a trip to, you know, Darwin. I'm wishing to go in June. Could you give me some idea? Now, I understand that Roz may not be up at 2am. In the morning, when you make me think, what am I doing?
So you're on your phone, you're making an inquiry. But I would like a response. Even if you are busy for two days, you may be at a functional event yourself. Just a quick email, just write back. Hi, Michelle, thank you for getting in contact. Just let you know. I'm out of the office for the next few days. I will contact you on Monday morning. 10 o'clock sushi.
Ros: Yeah. So what can you do? I mean, can you if you've got any advice or tips for some of us, but you know, the emails, there are like 100 a day that are coming in, and they just build up and build up and build up and you physically can't get to them are automated emails.
Michelle: Okay, what would you say? I think I think automated a fine if you're going to be out of the office. And if you know that you're going to be out of the office between nine and five on Thursday, put it on, you can change those automations every day, that doesn't have to be a holiday. And just say, honestly, thank you for your inquiry. Justin, you know, I'm out of the office on Thursday. I'll be returning on Friday.
And I'll be working through my emails. Thank you. Once again, I really appreciate you contacting me, like make it thoughtful. But I'll tell you why. On Friday, when you're back in the office, you ring me or you email me again. Yeah. Because once you start to drag on that, just go to somebody else. And I know you're all busy, but you have to, you have to acknowledge it's just like when you walk into a business, if somebody is behind the counter, and they're talking or they're on the phone and they haven't acknowledged you what happens.
Yeah, sorry, level growth, you're gonna start to get a little bit ticked off. It comes across a little bit antsy, because your levels are rising, or you have to acknowledge and that's the same as when it's on email, just acknowledged. Hey, Robert Scott, the email, that's fine. I can relax now. I'm not going to go and shop somewhere else. And listen, oh, she's got my email.
Ros: Oh, that's a big lesson there. Thank you. I needed to hear that one for myself. Oh, sorry. Sorry, everyone. Any clients out there? I love you. I really, really do. Okay. Yeah, I know, sometimes I think we need to hear that. I think we need to hear the reality and the honesty, because it is a big lesson to learn. Okay, cool. Well, let's keep moving on. So that's the first impression.
Michelle: So that we go through the first impression, of course, is the last impression a lot of people just focus on on the air for the word flow. That last impression, and we'll get to that, but it's during that thing, which is the Oh, the Ouch, where those arches are where perhaps you have to contact them and say, Look, I'm sorry, but that has to be rescheduled. We have to reticket.
Being there is creating those ouch moments and they'll happen and many times it's not your fault. It's not your fault, right?
Ros: Yes. It's not our fault. That's the whole thing, but it's such a hot button. conversation to have with a client. we're even seeing that now. Like right now we're right in the thick of it with airlines doing a lot of flight time changes, because they're trying to juggle all their schedules. And even though we've got clients booked months and months and months in advance, this uncertainty is starting to play out. So when there's that Ouch, you know, moment, what do you suggest people do with that?
Michelle: Communicate? Don't Don't do the day. Don't do the blame game. Don't get on the phone.
Ros: I hate the blame game. I hate it. Don't do it.
Michelle: Yeah. But but but given the information, because remember, we are all in our world, like I am in hospitality, as you are in tourism, you know, what's happening to the outside person, your client, they don't they've got family and friends and a business that they're running or they're working.
They don't know the ins and outs. So what we and we all do it, we gloss over things because we just, Well, I know it. So social, the common public. So when it comes to communication, they may not have seen on the or heard on the six o'clock news that that company had decided to go past or change.
Yeah, that's where you need to get on the phone, or email. I'm not. I prefer the phone, if you've got the time, because it can be a lot quicker, you've got to be very careful when you write emails, with the tone and the emotion. That's a whole other conversation when it comes. But just just say them, you know, hi, Ros, I'm contacting you, you may or may not have heard that this morning, XYZ. But this is what I've got planned.
