A focus group of 14 agencies, representing 31 branches, worked together to devise the assessment criteria this summer, and have been able to use the results to benchmark themselves against each other and their local competition.
Head of trade Alan Cross told TTG that while the operator has used mystery shopping across its own business for 10 years to improve customer service, it realised sales by agent partners was the missing piece of the puzzle.
“Mystery shopping is quite a sensitive subject, but our Service to Success initiative has been about helping agents improve their businesses,” he said. “Other tour operators might plough in and give you extra commission, or a £20 voucher per booking to get your business, but that doesn’t help anybody improve.
“We want to work with agents long-term to help them sell better and have a better business model for the future,” he added.
The project has revealed that simple sales habits such as standing up to greet customers and wearing name badges have a significant impact on sales. It has also generated guidelines on the best ways to describe and sell extras such as assigned seats and
Cross said he was surprised when members of the focus group ended up sharing their results openly with each other. “We only supplied the information as a summary report so agents couldn’t see who’s who, but they are sharing with each other and opening up to see what they can learn,” he said.
While the first phase of Service to Success focused on first impressions and quoting, the next stage will assess the booking process.
Cross said he hoped to extend it to cover the entire customer journey, including travel agent communication while their clients are in-resort.
“It’s gone down a storm with the focus group and they’re all keen to stay in the programme,” said Cross.
“We can’t offer it to all 2,000 travel agents we work with but we definitely want to expand it next year.”
Jet2holidays is currently ranked 4th out of 250 companies in the UK by the Institute of Customer Service, beaten only by Amazon, First Direct and John Lewis.