In the Trenches: Communicating How We Work More Clearly
We just had our annual Cranky Concierge get together in June, and as always, it was a lively couple of days. We came up with a laundry list of things we want to do better, and one of the bigger themes was around better communicating how our business works.
Oh sure, our clients usually know what they’re getting when they sign up for our service, but there are bits and pieces of the business that they we could explain better and earlier in the process. The hard part has always been figuring out how to share this info without overwhelming people. Fortunately we were able to work through a lot of those issues.
One example is our struggle around business hours. We’ve come to realize that instead of just focusing on trying to expand our business hours, we should do a better job of communicating what we offer. One thing we did recently was to begin turning on an out-of-office message as soon as we close up shop for the night. It doesn’t turn off until we come back to work. The message includes our office hours and also explains how to reach us in case of an emergency.
This has the added benefit of improving my life as well. See, having this message sets expectations for our clients, and that means I can worry less about being able to meet them. When people send us notes over the weekend or at night, we now know that they’re aware of our hours. So we don’t have to worry that people will get angry if they don’t get a quick response. Now we need to expand this to other areas, like the auto-generated message that gets sent to people who sign up online, and to the website itself.
We also revamped the emails we send in certain situations to help clarify our policies. When we ticket a client and send the confirmations, we now have a bulked-up standard template we use to more clearly explain our change fees. Again, this notes that we normally make changes during business hours, but if we do it outside of those hours would cost more. There are more examples like these and we keep going down the list, checking them off.
In the end, this is going to make our clients happier, and it’s going to help us rest easier. That’s a good combo.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.