Ros: Or what I'm working on, as soon as I have more information, I'll come back to you
Michelle: Based on some options that I've got. And all of a sudden, because I haven't already rang you this morning, because I've heard the news, I'll be you know, oh my goodness, what's happening. But if you can get on my foot, and contact me or contact, you're fine. And just saying you may have heard or may not, these are the options I'm working on, please give me a couple of days. And I'll get back to you. Once again, I'm relieved.
So that ouch moment, that moment of pain that they're feeling, because they don't know what's going on, they haven't heard from you. And then the little voice that's in their head or their partner's voice or their friend or family, I shouldn't have gone with him or her you know, and all that stuff. But you can't be in control.
But what you can control is how you react to that situation. Nobody can control you. It's how you react to it. So all those being on the front row foot can create that ouch moment into a conversation fully communicated, understanding awareness. And then of course, there's the W of flow, which is the wow moment, what are those moments like that never ending boxing, you know, packet of 10 times I have in my fridge? It's just that when we get back to that mapping in the journey, I would really have no, I'm a cool drink or hot beverage, you know, sit there over the next few days and write out that timeline from the moment they have any idea of who you are or who your business is.
Yeah, you can get right to the end where you have given them the tickets, you've actually contacted them after the return to see how they are. I don't know how many times we lose that those are the brain on a chip and then they’re back in the database. Yeah. And then you look at all of those, and you've got three coloured dots to put up a yellow, a green, a red, what are you doing? Well, is it a green? Is it a red, that's where there's friction, and the more you know, particularly in your industry, there are so many friction points, we want to be able to alleviate those friction points. So mapping the journey, and all those touch points.
Ros: Wow, ah, this is absolute gold. Michelle, thank you. I'm just sitting here though thinking, okay. Taking bad news from a client, you know, it's harder, it can hit, again, into the guts and all those sorts of things. I think that's probably a whole lot of mindset and counselling sessions that we all need to have as well. You know, you don't necessarily need to take it personally. But to learn from these experiences and change things or do things better, like we are, as business owners, we have that opportunity to adjust and keep doing more of the things that we do really well and keep working on the things that we could be doing better.
Michelle: And we are all human and we're all learning. Nobody knew this was going to happen. But you know, if anything like hospitality, we'd never been shut down before. Neither has tourism and I know other industries, but hospitality and tourism that our country absolutely depends on no tourism in here. But for us in the hospitality industry. We need people that you're bringing into our country not only to work, but also to enjoy our, you know, our restaurants, etc.
So it's really important about work. Been out to reset, but we are human, and we're all learning, but it's learning from our business, it's learning from those opportunities. It's not just saying where I said before, you know, when your client has a chip, give them a call, send them an email, and perhaps you rather than, and your clients and listeners, you know, already do that. But so often, we can, it's a, it's a lot of money to go on a holiday, you know, whether it's a $3,000 300, or you know, 100,000, all that money, money matters to somebody. So just to get that call afterwards, if you're really proud of your business, and you know that you've done the best job than what's holding you back from giving them a call and say, Hi, Michelle, how was your trip? And you know, and if they do say, oh, gosh, it was fantastic. Thank you so much. I, you've got some fantastic testimonial. And then they say, well, everything worked well. But let me give you a heads up about that hotel.
They're doing some alterations you may not have known about. So now, you've got something in your memory bank yet. But it could also be this has changed or that or and you learn from that? Don't take it on the chin and go, Oh, they're just being fussy. It's more what can I learn?
Ros: Yeah, but you mean them back? Yep. That's how we continue business with them. Yeah, I'm just thinking of a couple of people that I'm going to give a call to this afternoon clients, but then they're not, they haven't returned. But everything is all being done via email and only brief, you know, touch points there. And I'm actually going to check in with them and give them a phone call.
