Brand reputation is hugely important. As social advocacy becomes more and more synonymous with the consumer process, we need more than ever to ensure that the experiences we deliver are positive, enjoyable and worthy of sharing.
For the majority of the time, TUI brands deliver above and beyond this and, in my experience, the products of the Specialist & Activity Sector are second to none. However, there are the odd occasions where natural disasters, supplier issues or even our own logistical inaccuracies mean we don’t deliver quite the exceptional service we should.
One example of this become apparent to me over the New Year break. I was lucky enough to go skiing with some friends who own a chalet out in La Plagne; it was incredible! Such a beautiful location and, as it was my first time, I was introduced to the many and varied delights of skiing. I’ll definitely be going back!
Just a couple of hours’ ski away was the resort of Les Arcs, where some of my other friends were also holidaying with Crystal Ski. They too were loving the area and making the most of the beautiful conditions, one on a snowboard and one on skis. Crystal even set up a mountain-side meal for them one evening complete with a night-time ski back to their hotel, so they were having a fantastic time.
However, when the time came for them to leave, my friends encountered a problem attributable apparently to a logistical error at Crystal; their coach to the airport was booked 2 hours later than their flight was due to depart. This meant an entire coach load of people did not make it to the airport in time and thus the plane was delayed whilst waiting for them.
Crystal dealt with the situation and ensured my friends got home, but due to this error, my friend’s opinion of the company changed. He felt let down by them and considered their oversight an indicator that Crystal had not fully considered his personal experience.
Interestingly (and the key point of my blog), my friend, knowing I work for TUI and that Crystal is a TUI brand, decided to text his grievances to me, starting with the words “TUI Fail”.
Yes, “TUI Fail”. Not “Crystal Fail”, “TUI Fail”. He knows the connection of the companies and links me with TUI and thus attributed this issue to TUI and, more specifically, me.
The problem clearly wasn’t my fault. Nor was it likely to be the fault of one person at the company concerned. But suddenly, the negative experience my friend had encountered had changed his view of Crystal, of TUI and therefore, of me.
I’m extremely proud of my job and enjoy it immensely so it’s sad for me to find that people’s perception of what I do can be tarnished by something realistically so small. But it does highlight a key lesson; that reputation is key and that it affects us all.
So what can we do? Well, I am in no doubt that Crystal will provide the service to my friend that he deserves as their customer and, though I won’t profess to know what their procedures are or what my friend has consequently experienced, no doubt a process is in place. What is essential, therefore, is that we all adhere to our processes, delivering the best service possible at all time and recognising that, though mistakes or errors will occur, it is how we deal with them that counts. After all, it affects us all.
To illustrate this error in an abstract manner, and to give you something to chuckle at as a gift for the New Year, here’s a photo of me falling over on our ski trip: