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I had my five months internship in Reliance Travel Franchisee at Bukit Rimau Branch. One of the reasons I have choose Reliance company as my training place is because it is near to my place and It took me just 10 minute drive to get to the office. The other reasons is they are long established Travel Agency in the market, thus I think I can have more developments in myself while training in the company. Eventually, I was proud to be one of the staff for Reliance Company as they never failed to convince me with their best-in-class service and the best quality of their products even after five months.
Reliance Travel recently have just won the No 1 Travel Group in Malaysia on May 2012 which voted by consumer. Reliance Travel has been in the Travel Business since 1969 and it also stated as one of the leading Travel Management Company in Malaysia. Despite of having enormous competitors in the market such as May Flower Travel, Apple Vacation Holiday, and Malaysia Harmony Travel, Reliance Travel always improve their product specifications of mainstream products in order to sustain in the travel industry in a day to day basis.
Now, Reliance offering group and independent tours with widest choice of destinations around the world with guarantee best value. They also sell International and domestic air tickets on promotional fares to over 200 cities in the world with Galileo Ticketing Reservation System. Reliance also have contract with the worldwide hotels which customers can get instant confirmation through 25 of Reliance Travel Outlets around Malaysia.
I will never hesitate to work for Reliance Travel Company in the near future for the excellent services they have provided.
Reflective Commentary 1
Name: Tan Ching Huey Tracy
Date of Appraisal: 16 July 2012
Department: Sale, marketing, ticketing and administration department
My appraisal form was submitted to the head of department when almost come to an end of my training. To be frankly, the appraisal form was not done at the right time. It is because this appraisal form was done right after I had a small argument with my head. If the argument did not start among us, I honestly think that I can have much greater appraisal form compared to the current one.
Furthermore, the assessor that assessed my appraisal couldn't be any right, he is the director of my small office, and he was here most of the time to monitor and advise me during my training. I think overly he can judge correctly throughout the process of my training.
The appraisal form was done at my work place on the same day I passed it to my head. It is definitely in the right place with no disturbance and also not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion.
I personally think this appraisal form is below expectation when I looked at it. I honestly think that I can score better without the assessor putting personal feelings when assessing it. He should leave personalities aside and should concentrate upon the finesse on my overall performance. Work is worship. In fact, I even got praised by him before the assessed period and also before the small argument I had with him.
I have several personal strengths that keep me successful during the whole training period. I attend to customer problems quickly and effectively before it getting worse. And I think it is important in tourism line to be understanding for customer problems, customer always expect us to be solvable to their problems since they are the one who paid us. However I just got a B from my assessor.
To be an understanding worker in tourism line, we need always prepare ourselves before customer come to us about their travel problems. We need always keep it up with all the travel information and also travel documents around the world. It is because customers expect us to know more about travel than them. Therefore, when I first entered to training, I have always keep myself up to date with our tour products and get myself familiar with it whenever there are new products launch in the market. Because I know that in order for me to excel in work, self motivation is essential.
Areas for improvement
One of the areas that I think I need to be improved is the ability to work in a team. I would always like to work together with my team. But after a time to time basis, my seniors gave wrong info again and again resulted me getting involved into problems that I am not supposed to get myself into, it makes me lost the confidence towards them. Sometimes, I felt skeptical when I asked them about their opinion for some problems. But I was totally wrong, we should work in a team and discuss the ideas together to develop better idea. More people means more voices means better ideas.
In my opinion, I totally think that I should get B for the organisation of work column. This is because I always finished what I need to do daily without procrastinating. I uses time effectively by go through most of my company products before customer come to me. Besides, I never failed to ask questions whenever I do not understand certain works. I am eager in learning as always. The only bad side was I did not always use resources effectively in the workplace, I used brand new papers instead of recycle papers most of the time when printing something not relevant and not important. That might be the reason I getting C for this column.