Michelle: It's lovely. It's a couple of minutes out of your day. Yeah. And you know, some that you may get accustomed to it. So yeah. It's just, it's just hearing that voice on the phone, I mean, loving zoom, and, you know, emails and DMS and your social media, but you actually use somebody to pick up the phone, and just wanted to wish you all the best for your holiday. You know, let me know how it goes over season photos on social media, I'd love to hear your feedback on that hedgehog, or that hire company or whatever it is. So you know, and they go, Oh, well, of course. And now what they are, they are now your advocates for your business. They are now your whole marketing department.
Ros: Yeah. Which brings us to that next stage with the segues Michelle, but that's the next step that I want to talk to you about. Because there's travel advisors, our heart and our business is really about taking care of these clients and building trust and building relationships with them. Inside our mastermind this month, we've been talking about repeat and referral clients and that advocacy.
So how to get these or how to maintain them and to increase business with them. So I mean, this episode is perfectly timed for Travel Agent Achievers, not only our mastermind members, but the general community themselves. And also reaching back out to existing clients. I heard you touched on this before with our database. We may have had clients that have been on our database or on our emails for many, many years, and we haven't connected or spoken to them. So are you able to run through your approach to building loyalty through unforgettable customer experiences? I know you've got three things that you talk about.
Michelle: So the three key areas, believe me, I've learned the hard way that I've had clients after being in business for 30 years, come back to me and say, You were coming back to me. And that was 10 years ago, I went oh yes, I feel dreadful.
Ros: So I'm talking from somebody who is often that that can be a barrier. If you haven't connected with somebody in a while and you don't even realise the time has passed. I'm not gonna be harsh on you, please. Feeling guilty.
Michelle: I've been there. But the three keys are the three E's. So there's that expectation? What are you creating? What is going to be, you know, through your social media? What is that person who doesn't even know you? What are their expectations? So that is really key. How do they see you rather than read as the travel agent expert? How do your listeners know their prospective clients, not their existing clients, but how do they see you? What expectations are you showing them through your personal branding? The wording that you use in your copy, your website, perhaps notes such as your podcast, your social media, what are they saying? So you've created those expectations and as you know yourself, particularly the lovely people and tourism you show us those magnificent
My second book I actually wrote my whole opening is all about this hotel where you know, I purchased it quickly online. The website looks absolutely amazing. But of course, as soon as you arrive there is appealing paint. Your rooms is nothing what it was. So you have to think what are those expectations you are creating in that person's mind. Now, of course, everybody's mind thinks differently.
So you may be setting expectations at this level, but from the reader, oh my gosh, like they've gone on to the next level. So when you then connect with them, that experience has to go beyond their expectations. And that's where it's ringing them up using their name.
So it's really cool to call, you know, hey, go. And guys, I'm not a guy, I may be a mature woman. I'm not 100 yet, but I still deserve respect. And that's even if it's an 18 year old girl, or a 16 year old guy, or somebody who's older, I always will use etiquette. If it is a much mature and mature person, then you would say Mr. So and so now I know.
So your people are in. But it's just a ticket. If they are of an older generation, particularly pre veterans, and even the end of the spectrum of baby boomers, then I'll give you the permission CAMI Bach coming, you know, call me barrel, that's fine. But call me by my name.
Ros: I still do that to people that are, you know, that I grew up with, I still do that, that I my parents age, I will still say Hi, Mrs. So and so I don't call them by their first name, even though they said no, call me. So for me, it's awkward. But then I do have other clients that I've automatically just called them by their first name, who may be a different generation or the older generation. So would you suggest that I switch back?
Michelle: No, I'm so happy. I've always just looked at that very much as prevention and you know, info in that mature it's just a form of etiquette that's that's the era that they've been born into and have been born into. But you'll also get to know who your clients are. You can tell what a client's expectations are. But using at least using the first service and not by my dolls, honey love. Oh, no, no. Yeah. I know a lot of people feel and I know that the hospitality over on may notice as Serena maybe?
