It’s at times like this that you realise the value of cooperative and flexible partners, says Spear Travel’s Kim Kent.
I have always said the key to customer satisfaction is not just tour operators giving good service while booking a holiday, but also how quick and efficient they are if things go wrong.
Recently, I had a situation where a client was travelling to Cyprus, and needed a Covid test before travel. It was a difficult process trying to make an appointment for this, but in the end my client managed to get it done. The test has to be taken 72 hours before travel and the results take 48 hours to come back. The applicant then has to complete various forms and upload the documents. Not all clients are confident doing this, so they often rely on us for help.
Now let me set the scene. It’s 5pm on a Tuesday afternoon and this client is due to travel at 6am the following morning. I’m in a managers’ meeting on Zoom when I notice an email come through on my phone from the client. It says: ‘The results of the test are back and mine is unclear and needs to be redone! What do you suggest?’
With no time to spare, I call Cyplon Holidays. Fortunately, they’re still working. I speak with Sophie, who is delightful. I explain what has happened, ask if Cyplon had had this situation before, and ask what can I do to help my clients.
“The client will only have to pay an amendment fee for moving the flights. It’s now 6.30pm – less than 12 hours until my clients had been due to depart.”
Sophie says they haven’t but she will try to find out what can be done. She comes back to say they have a contact at Tui and will ask if they can move the flights by a few days. Cyplon, she says, are happy to move the hotel and transfers, so it all hangs on the flights.
After a long wait on hold, Sophie comes back to say Tui can change the flights. Phew, what a relief! The client will only have to pay an amendment fee for moving the flights. It’s now 6.30pm – less than 12 hours until my clients had been due to depart.
I then call my client, who is 79, with the news. He agrees to postpone the holiday by a week, pays the small additional cost and I move the booking and send out a confirmation. I can’t tell you how relieved we all are. Incidentally, Cyplon didn’t charge anything for doing this.
Book with a good tour operator
It’s at times like this that you realise the value of booking with a tour operator like Cyplon. They pulled out all the stops to help the client.
I am so grateful for their help and efficiency in sorting this out. The customer in this instance is a regular client but also a local business owner with many contacts, so there is every possibility he will talk to some of them about his experience with us, which could lead to more bookings. I hope they finally get away and enjoy some peace and relaxation.
“The customer in this instance is a local business owner with many contacts, so there is every possibility he will talk to some of them about his experience with us.”
I have since been told that if you have a Covid test and it’s negative, as was the case for the customer’s wife, you can’t have another one unless you have symptoms. As this was not the case, Mr and Mrs X have now paid for a private test.
I was touched by this message
I’d like to share a message I received from a business development manager of an operator we use. I thought it was so kind of her to recognise what life is like for agents at the moment. This is what she wrote: “The travel industry has been facing its greatest challenge and the way agents have been dealing with the situation has been incredibly admirable. From lockdown to quarantines, home schooling and furlough yet managing your customers’ holidays with the usual high standards of care, service, efficiency and deliverance despite the extra challenges from varied and frequently changing travel restrictions is remarkable. I have the greatest respect. Thank you.”