Additionally, I always take criticisms with grace as learning stepping-stones. Criticism is crucial for personal improvement. Therefore, I can find out what are my weaknesses are and what I can do to improve on that. At first I have tried to not to be so self-conscious and take it as improvement in my life, because it can allowed me to earn the helpful tips that the criticism contains. But when it happened for several times for the same person it can be emotionally challenging especially when you are right in your position when others are merely blaming you to cover their mistakes. They often do not believe that there is anything wrong with them. However, I will focus on improving in myself rather than defend what I've been doing because nobody is perfect at the end.
Any other comments
Sometimes I think that my office team misunderstanding me when I do not express myself with what I think in the work place. They tend to talk among themselves for what they think I am, but in fact I just wanted to be on my own without any politics. It is hard for me to avoid getting involved in the work place politic, everywhere tend to have politics. After my training, I have learned not to avoid but to stay out of office gossip and try to express what I think are right and not just stay quiet in the corner.
Reflective Commentary 2
Name: Tan Ching Huey Tracy
Date of Appraisal: 16 July 2012
Department: Sale, marketing, ticketing and administration department
It was done at the right time and the right place and I am not so sure was it done by the right person. At first, I think that I will get an average appraisal by my second assessor which I called her as my supervisor. It is just because I openly support my director therefore I am unpopular among your colleagues. That is how they look at me. Because of that, they seem very suspicious towards me. They think I will transmit all their backstage news to the boss. Thus, they are unwilling to include me in any social discussion. Because then, they may think that any promotion or advantage that comes my way is unearned. Besides, I am just a trainee why would they gossip about all these? First I was wonder how should I go about spreading the reverse of the rumor? But at the end I choose to not care much.
Amazingly, she gave me honest appraisal that I felt satisfied with what she had assessed me. The appraisal form showed exactly what are my weaknesses and the strengths during my training. And I am grateful she pointed out one by one clearly so that I know where and what to improve in the near future.
One of my greatest strengths was the social skills I had inside myself. I find it very useful when dealing with customer relationship. After I have closed their sales, I always call up and asked for the feedback after they came back from their tour. I would never afraid of complains, because I think that that is the best way where we can attend to our problem and solve it immediately for minimize the mistakes in the future time. Besides, I do not afraid when customers are throwing tantrums on me, because I know everything happens for a reason. When they pay for something that they expected themselves to get, whereas when we do not fulfilled their requirements, they will definitely complaint about you. I always put their problems in my shoes, so I can understand their feelings for their situation, and trying to make them feel better by promising a better service in the future. Therefore, I have built good rapport with most of my customers. Even some of them does come back to my office for continue business.
Moreover, I think I can always work under pressure. I have an excellent memory and fast in learning. At once, I was indirectly informed my office director that I prefer to be busy than relaxing in the workplace. In a while later, he started to assign me important job like corporate sales to handle. But I never failed to show him what I am capable of. I kept asking and learning from all the possibilities I could. I did not give up when my senior colleagues gave wrong information that result me scolded by my customer. But I stayed positive, I created the environment that I would like to work in despite of the unhelpful informations. At the end, I had closed the very first corporate sale that it makes me feel proud of myself. I may look stress in the outside, but indeed I was enjoying myself in my favourite industry without any complains.
Furthermore, I have very good conduct in my workplace. In appearance side, I tied up my hair neatly every time I go to work. I did not put any of the make up since my director did not specifically mentioned about the need of dressing up and make up. But I always make sure myself in the best outlook before I go to work. I wore long pants and t shirt most of the time during my working hours. I always be punctual in my work place, is just sometimes my parents tend to be late to fetch me up makes me go to work at most 10min late. About the reliability, I will never say no when my senior colleagues asked for my help all the time. In fact, I always offer helps without they asking.
Areas for improvement
I think I have a big room for improvement in communication whether in oral or written. It is just because I created a lot of misunderstanding through communication either in oral or written. I used to deal with my office headquarter by email. Meanwhile, they complained about my mail for not being "sweet enough" to see from them. Besides, sometimes my team in my office could not get what I mean when I communicate with them about work. Therefore, I plan to read more business books for business writing improvement as well as attend some oral courses for oral training.