Well, that's all very well. But is that professional? Yeah, that's what I'm asking. So username. So it's creating a building that reports listening to them. The biggest thing when it comes to connecting and creating experience is, being given two of these, and one now, zip this, which I do find hard to do at times as you are not. And just listen, listen to what a person's got to say. And I know it's hard when you're thinking, oh my gosh, I know that Michelle's going to absolutely love this show. And do this in Dubrovnik and do that in Croton? Do this. Yeah. But you've got to stop.
Because every time we interrupt somebody, particularly if it's a service recovery situation, they go back to start because it really sets their mind when it upsets them. Because you keep getting to keep them repeating it all the time. Yes. But when it's just a question, let them let them say to you what they're looking for. And then that's when and you know, you're all professionals. I'm not telling you what to do you know, the basics is picking out a few of those words, and painting them back to them, but in a way, as crazy as experience that they can now picture. So there you are in Salzburg.
And we all go there to see what kind of music Volatile is amazing. It's just like you There we go, then you think, Oh, that's really good. But it's what you're creating is that experience. And I think as travel agents, you are not just filling them the destination you're telling them what happens in the destination. And to me that experience I know it's not for everybody in travel agency world. But if you've been there, if you can say so when I walked down the Chantilly say and I purchased I bought a gelato that was at the shape of a rose and as a trip down my hand and what are we doing the crane is pitchers. So it's that excitement, you know, we you know, for my daughter, I talked we were in Paris and we dined at the top of the Eiffel Tower for her 14th birthday and we got carried away and we realised our beautiful car that was picking us up we have to get down to we have to run down all the stairs.
So that, you know, he can even have those conversations, you know creating that experience your friend.
Ros: That's what for now you go beyond the expectations. So the customer experience there and then the expectation, so building loyalty through expectation. Yeah.
Michelle: And then then experiences, as we've already discussed, connecting with them, getting him up to date with what's happening, giving them suggestions, listening, because of always going somebody does either the neighbour or the person down the road or the lady at the school bus stop will tell them,
Don't go there, or do this. Yes, that's where your professionalism comes in. And you say to them, yes, I have heard that that experience has occurred. But can I reassure you that over the last 40 years, that hasn't happened? Yeah. It's not the people, but it's listening to them. And then creating this because Travel is about imagination. It's about love, or joy, or grieving being a part of an experience without returning to a battlefield. And it's that memorial, but then they're going on to do something else.
So you really need to understand. So all that experience is, is truly connecting with them, communicating to them very clearly, and listening. And then of course, we come to the end, which is the evaluation. So you've done all the wonderful things that perhaps you know, the going out the door so to speak, they've got the tickets online, you've checked it, everything's right. You're wishing them goodbye, literally, oh, you're not there at the terminal. But the one that's new could be, but this is where they start thinking about the evaluation, because they're starting to talk about you.
Because people will say, Oh, did you put that online yourself? Oh, no, when you're travelling, oh, headline. So also that expectant, also that experienced talking about you. And then when it comes to evaluation, it's always about what they return to you, and what they recommend. And that's where I want you to give yourself a score out of 100% people turn to you. And will they recommend you? And why would they? What has differentiated you from the rest of the industry. And I know we touched briefly before we sell talking about creating and breaking those travel agency stereotypes.
That's another quick tip. If you get the moment just think or write out a big sheet of paper. What are the servicing industry stereotypes of a travel industry? Either one that you want to do, and I know that your home base, but it's still professional?
Ros: We do and we do have a number of people that have storefronts as well. So what you're saying is that to really think about what the stereotype is of a travel agent for a travel professional, so even pre COVID what it was, and yeah, actually, you know what it is now because there has been different things come out in the media, and they're, you know, there's been some scathing things, but there's also been some really good stuff as well. So what are the stereotypes of a travel agent? And then how can we break that mold? Right?
