We’re delighted to announce that the shortlist for the Customer Service Champion 2021 category sponsored by Iberostar has been revealed!
This accolade will recognise one individual agent for a specific case in which they went above and beyond to deliver extraordinary customer service to their client.
And the finalists are…
With dogs often referred to as man’s best friend, Brekelmans was faced with an unusual challenge when an ex-pat family living in the Philippines decided to return home to Europe due to ongoing lockdown in the country. Repatriating the family was all in a day’s work, despite the pressures of the pandemic, but returning their five much-loved dogs, adopted from Filipino streets, was not. Brekelmans lobbied the airline to allow the dogs to travel and then arranged the transport for two of the smaller canines – with excess baggage allowing up to 32kg including cages. A shipping agent helped prepare separate cargo for the remaining larger dogs. After two weeks of intensive coordination, the family and their furry friends took to the skies and arrived home safe and sound.
As customer services manager for Cassidy Travel, Daly has her work cut out, particularly so over the past 12 months. With policies and procedures needing updating rapidly, Daly took it all in her stride writing the company’s terms and GDPR policy, She also handles all customer queries and complaints. In one instance a client had a serious accident abroad without any travel insurance. Daly persuaded the hotel to allow the client to stay in her room free of charge and the supplier to provide transport to and from the hospital and to return to the airport. Cassidy, meanwhile, arranged return flights as a gesture of good will. Daly’s colleagues see her as the “unsung hero” of the business and no doubt the client in question will be singing her praises for years to come.
An excited client was quick to hop on the Eurostar and head to the south of France with his extended family once lockdown was lifted last July. Switching stations via taxi in Paris, his granddaughter left her little case filled with beloved toys at the taxi rank. Once settled on the train, they realised what had happened and phoned Dooley. Springing into action the agent tracked down the case at Gare de Lyon easily enough, but bagages perdu (lost luggage) could only organise delivery within France. After working through a few solutions, Dooley decided to simplest course of action was to collect it herself. With her own son in tow she headed out to Paris, at her own expense, collected the suitcase, stayed in the city for the weekend and then returned home, dropping the suitcase at the client’s house. The client and his granddaughter were so grateful they visited the next day, bringing a bunch of flowers as thanks and a rescued toy bunny to meet her.
When a ski holiday in Austria didn’t go to plan, Furlong worked tirelessly to look after her clients from afar. Among a party of seven in St Anton was a woman in her 60s with underlying health issues who was struck down by Covid-19 in early March. A few days later she was taken to hospital 100 miles away. Three of the party then had to quarantine while the other three flew home. Furlong was in touch with the isolating clients daily, providing information as well as reassurance and comfort. She also managed to reach the British Consul via social media to ask for assistance. With the hospitalised customer very unwell, Furlong arranged for her children to fly out for a fleeting visit to see her through the hospital window. Fortunately she recovered enough to go home and after travelling via Germany the whole party returned. Furlong then set about helping them with all the necessary documentation for the insurance claim and they were extremely grateful for all her support.
When a round-the-world trip for a couple of long-standing customers went awry, Mangan was quick to step in and salvage the situation. After a lot of planning, the couple ran into trouble almost immediately when one of them had an accident and was hospitalised. Luckily they were able to continue the trip. However on reaching Bora Bora, the Covid-19 crisis took hold and they were told to return home as quickly as possible. Mangan rearranged their flights and they reached Tahiti smoothly enough but there they were told that they could no longer transit via Auckland. With a flight via Tokyo available but only with onward flights booked, the client contacted Mangan again who immediately booked flights from the Japanese capital back to the UK. They were the final two passengers to board the flight out of Tahiti.
Price found herself in a challenging situation when a pair of loyal clients in their 70s were stranded in New Zealand last March. Determined to enjoy their trip, the clients set off in March despite growing concern around coronavirus. Price set up a WhatsApp group with the couple as they had no family to assist them in the UK. Once they realised they needed to return, Price found new flights for them but they sold instantly and their airline also cancelled their original return flights. Price registered them with the Embassy to be notified of any repatriation flights and signed up to the British Consulate for updates on a daily basis. The client accepted their fate and extended their stay, all the while Price was scrambling to get them on a flight home. Finally a flight became available and Price checked them in, sent boarding passes, and tracked them every step of the journey. She also offered to get shopping in for their arrival home and contacted their cattery. Finally after a long process of claiming back lost funds, Price was able to give the clients a full refund, plus out of pocket expenses, leaving a couple of very relieved customers saying they were forever in her debt.
When a trip of a lifetime to New Zealand for some new clients was compromised by Covid-19, Rowdon pulled out all the stops. Initially sceptical of booking with an “unknown” travel agent, the couple were extremely impressed with his service through the booking process and were enjoying a fantastic holiday, until disaster hit. As the couple were faced with New Zealand level four lockdown, Rowdon contacted his New Zealand ground agent and was also available himself 24/7, simultaneously keeping in touch with the couple’s family in the UK. The pair headed for Christchurch where a motel room was booked, which gave them access to supermarkets, parks and corner shops within the walking distance allowed. Rowdon booked them on flights home as soon as possible and secured a refund for the curtailed part of the holiday. The clients are looking forward to completing their planned trip one day and will undoubtedly be rebooking with Rowdon.
The TTG Top 50 in Training virtual event provided the UK and Ireland's top travel agents with educational presentations to bolster their destination and product knowledge, as well as opportunities to network, download marketing material and win prizes.