Never forget that customers are real people and not just a statistic, says Tom Dunkley, managing director, MagicBreaks
The recent strikes involving French rail workers have left some passengers heading to Paris at best frustrated and, at worse, out of pocket with no alternative holiday travel plans in place.
We’re living in a modern world of automation, processes to drive efficiency, mobile connectivity and machine learning. Consumers are demanding more immediate responses, supported by a wealth of online content at their disposal. The natural inclination is to buy from large, trusted brands, at speed, but the larger they are, often the worse the full-cycle of customer service becomes.
Whilst many businesses, especially those in the web and mobile commerce arenas, are focused on the land grab opportunity still afforded by the digital space, always pushing for new sales, customer acquisition and new audiences to hit aggressive KPI metrics and satisfy investors and other stakeholders, we should never forget who our customer really is, a real person and not just a profile or statistic.
MagicBreaks is also a modern digital business with a large online presence and our management team has been out in force in the last month, on the ground at Gare du Nord to help our customers get to Disneyland Paris (and other destinations) when their original plans were disrupted because of the strike action. While our annual turnover is now above £45million, we remain nimble enough and we care enough to be highly visible in front of our customers, providing taxis and coaches to get them to their destination as planned.
The old adages of “the customer is always right” and“always put your customers first” seem to have been left behind by many and yet in travel, and certainly the wider leisure sector, people are trusting us to deliver their dreams, to take a duty of care for every aspect of the holiday arrangements, to put them first and quite rightly respect and appreciate fully their trust in us. I believe our repeat bookings are strongly up for good reason. We help 100,000 people a year book a Disneyland Paris holiday.
I firmly believe that pre-holiday and post-holiday care are vital elements of great customer service – clients remember when you go out of the way for them and deliver that extra special service that stands out from the crowd.
In the digital space it’s so easy for us all to become disconnected from our real customers – yet nothing beats face to face customer contact. The greatest feedback we receive is when we can chat to customers, and see their true facial expressions. In retail – online or offline – our customers are everything to us, without them we have nothing and that’s why we should put them first….at all times.