Michelle: How do you break that stereotype? How do you break that? So if I'll give you an example, as an environment, going into a travel agency, if I was blunt, is a lot of scatter desk. A lot of hands not looking up a lot of headsets, like what you're wearing? No eye contact? Yeah. Lots of brochures around the wall, a big size DO NOT TOUCH. Why can I touch them? I'm standing here, why can I have a look at the brochure all because I know that you're your troll child's coming in and she's doing a project on that and she's going to take all my brochures to cut out that that's that's the mentality.
That's the mentality that people feel nobody wants that knows sighs Yeah. So you know, if you are a travel agency and you have got a you know, a straight run, yeah, there has to be somebody who's at the front who's ever in that practice. I don't care if they're doing a million dollar deal. They still look up and a nice smile, maybe a hand not a head. Hey, I mean, I can relax when it's online such as this if you're contacting somebody through zoom, take a look at what's at the back here.
What have I got, I've got you know, my everything I needed. I learned from dizzy, you've got your beautiful map as well, or parts of it behind you. We don't want to look at clutter. We don't want to look at your breakfast tray. We don't know I've got grandchildren, I've had children since I've started my business. We it's professionalism all the way. So think about the environment. Think about how you experience the environment also on your website. So look at other industries.
What's the client doing when they're looking at your business? If they're in it or they're online? What are they doing? What are you doing as you proceed? Are you there rushing to brushing your hair, cleaning your teeth, you know what hoping online please but think about you know what, all these steps and then think okay, the vaccine industry is that how the industry is saying is people with lots of no signs, no acknowledgement having to wait to be responded to online. I just feel like I'm just a number. How can you break that in your business? Yep. But it's not hard. It's not hard to be different from other people, even though there are lots and lots of competitors. You've broken into it and all your clients and listeners have that. Are you probably all set in Iowa? trepidations? Yes, there are.
But it's not you. Not you, you do it differently. So you're not breaking any. Because when they think about that evaluation, they will return to you not because it was a great holiday. Yeah, that's really nice. Why do you think they're going to return to you? Yeah. You can book a holiday online. They can book a holiday with any travel agent, but a booked a holiday online? No, they booked a holiday with you?
Yes. They want you because of the way that he had a conversation, the stories that you shared, that you've cared, you called them by their name, then made sure that they had a great ship that they returned safely. And then when they do come back to you, they're looking at not just being reactive to them coming to you. But being proactive Ros, look at that database. We have all got the most amazing databases that we do not look at we just Oh, yeah, yeah, we looked at them five years ago, five months, 10 years ago. Oh, yeah. I haven't got time. I'm working on you. I've got markets beneath like that.
Thinking, how much money? Did they get married two years ago? Did they get an opportunity to go that amazing? You know?
Ros: Yeah, do they need a baby moon, like all of these things that have potential and we've got some, you know, members and, you know, people that are part of the community that do specialise in certain areas, you know, from destination weddings, and they haven't been able to obviously do that the Australians over the last couple of years, many, many different things. And I hear you Absolutely. That, you know, this is part of our recovery period, as well is to connect with our past clients, connect with people that we haven't spoken to in a few years. Oh, wow.
Michelle: Yeah, look, a gap year, if you know that you've got a client whose child or children finish their HSC last year. Now a lot of them are going to get these overseas, because you know, some of them I mean, an hour in, maybe looking at, you know, within Australia, is there an opportunity there? Oh, you know, I'll be honest, when I was looking back to my database, I realised that Johnny would have done his HSC last year, just how do you go? And as we all know, they love to do a gap year. Are you thinking about Europe? This is something that I can help you with or with you in Australia?
Ros: Yeah. Why don't I reach out? Being proactive?
Michelle: What? Why? Why are people and I'm once again, not making any judgments here. But in business, particularly small business, we have this trepidation of not reaching out and reconnecting with our past clients, because what are they going to say, now? We didn't like and hang up?
Ros: Well, if they do, you don't want to be working with them and delete them off the database.
