Client Experience Management: How to use systems to stand out

So, here you are.  You’ve closed a booking even though you can’t offer a lower price or any additional perks (gasp!).  You’ve managed to demonstrate your expertise and have won them over with your sparkling personality and utmost professionalism.  
Because you’re great at what you do!  
After the first time, you want to feel confident that they will contact you for the next one.   You want them to think of you immediately, every time they think of planning a trip.
But how do you accomplish this? 

How do you turn them from a one-time customer to a lifelong customer? 

I’ll tell you how:  
You provide an outstanding travel planning experience.  You are the steward of the client’s experience from the time they book until the time they get home.  
A system will make it easy.  If you have a system, nothing will fall through the cracks and you’ll make your mark permanently on the client’s mind.  They will never forget you if you nail it the first time.  If you make it easy on yourself you will nail it every time.  
They will know what to do and when to do it (side benefit of CYA for you with this one).  They will only have to click the links you provide to book add-ons and customize the trip even further, complete online check-in, see the terms and conditions…everything.  The next time they are planning a trip, you will be their first call. They already know they need your guidance. They already know they’re going to book with you again (and always).
The most important part of this plan is to set up the system so that you don’t waste time on the same tasks over and over and over again.  So that you don’t ignore the details because you’re too busy with other things. Email templates, automation, and a plan will save you a spectacular amount of time, and we know that time is money. 

Time.  Is. Money.

If you could provide an excellent and memorable booking experience for your clients and ALSO save a load of time, how would you spend it?  More FAMS, more destination education, more selling, more time with your loved ones, or all of the above?
I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “I know I need to have a system, and I know that it will save me so much time if I have one, but I just don’t have the time to stop and do it.”  But you’re doing it the hard way and you’re missing opportunities.
So stick around.  I’ll share the strategies I use to maximize my time and my sales.  I’ll help to bring out the organized & productive travel biz boss that is already inside of you.  You’re already nailing the travel sales game. Let’s work together to ensure that the boring stuff doesn’t drag you down and steal time you could be using to make more money!

Procrastination: How To Overcome Putting Things Off

Have you labeled yourself a procrastinator and surrendered to this label? 

It’s a pretty common opinion that procrastination is a personality trait that can’t be helped.  It’s not. Procrastination is a habit, and habits can be broken.
The truth is, procrastination is often a response to stress.
It’s also a vicious cycle. You avoid a stressful task but that leads to feelings of guilt and THEN – more stress as the pressure builds.  I am guilty of this just this week. I’m writing this as much for myself as I am for you. Let’s get to it.
Here are my top strategies for thwarting procrastination:
  • Forgive yourself for past procrastination and start with a clean slate.
  • Know yourself.  Know what time of day you are the most productive and use that time wisely.  If you are not a morning person, do not set the intention of getting up at the crack of dawn to get busy.  
  • Make a deal with yourself to set a timer for 10 minutes.  There’s something about setting the alarm that allows you to really focus on the task at hand.  Knowing that the timer is set, so you won’t get carried away when you have so many things on your to-do list, removes the stress and you can dedicate yourself completely for that set amount of time.  Or if you’re not too busy and just need to start, maybe you WILL get carried away and keep going. Either way, you’re going to make a big dent.
  • You’ve heard this from me before:  Do the thing you don’t want to do first.  It’s a huge weight off and makes the rest of the list seem super manageable.  
  • Use a to-do list that allows you to check things off, or scratch them out, or allows some visual proof of what you’ve accomplished, whether it’s paper or digital.  Don’t underestimate the power of checking things off of a list!
  • Reframe the conversation in your brain.  Instead of “I have to” or “I need to”, say “I GET to”.  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that this is an amazing job with freedom and flexibility that many people never get to experience.
  • Turn your phone to airplane mode or do not disturb for a period of time so that you can minimize distractions.  
  • Change your surroundings.  I can NOT watch a training webinar at my desk.  I’ll keep working! I move to another room with my laptop or tablet and that does the trick.  The other change you can make is to de-clutter your space, but beware of procrasti-cleaning! Set a timer for 5 minutes to straighten up and then get back to work.  If home is too distracting, go to a coffee shop or co-working space for a few hours. 
  • Get an accountability partner or coach if you need outer accountability to stay on track.  
Now… if the reason you are avoiding a task is that you can’t see a solution to the problem, I suggest the following:
  • If possible, intentionally decide to wait until the morning to make any moves BUT you need to be thinking about solutions (ONLY solutions!  NO reasons why you can’t). Sometimes you really do need to sleep on a problem, if only to get past the emotional part.
  • Brainstorm.  Open a new email or document and write literally anything that comes to mind.  An idea you may think is dumb could spark a better one.  
  • Talk it through with another travel agent.  My business partner and I are always calling with “what would you do” questions, and I have a core group of agents that help each other.  If you don’t have an agent tribe – get one.
  • Ask advice on social media.  I know that can be intimidating but you are welcome to come to the TBB page for advice.
My very best advice for heading procrastination off at the pass is to set up systems that take the work out of repetitive tasks. These tasks become tiresome and feel easy to de prioritize but then the client experience suffers and your busywork piles up.