Communication skills is important an important part of the travel and tourism industry. It is important to use the appropriate methods of communication for a given situation. Communication takes place face-to-face, by telephone, in writing electronically (e-mail and fax). Face to face is dealing directly with customers either face to face, individually or in a group situation. Dealing with customers face to face has a few ground rules. You must always smile greeting the customer, listen to what they are saying and always make eye contact, stay interested, address your customer by names, always thank when appropriate. Communicating by telephone is an essential part of daily life for businesses especially in the tourism sector. Using the telephone is a way of keeping in touch with one another weather its’ with customers booking or asking for advice. Customers find communicating by phone convenient and fast and cheap with instant feedback.
As a travel and tourism staff it is important to answer calls quickly, greet the customer with your name and organisation, smile while you’re talking speaking clearly, listen carefully and take notes. Written communication comes in many different forms such as letters and faxes, brochures, memos, reports, documents for meetings and advertisements. This can be formal, informal or complaint. It is important to make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes, the intended message should be conveyed, make sure it is made clear who the letter is from when it was received and who it is to, handwriting should be legible and it should be appropriate language. Effective listening and questioning should be the key characteristic of customer service staff. This is important when customers are unsure about something or don’t fully understand a situation. Effective listening and questioning should be performed by maintaining eye contact when facing the speaker.
Non-verbal communication is all about the way you present yourselves to others and transmit messages either intentionally or unintentionally. Making eye contact, orientation, postures, physical proximity, and gestures are all a form of non-verbal communication. Presentation is how staff and the working environment are presented to customers which is the important in the travel and tourism sector. Personal appearance is important like wearing an appropriate dress because what you wear at work says a lot about you and the organisation that employed you, the appearance of the work place and personal hygiene is key! Staff will not tolerate a staff member with poor body odour or bad breath. A tidy workplace enforces a positive attitude and environment. Staff should be clean and well groomed. Teamwork is about getting along with your staff members and having an understanding of each other but at the same time getting things done accordingly together.
Most work in the tourism sector is carried out by teams rather than individually. Good services and products all happen from the effort produced as a team to achieve a common goal. Team work will enforce a positive fun environment for an organisation by having the same understanding as one another developing each other’s character. Business skills are needed by customer service staff in order to carry out duties effectively which includes completing documentation that is relevant to the organisation. This also includes keeping records that are needed for internal purposes, IT skills such as sending e-mails accessing internet and using computerised reservation systems. Accuracy, legibility and complying with normal business conventions are important points to be followed. Complaint handling can be challenging but it is also rewarding and interesting. Staff in the industry must know how to handle situations and turn complaints into positive advantages.
Complaints should be handled correctly with feedback so that the customer can give the organisation a second chance to put things right. Staff should listen, thank, apologise and provide support to the customer. Selling skills is bottom-line when selling products and services in travel and tourism organisations. Even staff not employed as salesman come into contact with selling when they themselves are customers, expecting the highest levels of customer service, courtesy and attention when making a purchase. Being successful isn’t something that happens. Building rapport is a state of understanding with another individual or group that enables greater and easier communication. In other words, building a rapport involves getting along with another person or group of people having things in common making communication easier and more effective. This can occur in a shop, hotel, restaurant, at home, or in an office. Factors that influence customers to buy from a business or elsewhere is the tidiness and cleanliness of the sales environment, the appearance of the staff, and the attitudes received by the customer.
Establishing customer needs and expectations is to help the customer to state their needs and expectations clearly. Always remember that customers purchase products and services because they believe they need them. Expectations are what a customer expect to gain from the service or product received. Staff should start communication with an open question rather than questions that simply have responses like yes or no to gain more information. Features and benefits come after determining a customer’s needs and expectations. The next step is to present the product or service based on their specified requirements. The main aim in this stage of sales process is to concentrate on the features and benefits of the products using these statements during the presentation of the product…
Features statement highlighting the key features of the particular product, Advantage statement indicating what the product or service can do in general, and benefits statement expressing specifically what the product can do for the customer. Overcoming objections may occur after explaining the features and benefits. These may be based on price or availability of services or may resulting in insufficient choice range by the salesperson. In this stage questions will need to be asked to discover exactly why the customer is not happy and you use of persuasion will come into effect. Closing the sale is all about the persuasion of a customer to make a commitment. Product knowledge and communication skills have been used already to discover and match the customer’s needs and expectations with the right product or service. As a professional salesperson, one must truly believe that they can satisfy the prospect’s needs.