One of the golden rules of customer service is that the customer should always believe they are your number one priority.
So spare a thought for Livi Hurst, senior business travel consultant at Bristol-based Thornton’s Travel Service, who at any one time has to make several customers believe that they are her priority.
But it’s Livi’s ability to juggle a demanding job while still maintaining the highest standards of customer service that won her Travel Weekly’s Agent Excellence Award for Best Business Travel Consultant in the Southwest and Wales region.
“With the bigger accounts, people sometimes think they are your only customer and want everything sorted immediately. You have to make them think you are just dealing with their enquiry,” said Livi.
The company has just taken on two large business travel accounts, both turning over more than £500,000 each. This means staff have seen their roles change and Livi has taken on extra responsibilities and has taken charge of one of the accounts.
“With new accounts it’s hard because you have to develop trust. You have to find out how people want things done,” said Livi.
Like many agents, Livi found one of her biggest challenges has been the Internet, which clients use to search for fares to see if they can
get them cheaper.
“As part of the Focus Partnership we are able to keep at the forefront. We always ensure we are competitive by comparing fares with the Internet before offering them to the customer.”
She added: “I strive to offer the best flight and fare options for my clients and consistently do all I can to ensure satisfaction.”
It’s this attitude that has paid off. One client told Thornton’s: “She is an asset to your company and always very helpful despite the amount of changes we make to our schedules.”
- See Livi and other award winners in the Agent Excellence Awards Southwest and Wales video
- Read a list of winners from the Agent Excellence Awards Awards Southwest and Wales
- View pictures from the event
Getting to know you
What does it take to make it in the business travel market? You’ve got to have excellent product knowledge and be able to communicate and build relationships with clients. You’ve got to be one step ahead and can’t have clients chasing you for details about their bookings.
What’s your favourite destination? I like Australia because of the relaxed lifestyle and Thailand because of the culture.
Where would you like to go next? I would like to go to the Cook Islands or maybe Bora Bora for a true desert island experience.
What’s your next career step? I’m happy where I am, but would like to work my way up the ladder.
Livi Hurst’s CV
- 1999: Started in the business travel section of Thornton’s Travel Service, Bristol.
- 1997: Consultant in consolidated fares section of Bakers Dolphin, Bristol.
- 1996: Gap year travelling to destinations including Australia, Southeast Asia and the US.
- 1993: Travel consultant, Portman Travel, Bristol.
- 1991: BTEC in Travel and Tourism at Soundwell College, Bristol.