To quote one of the world’s great poets from the nineties and noughties, my palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy – all this because a Finance graduate was being stripped of his beloved Microsoft Excel for four days and going to Thomson retail store.
From Head Office we all know we sell holidays, that much is obvious, but it is easy to forget you are selling an experience and the whole holiday experience begins when our customers visit our website or one of our retail stores. As my job goes, I get drawn into the financial reporting of performance hotels, but you overlook the customer facing side of things, therefore it was really exciting for me to get more of a rounded holistic view.
With what must read to be quite the euphoric moment, needless to say that with a bit of shadowing of the Thomson Travel Advisors; I was actually able to start ‘going the extra smile’ rather than being the awkwardly placed hindrance. No day goes quicker than one spent talking to people about their ideal holidays and seeing how you can personalise it to make it even better. I saw how the advisors were able to put the customer in ‘their happy place’ by talking to honeymoon couples about their romantic Dominican Republic getaways and organising champagne receptions; chatting to families looking to spend the 2016 festive season with the Jamaican sun beaming down and even contacting cruise ships to find out if guide dogs were allowed to travel with their associated persons. What was eye-opening was how our Thomson travel advisors will ‘go the extra smile’ to ensure that our customers walk away with the perfect holiday. By way of example, they were able to organise for an air hostess to come and talk to first time flyers when they boarded the plane because they were nervous about the experience; demonstrating how our company can ‘go the extra smile’ for our customers surprising and delighting them with our effortless customer service.
What I am taking away from the experience, other than a newfound desire to stay at the Sensimar Seaside Suites & Spa resort in Mexico, is twofold. Firstly it is a strong appreciation for the lengths the company and its employees go to in order to ensure that we deliver more than just a holiday and the way
in which we ‘go the extra smile’. Secondly, it is an ever-growing like for the welcoming and social atmosphere that runs from head to toe of the organisation. Taking part in the ‘back to the floor’ teaches you that behind the numbers on my finance spread sheet’s is a family taking their youngest on their first holiday abroad or a newlywed couple honeymooning on a cruise. I honestly believe that this experience will enable me to have a more rounded view when making decisions and in turn do my job better.
To finish, and for those who may be wondering, yes – to my surprise – I did actually manage to sell a holiday (although I think Sensatori Jamaica pretty much sells itself).