You read the title, why are you still reading. Go away! Really! I have everything I need right now, I don’t need you. Click the little red “X” in the upper right corner or the “back” button on your browser. Go someplace else!
That sounds kind of rude doesn’t it? It certainly isn’t something you would say to a client who might be considering booking a trip with you. Or is it?
I have to believe that none of us would be so brazen as to voice those sentiments directly to a client, but what about indirectly? Recently, I received two auto-replies to emails I had sent. Here’s the first one.
“In order to better serve you, we ask to please allow 48 hours for an agent to respond to your request. Thank you.”
Not horrible. But a long way from good. First of all, email is immediate. Auto-responders are to be used when you are away from the office, not for every piece of email you receive. And exactly how does it better serve me that you are taking two days to respond to a question I have right now? A better solution, if you need to operate this way, is to let the sender know that you are acknowledging the email and give them some options on how to do business with you now!
And now for the second auto-responder.
“I will be unable to read e-mails from Dec 4th until Dec 27th. Please hold off with any messages until then.”
There is not much to say here. You are out of the office for a month and want me to hold off on sending you a message? This message tells me that you don’t care enough about my business to even offer an option to do business with you. Nothing about a backup travel professional covering for you. Nothing about calling a cell phone or an after-hours service. If memory serves me right, the severe winter conditions in Europe right after Christmas. I wonder how this agent handled that on December 28th.
Folks, we are in the service business. For years, we have talked about being our own brand. Selling ourselves and not travel products. We need to be keenly aware of our brand message in all venues. Technology has enabled our brand is everywhere today—Facebook (the reason to separate personal and business), Twitter, blogs, forums, email, newsletters, brochures, websites, and even old fashioned face to face. Be careful and be critical.
Now go on, scram!