Michelle: It wouldn't believe you must have read my mind. I was only thinking about you the other day, because you know, the world is opening up again, what might not be proactive? Don't wait for them to call you. Deals are dumb money. Is there. Be proactive? You know, your clients pick up that phone check in on say, hi.
Ros: Yeah, so I know. Okay, you might, you might have some tips for this or what to say. But I know that in our travel businesses, and as you touched on, you know, travel agents, we're very busy. And we're doing all of the things and, you know, trying to move from one thing to another, make sure that we're perfectionist in what we are the message that we're giving to our clients. And if we haven't connected with somebody, you know, for a while and we pick up the phone for me, there's a bit of anxiety there that, oh, is this the right time for them? Are they going to be busy? Like I'm predicting? I know, I'm projecting my own stuff onto them.
But with that phone call, is that just hey, you know, hey, Michelle, we haven't spoken in a while. I just wanted to call and say how are you? I've been thinking of you. Yeah, why not? Please do not send me an email with a flash sale?
Ros: Because you're going to be Oh, my gosh, yes. Yeah, I agree. Do not do that.
Michelle: When we first shut down and 2020, I have had some 15 years I just been delayed like seriously. You pick up the phone and you would just have a shot. But I just wanted to connect, you know, be honest, going through the database. I know. You know, we created a wonderful, memorable trip for you and your husband or UVA travelling at that conference.
Ros: You join me on this trip. You did that with me? Yeah.
Michelle: Oh, yes. Yes, yes. I've connected with you now. And not just on the business. We've had our ups and downs, but I'm here for you. So yeah, I just wanted to touch base and just let you know that if there's anything I can do for you now in the future, please, please call I'm still here. Because that's what people are wondering, I used to the common public only hearing what the media tells I know the world shutdown on tourism.
Ros: Will you hear that as well? You're absolutely right. You know, here the media is and we get the stats as well, there's a third of travel advisors around Australia that are no longer in the industry. Yes. And as the consumer, they don't know who I used to be there. Are you not still there, you still doing trouble? Are you still going to be my advisor? And we've seen that as well with future credits. That's because advisors are no longer there, you know, consumers have all of these credits, and they don't know what to do with them, where to book or what to use.
Michelle: They have no, they have no idea they get. And so once again, because you're so professional, and you know what's happening in your industry, we don't with the consumer, we've got no idea. And so they sit there and go, Well, that's great. That's $5,000
Ros: I've just what, yeah, that is you absolutely right, I think I'm having those conversations. Oh, I think I think I've got a travel bank somewhere. I think I've got a voucher somewhere. I mean, we're in our travel business, with all of the clients that we have been able to assist over the last couple of years, we've got records of all of that.
But I am absolutely hearing you that we need to go back to these guys and say, just a reminder, when you're ready to travel, we are here, you've still got these credits available, we've kept a track of it. And you know, whether it's cruising, or airlines or hotels or whatever it might be, we are here for you.
Michelle: Yes. And please do that. Because we've all had such, you know, a monumental shift over the last couple of years. Some people are total brain fog at times, and try to remember that we're going to voucher with a plane for $1,200 or $59, for the high company or whatever, we need you.
So please never feel, Oh, if I pick up the phone, they may be busy. Anything I know about him by the channel in the brochure, my early days of business are random, somehow going into tele marketing to these big water bottle companies, but we only do business, the business. And that, you know, they approached me because once again, I told him I had great staff, but I used to say to the employees, you pick up that phone, and you're less professional, and you're polite. And if you need the person's, you know Twizy or they've got a screaming baby in the background. Just Hi, it's Ros. Just wanted to touch base, you know, I, you know, I organised that trip for a few, it's probably not, it's not the right time now, is there a better time that I can give you a call back. And people appreciate that Megan was all of this, okay, I've just fed the baby, I'll shut the door, whatever it might be on the Mega fax was set up again.
