Our favorite saying at Tique is “protect your peace” and we truly try to practice what we preach. The reality is that we cannot serve our clients properly if we are always playing defense and operating from a reactive state.
There is so much to unpack on this topic, and we’ll be honest that it’s too much just for one podcast episode, but we did our best to hit the highlights.
Requiring A Completed Inquiry Form
Advisors get a lot of candid messages through social media and texts. There is this mindset that since travel advising appears to be “fun” and based on leisure- that people can treat an inquiry in a leisurely way. Our least favorite statements are the “just” statements- if someone is “just” asking for advice or “just” wanting some quotes, it’s a tip-off that they are treating your expertise a little too casually.
To ensure that a client is buying into your process, in a comfortable and friendly way, direct them to the inquiry form instead of a personal communication platform (like Messenger or text). A sample response is, “I’d absolutely love to help! So that I stay organized and your request doesn’t get lost – if you could complete my inquiry form, that will get you into my system and allow me to get you started.”
We’ve found that if the individual responds but doesn’t want to complete the form because they are looking for more casual advice, they are most likely not the ideal client. Circumventing this part of the process discredits the advisor and rarely ends well.
We recommend explaining that once you receive the inquiry, they’ll receive a link to schedule a call. By stating that an appointment is needed to work with you, you are reiterating that you are a true business and can help set the tone of the relationship. Plus, you can add some additional qualifying questions in your scheduler that will allow you to further prepare for their intake call.
Create a Scheduler Account
For scheduling, we love using Calendly! A few key things allow for using a scheduler to create successful boundaries. The first is that a scheduler allows the advisor, to outline the ideal availability. At the same time, this allows the client to select the time that best suits their schedule. Using a scheduler is to the benefit of both parties.
For advisors who are working in full-time roles outside of the travel industry, providing a scheduler can allow structure without the client realizing that the advisor is in another role. Clients are more likely to trust someone with a travel investment if they are under the belief that travel planning is their sole profession.
Another best practice to employ is blocking only certain days for calls. We don’t prescribe to the philosophy that advisors should pick up their phones. Since advisors are usually a team of one, we recommend allowing a voicemail response to help triage calls. If an advisor is constantly picking up the phone, it can be impossible to service the sales that are on the books. By reserving certain days for calls, and other days for managing the business, an advisor can have more balance in their weeks.
Calendly also creates a link so that you don’t have to use your own phone number to call (Zoom or Google meet. Avoiding sharing a number can help protect an advisor from future unexpected calls.
Lastly, Calendly allows multiple types of “events,” which can be designed for various parts of the process. We recommend utilizing the “workflow” and additional question features to create additional boundaries, specifically asking if the client has reviewed the provided materials and is aware of the call cancellation policy.
Limit Texting To Emergencies
We mean this in the kindest way, but your validation should not come at the price of interrupting a client’s trip. We believe that “no news is good news” – if a client needs you, they will absolutely let you know.
A great approach is to manage expectations in the pre-travel documents. You can include all emergency contact information in the wrap-up documents, as well as in the automated email that is sent on the client’s date of arrival.
Clients can be instructed to text/call the business number, but only if it is an absolute emergency. If an advisor texts the clients to “check in,” it can cause a waterfall effect of questions that may have already been provided in previous communications (or is easily accessible with resources that the client has immediate access to during their travels).
Create Thorough Wrap-Up Documents
Wrap-up documents are truly “make or break” when it comes to boundaries. When details are failed to be shared prior to travel, the gates can be opened up for those unexpected texts.
A wrap-up email can be lengthy, but ensuring that all details are outlined can create a much smoother experience for both the traveler and the advisor. We recommend doing the following:
- Create the online itinerary (we like Travefy)
- Compile the documents and files into the appropriate tabs of that itinerary software (this should include all vouchers, tickets, and receipts- inclusive of cancellation policies)
- Edit your wrap-up email template to match the destination (we recommend our EEW program templates)
- Copy and paste the body of that email into the header of the digital itinerary
- Create a Loom video walking through the technology, wrap up email, local norms, emergency contact information, itinerary, and documents
- Attach A “What To Do When” guide that allows your clients to have a guide on steps of escalation during emergency situations
- Include a link for clients to schedule a call, if they still have questions.
From experience, we can confidently say, that your clients will be more excited about their trip, more prepared, and in less frequent communication with you if you were to provide all these items.
Create An AutoResponder
We love leveraging technology to help create boundaries! By implementing an informative auto-responder, you can point people in the right direction by creating an automatic email responder. While many people use these solely for vacation, an autoresponder can be used on an everyday basis.
Things to consider including in an auto-responder are:
- An expected response time
- Hours of operation
- Relevant travel updates
- An FAQ section
- General reminders on the business processes
Protect Your Liability With A Signature
You may not think that you can protect your business with a simple email signature, but documentation will always be something that is considered in a court of law. You can utilize technology to include important details that you want to make sure are documented.
When creating an email signature, bullets including information about flight policies, the recommendation to purchase insurance, and TSA requirements can all reiterate items that can otherwise open you up for liability.
Remember, if it isn’t documented, it’s like it never happened! Don’t let any details be missed simply by not putting the right systems in place.
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