My 2nd assessor gave me a very good grade on quality of work. However, I think I deserve a B for that. It is because I tend to forget about some of the procedures for the administration works, and it happened for several times where I think I can be improve by writing down all the procedure one by one before carrying it.
Besides, I always like to motivate my office team to be more energetic during work place. But it does not turned out effectively. It is just because my office team has been working in society for long, and probably they have lost the passion in work, it is difficult to inspire them to boost their potential and give their all in their work. However, I will never let myself to give up in keeping my team feel inspired, because once inspired it is self-fuelling and hence increase the performance for oneself and increase the productivity of my office.
Any other comments
I am very satisfied with the 2nd appraisal, I hope I could improve accordingly to the weaknesses that she pointed out so clearly. And also maintain the strengths I have in myself to keep myself success in my life.
5 months' internship in Reliance small office provides me the opportunity to gain hands on work experience that I could not get in the college. Before I went to internship, most of my senior told me that it was just a waste of time, you usually will be assigned to complete menial tasks. You will not be able to learn a lot as most of the employer will not give you real jobs to perform during the workplace. Now, I am very sure that statement was totally wrong, I have learned more than what they have told. Maybe because I am execute my intern at a small travel office, hence my office director let me handle more things that what I expected.
During my intern, I have been placed in the front desk to serve the walk-in customers. Whenever there are someone that walks in to my small office, no matter how inexperience I am, I still have to serve them. Therefore, in order to carry the task like that, I will have to get very familiar will all of my company travel products. Not only that, I also need to know everything that related to travel, such as, the best time to travel to certain countries, how is the weather going to be like, what seasonality is it now, what is the temperature of the country, what is the currency rate of the country and is it suitable to go to certain country, therefore I must keep myself update on everyday news around the world. Then only I can consult them accordingly to the right informations. Besides, I also learned the tactic in answering incoming phone calls, whether they are current or potential customers, vendors or industry friends, I need to put in the relevant tone and choice of words to handle the situation, because it might determine the current customer will stay or the potential one will hang up or not. After I have served the walk-in and call-in customers, I need to follow up their enquiries in the time to time basis. I learned to follow up all of the leads to strengthen the relationship with walk-in and call-in customers. I have been amazed how much just doing what I was asked to do for a customer is appreciated, and how much not doing it will kill the chances to do business with them.
I have also learned ticketing in my internship. However, my office does not give me the chance to use the ticketing skills I have learned in the classroom in a real-world setting. It is because when in the college, I used to learn Amadeus Ticketing Reservation System. But in my workplace, they are using the Galileo Ticketing Reservation System. Those are two different systems with totally different formats. I find it challenging learning ticketing in my internship period, it was because I did not know anything about it when I first learned. After some tutorial from my colleague and also the studies of the format by own, finally, I managed to issue tickets at the end. Ticketing is not an easy job, because it involved a big sum of money, I have to be extra focus when quoting the price and picking the classes of the airfare to customer, because I might risk myself when I did any mistakes during the ticketing procedure.
In addition to that, I have also learned about some of the visa application requirements to some of the countries. It was because my office is doing visa business as well. I need to know all the requirements that all of the visa ambassies needed and advise customers accordingly. The charges of the fees by ambassies must be delivered well to customers, it was because they might come back and complaint you about the different charges that you charge to them compared to other travel agencies. I must take good care of their passports, because it is the important document to customer.
No matter how good you are in selling service and product, you will definitely bound to get complaints by customers, it is something inevitable in the business. I have learned to manage customer complaints intelligently and pleasantly without putting personal feelings, because it will ease the situation. At first, I was afraid of complaints. After a while, I realise that it could be the insight I have been seeking to learn why such product is not working, because potentially finding a solution will increase sales. Furthermore, listening to customer complaints can ensure that she/he will returns to your business as she really cares about your products and will come back to your business in the near future.