But I'll be free in a couple of hours. So he can bring me back on Friday. And tell you why. When they tell you to bring you back on Friday, you bring them back on Friday, you put that in your diary. And I think this is where you get back. And I don't want to sound like I'm, I'm telling you what to do. But your time management is so important. And I know you've got so much on the whole customer experience. Looking at it? Is it between nine and 1030 every day that you make these calls? Do you choose to bring five people per day?
Michelle: What are you able to do? Yeah, yeah. But then stretch yourself a little bit. Because I know it's really easy. I've worked from home probably more times and I've had offices over the last 30 years. And it's really easy just to wander down to put those couple of saw in the washing, you know data, we spent a lot of time and as you and I know through our business coach, we do this try matrix and you think oh my goodness, I really probably waffle for a few a few hours a day. So really looking at that time management so you can get the best out of it.
Ros: Yep. Oh, I love that this has been amazing. Michelle, I am so glad that you and I had this catch up and there are so many more things that we could continue to talk about because what you do on what we do here at Travel Agent Achievers, we are so in alignment and I know that you are so giving of your information as we are and as I am because we just want to help other people success. We just want you know the best for everybody else.
So I am going to finish up here because it's very important that we make sure that it's concise and the message is very clear on what we're talking about. But I would love it if you are interested to come back and have another chat with us another time because there's so much more we wanted to talk about values we wanted to talk about you know actions or behaviours and all these different things. So would you be interested in Can I get a bow on the shirt?
Michelle: Oh. Because as you said, you know we want to keep it concise. Otherwise we could talk all day and people only started to play. So I thank you very much for the opportunity. It's an honour and a privilege to speak in front of your listeners. And I know those that are members of your Travel Agent Achievers. It's a wonderful programme that you've put together, Roslyn and as you said, it's not just for your own benefit, it's for the benefit of those members. But it's the benefit for the whole tourism community together, tourism, hospitality and the rest of the world. We'll all go forward, we're aware of what's happened. And now the doors are open.
Ros: Right? There is still some cautious optimism out there. But I like 20 shows. Let's just go for it. Now you and I are going to see each other in Palm Springs next month. So how about we both bring our little recording studios with us? We'll get some more. Let me do that, like we did. You know, we did it in San Diego. Let's do it again. I love that. Thank you so much.
Now for anybody that's interested in following Michelle or finding out more about what she does. And I know that you've received such incredible value out of today's episode, please go to Michelle Pascoe, michellepascoe.com We'll add all the links in the show notes as well.
Please connect with her on LinkedIn as well make sure you tell her where you've heard about her so you're not just one of those random contacts that says, connect, connect, connect and people go, are you so make sure you add a note in there as well. I heard you on the Travel Agent Achievers podcast with Ros, I'd love to connect because she has a wealth of knowledge.
And she has a lot of great stuff there as well as amazing connections around the world with the hotel and hospitality industries as well. And she also has a beautiful podcast, the Michelle Pascoe Hospitality Podcast, but you can continue to gain insights and information from her and all of the amazing stuff that she does. And I know, you know, I just appreciate everything that you do, Michelle, and how giving you are, and how much, you know, oh, there's so many things here that I'm thinking I just need to do this more.
And I have been cautious in my own travel business. And I think that we've been so caught up in delivering value and making sure that T's are crossed and the I's are dotted, and not saying the wrong thing that potentially and in a couple of cases, and as I said, there's a couple of people that I'm going to give a call to that. You know, that human connection is really important. And it's not just about emails, we need to jump on the phone.
So if you haven't jumped on the phone, if you're listening to this and you haven't jumped on the phone, reach out, write it on your end of month checklist every month, you know, the people that you want to connect with, because there are so many little things that you can do that can make a massive difference in your business. Michele, thank you so much for being here today. I sincerely appreciate you and want to thank you once again.
Thank you very much Ros. It was wonderful being a part of this podcast, and we can all start from today, going for little things that make the difference?
Absolutely. The little things can make such a big difference. Well, thank you, everybody for listening today. Have an amazing, amazing week and we look forward to connecting with you very very soon.
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