Veronika Vermeulen knows a thing or two about exceptional customer care.
On a recent episode of That Bad Review, I had the honour of speaking with Veronika – someone who has deep roots within the luxury travel industry.
As a German immigrant who accidentally ended up moving to New Zealand, Veronika took to the Kiwi way of life like a fish to water and has now been residing there for over 20 years. In 2000, Aroha Luxury New Zealand Tours was born, and quickly earned her an exceptional reputation as a leader in New Zealand’s tourism industry.
Here are a few of her precious insights on effectively working with your clients, in order to deliver bespoke customer service.
Understanding Different Cultures
Veronika works with a large international client base, therefore she needs to have the ability to adapt to different cultures and their expectations.
Holiday makers coming from all over the world require or anticipate something different. In order to create an individually tailored itinerary that is well-matched to their requirements, she really dives in and asks as many preliminary questions as she can. “We ask a lot of questions! My clients come very much direct from overseas, we keep asking questions”.
Remember if you’re working with international clients, you are potentially introducing them to a different culture and way of life, so you need to be sympathetic to where they are coming from.
Honesty and Communication
Honesty is a key component in the conversations between Veronika and her customers. She tries to be as direct as possible, particularly if she sees that there are discrepancies with what her customer expects from certain aspects of the vacation to the reality that Veronika feels they’ll face upon arrival.
For example, New Zealand is a country of natural splendour, so coming by a shopping mall or late night restaurant may become difficult. This is something that Veronika will flag up, in order to uphold transparency and help adjust expectations with the nature of the country.
Veronika prides herself on being able to respond to clients within 24 hours if not sooner. Having a quick response time ensures that you are consistently engaging with your client. “People need to know where they’re standing with you”. When you see someone that is expressing concern, address it as soon as possible, “I understand how people can be concerned, that concern has to be taken away very fast, and that makes them feel comfortable”.
Not everyone has the capacity to be available 24/7, so sending a single lined email response will suffice until you can go a bit deeper into your customer’s request. This will mean that your customer understands that you have acknowledged them, and are willing to help.
Great customer service is all about going that extra mile. Understand exactly who your client is by asking questions, be open and honest about what you can deliver, and respond promptly with compassion when they really need you.
Listen to my entire conversation with Veronika here.