At the beginning when I enter my small travel office, I thought it might be less politic because it is a small office with just 5 of the staffs included me. But I was wrong. Whether you hate it, admire it, practice it or avoid it, office politics is a fact of life in any organization. And, like it or not, it is something that I need to understand and master to be sure of my own survivor in the small office. I did not know my colleagues talked behind me only after I accidentally saw their phone text messages, I thought staying quiet will be avoided in any unnecessary politics in the workplace, somehow surprisingly staying quiet had got myself involved in the workplace politics. Positive or negative, politics will happen. To deal with the workplace politic, I must first learn to accept it. Then, I need to develop strategies to deal with the surrounded behaviours.
I have learned that networking in business is important. When we know more people, the more business opportunities we will discover. Because I am a not really good in social networking, and I talked straight most of the time without turning a big round during my internship, this makes other misunderstand myself and stay further from me. Besides, I do not talk much with most of the people I think I am not close with them, make the situation even more difficult. Networking is the meaning that simply talking to people, making connections and developing rapport among other parties, this helps to grow the businesses we are doing.
After the five months internship period, I have learned how vital communication can be in the workplace. Honestly speaking, most of my colleagues are not really good in communications, therefore led to a lot of miscommunications in the workplace. When a problem in the office arises, it is often because of the poor communication in the workplace. We thought that relying email, sms or phone calls can get things done, however the important information in it can be misinterpreted if not communicated effectively. All employees in the workplace should learn to communicate clearly and effectively to ensure smooth running of the business. Good communication in the workplace can eliminate unnecessarily barriers and increased productivity in the workplace.
It is vital to know about my strengths, because it can help me be more productive and happier in the workplace. But I would argue that knowing my own weaknesses are also as equal important. The only way to improve in myself is to tackle those above weaknesses with which I struggle head-on and make immediate improvements in it.
LEARNING AGREEMENT 1
Student Name : Tan Ching Huey Tracy
Department : Sale, marketing, ticketing and administration department
Assessor : Steven Foo Subject Area : Marketing
Objective ( s )
To provide consultancy service to customer
To manage all quote & costing for customer quotation and confirmation
To get in sales through call-in, walk-in, corporate sales, as well as email
To familiarize with company travel products
Strategies for achieving the objectives
Study and understanding all products and services
Direct meeting with customer on their requests and requirements
Guidance given for all admin works and sales documentation
Guidance from HQ and also senior colleagues
Follow up calls, emails and walk in on daily basis
Target date for completion: 14 July 2012
I was having my training at Reliance Travel Franchise Company office. There are around 14 outlets in Klang Valley and we mainly focus on the Shah Alam community since my company office is located in Bukit Rimau. We also cover Subang, Bangi, Puchong, Kota Kemuning and other areas nearby. There is no territorial restriction in this travel business. Some of our customers work in Puchong but reside elsewhere. They come to us due to convenience. It is a small office that work based on retail hours at Carrefour Bukit Rimau. It has total 5 workers in the office which included me. Because the office was small, everything has to be done in all-in-one departments.
When I first arrived to the office which is the date I started my training, my director has already placed me in the front line to serve walk in customers. In the first 2 weeks, I spent most of the time reading my company travel products to get familiar with it. I have studied Asia, Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia and the middle-east continental travel products to prepare myself in the industry. I have also scan through all of the previous documentations of the company to allowed easier understanding when my senior colleagues are not free for teaching me.
At first, I was really panic stricken because it was the first time when I first served the customers on behalf as a trainee. Senior colleagues tried to help and advise me at the very beginning stage but not most of the times. When I was in my free time, I read the products and ask questions as many as I can from my colleagues. Therefore, I slowly developed myself with confidence, and finally closed my first deal in April which was a family tour to Chiangmai and Chiangrai for 5 paxs. That was when I also started to get involved with the quoting and costing of the quotation to customer. I find it difficult to calculate the prize to them as I was still rusty in the line. But when I understand the travel term, such as twins / triple sharing, child no bed, child with bed, extension rate and etc, things getting easier for me when I do the calculation and finally I got myself used to every of the quotation and calculation without doing any mistakes.
