Companies often pontificate about this subject and how service orientated they are but, sadly, these days, few people have an iota of what customer service really means.
Here are some examples of customer service as we see it.
A client of ours wanted to travel on Thai directly to Krabi. No other airline would suffice as he was keen for the change of plane in Bangkok to be as quick as possible and Thai have by far the slickest transit times. However, he was also adamant that he must have visual entertainment all the way and, at the time, Thai did not have seat back TV's on all their routes/ planes, and this was one. Hhhhmmm, how to solve such a conundrum. Well, it's pretty easy really. Despite travelling economy, he was spending £8,000 - a very valuable customer. We told him not to worry, there would be entertainment on the plane and to trust us. He was skeptical, but trust us he did.
On receiving his tickets and other documentation, presented as usual in our personalised leather wallets, he was surprised at the size of the package. Even a super slim portable DVD player takes up a little space...
Two families travelling to Krabi over Christmas with 4 children were stranded at Heathrow, having spent 8 hours on the tarmac, each hour being promised that they would be taking off next. All planes were eventually grounded and they were taken off the flight, having depressingly spent all that time travelling no-where. We had already provisioned for an hotel for them nearby but they chose to stay with nearby family, except the 2 fathers. They valiantly volunteered to stay and camp at the check in desk with all the luggage so when Thai were ready to fly again, they would be first in line. We already had staff queuing for other clients who had also had their flights cancelled. We apologised for not being able to extend the same service to these clients, it felt like double standards. However, while everyone else in terminal 3 curled up on the freezing floor, our clients did at least have the comfort of sun lounger beds which we shipped in from the nearby Argos store. Good thing we got them too, as the flights did not resume for 3 days.
During the same snow storm, at the same terminal, another family had travelled a fair way from Kent looking forward to their 2 weeks in Phuket. Having arrived to the sad confirmation that their flight would indeed definitely not travel, after much deliberation, they decided they would stay at home that Christmas and claim the holiday on their insurance. A few hours later, we got a call saying that there was a problem, and due to a change in their insurance terms that had been notified by the insurance company (a bank...) by email 6 weeks earlier, their claim would not stand up if the delay was due to snow. Wiley insurance companies had taken note of the long range weather forecasts and adjusted policies accordingly saving them millions over that particular weekend before Christmas 2010. The accommodation element of the holiday was c. £11,000, and this was clearly a huge loss to sustain. Contrary to popular opinion, airlines are not obliged to cover the cost of lost accommodation or services. So what to do ? With the UK covered in thick snow and most airports running essential flights or completely closed, with the back log building up by the hour, we were left thinking some pretty crazy ideas. How about Eurostar to Paris and fly Paris to Phuket on Air France? But Eurostar was also mostly suspended or fully booked and Paris Airports were almost as bad as Heathrow. But then, there was a glimmer of hope. Stansted opened. It's not known for its long haul flights, but we knew that a little known airline called Air Asia had started low cost long haul flights from there the year before. We got straight onto Air Asia and found 4 seats leaving in 3 days time. They would lose 4 nights but 10 nights was better than nothing. Or was it ? A call to the hotel and some negotiation meant we took the first 4 nights and tagged them onto the end of the holiday at no extra cost. The clients were exstatic, especially when we got them their Thai flights refunded in full and paid less for the Air Asia ones so they actually saved money and got the same trip.
Ok - so we're good in a crisis, but what makes us better in a proactive way?
Well, to start with:
- Knowledge of the resorts we feature. Nearly all have been visited by one or more of our staff. This ensures you get the right holiday for you. All the resorts we feature are good but not all will suit everyone's taste or objectives.
- Consultations at a choice of venues including home visits from 7 am - 10 pm 7 days a week to suit YOUR schedule.
- Attention to small detail. What type of refreshment would you like on arrival during your transfer? Which would you like to have - sunset or sunrise facing rooms?
- Partners in each country, whether it be hotels or ground suppliers, who also have our ethos and understand that when a client needs something, whatever it is, the answer is "yes".
- We will ensure all your travel logistics, at every point, are taken care of and a range of choice is offered, with a lot of our resorts offering options to arrive by different, more convenience, means.
Whilst on the road, you will be fully equipped with the contact details of all the local partners we have, as well as our own 'out of hours' contact details, which we encourage you to use freely if you have any questions or wish to make any changes on the road.