Travel Counsellor Lisa Hillyard urged travel agents to talk to customers rather than use emails to demonstrate better service.


During an Aspire Business Breakfast, Hillyard said the art of conversation appeared to have disappeared as a result of modern technology such as email and text messages.


She added: “We can all hide behind text messages and email. But you can’t get humour across in an email. If you smile on the telephone it is perceived on the end of the line; if I am as miserable as sin it will show in my voice.


“I sometimes start writing an email and have to tell myself to get a grip and pick up the phone.”


Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, added: “You need to be able to understand what the customer wants and the way they want to be responded to.”