Since then, my company started to put me in the front desk without really assisting me. It is because I have already developed the basic skills to understand what walk-in customer needs and wants. I have also increase my sales performance by closing quite a number of sales for ground arrangement to most of the Southeast Asia countries such as Thailand, Indonesia as well as Vietnam. It is because I have giving the confidence to the customer that they will be in good hands if they giving me their business. I did not disappointed them at the end and some of them come back to find me for repeat business which really impressed me. Likewise, my director had also passed me company trips to handle. That is when I find it challenging to close company trip compared to vacation trip. After a time to time basis, I have learnt in drawing up complete and exciting itineraries for our clients. However, it is not enough, company trip client tend to be price sensitive as they are bringing more than 20 over employees above to their trips. In this case, a good approach for me is to show the customer the differences in price and value. I have faced a number of difficulties come to the company trip which I will talk more about it in the reflective journal section.
Consequently, I have earned my director trust. And for encouragement, my director has printed name card with my name for me. That makes me feel that I am value to the company as name card reflects who the person is. It gives people an idea of what the person is capable of doing in the event that the service one offers is needed in the future. At least I know I have been classified as someone that is capable in the company. As time goes by, I have also learnt to close the company trip, and get in quite number of sales in just 2 months. Sometimes, my sales performance can be better than my senior sales performance.
I have learnt how to speak professionally in the phone when dealing with customer call-ins. It is important to ask 'the right' questions you can and gather as much information as possible by eliminated the chances of an uneffective call before you response to customer. Although in college, during customer service subject, I have learnt the theory of being courtesy by answering a call, but only until you can put real world experience behind all the education you will only started truly understand why things are done a certain way for a certain reason.
In addition to that, I realised the importance of email dealing for business. E mails are extremely useful to disseminate information quickly and efficiently. Email messages are an important avenue to maintain communication with customers and business partners alike. My director gave me main company email to use in my training period. It is just because I do not have a personal email, therefore I used company email to deal with customers and business partners alike. I understand the importance of email especially in businesses is where you can keep a record of the transactions of the businesses. Therefore, I have learnt to keep an archive of mails for rechecking past information and transaction. It can also serve as repository of files, purchase orders, contracts, requests and other files that are attached in emails, as they can all be recovered later. Do not underestimate the power of the email, I have also closed my sales deal through email by dealing long term with customer. Emails are also great storage of our company client's addresses, potential customers, friends, employees and people you use to work together with. This database of contact information can also be conveniently retrieved anytime in our address book.
Reliance travel franchise is a company that needed franchisor to assist in term of operation. Our company franchisor which is Reliance Headquarter has been providing tremendous technical support as well as computer systems support to makes us a better sales person. Furthermore, other supplementary supports include printed materials like tour package posters, brochures and catalogues which are constantly updated for us. Therefore, we are constantly dealing with our Reliance Headquarter as most of our operations needed their kind assistance to support our daily business. It is just because we have up to 20 over Reliance Franchise Office in Malaysia.
We consult and communicate constantly via telephone and mail with Reliance Headquarters. Due to the first time encounter such email dealing with different department, I tend to use the formal way to write email which is simple and short, unexpectedly it lead to the dislike of the Reliance Franchisor. They claimed that I was being proud and I should have been more "sweet" in email. But I do not mean that .And now I have learnt to write "sweet" email so we can please our office franchisor to assist us in some operation issues. My director told me that in every business you do, there'll always be some ups and downs. There's no perfect equilibrium. It's like a marriage. Both parties are needed to make it work. In order to have good business rapport and relationships, the intention and action of one must be coherent and genuine. You cannot expect to benefit at the expense of the other.
