I'm a Mac user, iPhone evangelist and Apple shareholder and I embrace the game changing travel initiative in play (iTravel*). The reality is that in the travel business - things don't always go as planned. And (killer apps aside) sometimes ONLY the help of live humans can make things right.
Last week, I ordered (via phone) the new iPad. I had an amazing customer experience with Apple. A few minutes ago, I downloaded Jack Johnson's latest from iTunes - As everyone knows that is a mindless transaction anymore. It will be interesting to see how well Apple integrates a philosophy of amazing customer service into its travel offering. Getting a Caribbean vacation right for a hard working family of four is waaaaay different than downloading a tune or taking an order for an iPad...
*Thanks to Jack Purcher who gives a great overview: iTravel: Apple's Future Travel Centric App for the iPhone
The AP just published several accounts of the effects of a volcanic ash cloud presently over Europe. One stranded traveler in South Korea described his behavior as animal-like. We have been in the travel game for several decades now so nearly nothing surprises us. The transformation of people when they feel panicked can be tricky and we here @ Trase Miller are sometimes involved with customers when the worst of the human condition is revealed. So how do we prepare for such moments?
♦ We anticipate problems – Travel plans often do not go as planned.
♦ We carefully screen and hire team members that intuitively understand the stress and strain that naturally accompany travel related experiences.
♦ We train, train and re-train using a playbook of experiences we have gained in specializing in the sales of complex leisure travel products.
♦ Our Management Team avails themselves 24/7/365 to help with any and all situations where elevated stress levels require a little extra help.
This preparation enables us to efficiently and empathetically converse with customers in stressful situations. At this writing we are dealing with customers stranded all over the world that are needing special customer care. And we are being asked to help many people with last minute alternative vacation and cruise arrangements. Nothing is more gratifying for us than to be able to solve problems and turn challenging situations around – even when people behave like animals…
American Airlines Vacations is the reason we started Trase Miller and it's important for us to get out there and experience the product once in a while. Last week, we took an American Airlines Vacation (AAV) to Amelia Island, Florida. If you have not been - WOW! And if you have not booked an AAV - WOW! We used the services not out of obligation but because the pricing was about $300 better than prices we searched/found on other online travel agencies.
A shout-out to Iva Smith who is the Customer Care Representative @ AAV that helped with arrangements. Iva has been with Trase Miller since 2006 and did a great job dispensing advice and giving direction. Thanks Iva and thanks AAV!
We read the other day with interest about Sprint's diminishing customer base. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sprint has shed nearly nine million customers over the past three years and continues to lose ground.
What the article did not mention was one of Sprint's core cost saving initiatives which is to use offshore contact centers. Many of us get frustrated speaking to India or Thailand and some of us even refuse to do so. The travel industry too has used offshore outsourcing as a cost saving measure and the customer experience is often times less than satisfactory.
We continue to evolve our business and have just finished an extensive audit that paves the way for an expanded virtual workforce. Like many companies we embrace this win-win construct but strongly feel that consumers prefer and deserve to interact with people/contact centers that are on our home shore.