LEARNING AGREEMENT 2
Student Name : Tan Ching Huey Tracy
Department : Sale, marketing, ticketing and administration department
Assessor : Vivian Low Subject Area : Marketing
Objective ( s )
To support office administrative work
To build a good rapport with senior colleagues in the office
To promote company products through our advertisement television
To perform simple ticketing
Policies & procedures allow employees to understand their roles and responsibilities within predefined limits.
helps you identify and take advantage of the sales opportunities that comes your way
Strategies for achieving the objectives
Assist on administration and production works
Listen carefully to their opinions. They may have better methods to overcome certain problems as some of them may have more experience than you.
Make sure right products are posted up through advertisement
Leverage on technology for online quick response and speed of delivery through air reservation system
Always make sure to adapt oneself with company policy
Keep oneself up to date to the competitors travel products
Target date for completion: 14 July 2012
Besides being placed in the front line to sell travel products and services, I also play a role in ensuring all the administration and logistic works are in a fine condition. Such as ensuring all the travel catalogues are up to dates, all the printing materials are sufficient in the advertise racks, Photocopying, printing or scanning information, being able to handle confidential information, office supplies are enough, and also ensuring working environment are clean and workable. It is because there are some customers came back complained about the travel catalogues are not being up to date as they went to other Reliance office to check out with the same products. We are asked to be extra aware on updating all of the travel catalogues once our headquarter has made amendment accordingly. Sufficient printing materials are in place in the racks to avoid the insufficient of the catalogues during the peak hours. The sufficient of the office supplies such as A4 paper and other accessories are important to ensure the smoothness in running daily business.
During my five months training in my office, I tend to sweep and mop the floor every morning when I came in to work. It is one of the policy of my company and is important to ensure the workplace is clean all the time to higher the productivity and efficiency of all of the workers. Beside, our lunch breaks also have been included in the company policy, which is every Monday and Tuesday only we are allowed to go out together for lunch, whereas other days we need to take turn for our breaks. Besides, my company has made it clear in the company policy that they do not responsible of any negligent loss that we make during work. It is a very difficult statement for me therefore I needed to be extra careful in doing all the transactions, such as issue tickets as well as quoting the right prize to customer. But sometimes there are things that stayed out of our control, some of my colleagues tend to make losses out of their realization, therefore, they need to be responsible for the loss.
At first, I was not encouraged to be responsible of the ticketing as it can make severe losses due to the negligent. As time goes by, due to the insufficient worker to work on daily basis, I forced to be responsible of the ticketing. It is also because my company using different airline reservation system from what I have been taught in the school, it makes me suffer during the entire ticketing period.
My company was using Galileo Airline Reservation System instead of Amadeus IATA Airline Reservation System. After all the training that my senior colleagues gave me and also the revision that I did myself, at last I managed to perform simple ticketing for customers by open book. In addition, I also started to in charge of the corporate ticketing by quoting the relevant airfare prices to corporate companies. I always make sure myself to perform in alert mode to avoid being involved in the losses of the money. There comes a case that there is this customer accused me for purchasing the wrong ticket to her, but the truth is she requested the wrong date to me, hence all of the unnecessary inconvenience occurred out of our expectation. She even wanted to claim back money from our company. After the incident, I always make sure myself to be extra alert and get the black and white from customer before issuing any tickets.
I always want to have a good relationship with all of my senior colleagues during my work. When I first came in to the company, I have a clear objective to stay focus on work and prevent myself to be involved in the workplace politic. When I first came in, my senior colleagues tend to take care of me well during my workplace, they always packed foods for me, and sometimes offered helps to me too during workplace. As time goes by, they tend to talk behind me is just they assuming that I am close to my director as we always go for lunch together. But I just ignored them and do not put in any personal feelings towards them as I understand workplace are meant to be like that. Even though you did not do anything to them, fair or not fair there will still be someone that will attack you out of your control. I have voiced out the above issues to my director too, my director advise me not to care so much as this are other peoples mouth, and as long as you did not do anything bad and focus on your job, everything will be fine. Then, I just treat them as I did not know anything and continue my daily working routine. Sometimes they gave me the wrong information regarding of the tourism information, at the end resulted of customer complaints, but still they do not admit their fault. I just kept quiet and respect them as no matter what they are more senior than me. I take their opinion wisely although it could not been used, because everyone tend to have different opinions.
I have did quite number of research of other travel agency products, this can prepare myself to answer customers questions when they tend to compare our travel products with other travel agency products. Keeping up-to-date with my industry is a key for building my expertise. By developing expertise in my industry, I'll earn the trust and respect of the customers around me. Also, I will know what is the strength and weaknesses that our travel products having, and answer confidently to the customer and make them feel reliable to our travel products.
Furthermore, our office has an advertising television outside of the office to advertise and promote our travel products to the customer. The advertising television has done a good role in attracting customer to come in for enquiry on further of our products. Therefore, to have better sales, I must make sure that I have put up the right travel products to be promoted on the television. Before commence any advertising, I have took some time to write down company objectives so they are clear in my own mind. The clearer my goals and objectives are the greater the chance your television advertising campaign will be a success. I also must aware of different season tend to have different products to cater for different customers. Therefore, a huge decision must be made before putting any relevant products up the advertising television.
Date: 16 July 2012
What Happened ?
It was early in the morning, when I was in my usual internship routines, I was on the morning shift that day with my senior colleague. We, as an office team tend to update each other every morning about what happened yesterday and the day before yesterday to prevent any miscommunication. This is because most of the office staff included me who works on different shift everyday. So my senior colleague talked to me about what had happened yesterday, this is because I was in my off day on yesterday. It was 14 July 2012. She also mentioned that there was Peter's secretary called up and looked for me urgently.
My customer called Peter Tan. On 21May2012, my director has passed me Peter company trip to handle as well as follow up. Peter wants us to organize local trip KUL-GENTING-PENANG-LANGKAWI for his supplier's family from China on 22 July 2012. They have confirmed tickets on their hands. In total it was 15 of them. So I did what I should do. Like asking our office tour operator to quote the itineraries that he required and showed him for amendment to suit his requirement after the quotation has back. Peter, he is a very price sensitive customer. At first, because of his different requirements, we have been adjusted the travel itinerary for like almost 3 weeks. After a time, he complained about the prize that my tour operator quote was too high. It seems that he was the one who asked for good quality along the whole tour, after all he complained about the prize. Due to my senior colleagues concerned about our profit, we discounted a small amount for him. I sent an email to Peter about the new revised price in the middle of June, and also tried to call him to talked about his company trip. But he did not respond to me. I thought he was occupied by his work, so I tried reached him in few days later, and yet he did not approach us for his company trip. Generally, I assumed that he found another travel agency to assist him in his company trip, thus I let it go by the flow.
Surprisingly, he asked his secretary to call me on the 14 July 2012. It was so last minute. As per usual, we need to settle all company trip a month before it departure. I felt it is inappropriate to plan for his company trip in this late hour. For his case, was just 6 days ahead to his departure. I was worried and I talked to my director about how urgent it is. However, my director seems like nothing when I told him. He told me to settle Peter travel itinerary and the price with him before it is too late.
So I called Peter again, he negotiate with me about the price again, I do not have any courage to deduct the company profit by simply giving discount to him. In conclusion, I did not have a very good ending with Peter conversation. Because I am not capable of make decision on my own. So I talked to my director about it, he called Peter up tried to settle the price and the travel itinerary. My director has failed to convince Peter of paying such price to his company trip. Then, we make up our mind to find another operator to quote for Peter, maybe we can get lower prize from the other operator, this was what my director said.
Nevertheless, we felt skeptical about, can it all be done within five days. We managed to get another operator to quote us the similar travel itinerary that Peter wants and also the prize are a little lower than the original price. We thought we can win Peter mind this time, unfortunately Peter argue with us again about small little things. He was complaining about the coach we are using for his tour, he did not want 30 seaters coach and he just want 24 seaters coach, this is because he thought that when he use 24 seaters coach, he only need to pay less with 30 seaters coach. He was complaining about the design of the coach, he want the elegant design but he did not want to pay the high price that incurred to him. He was complaning about we booked him Theme Park Hotel instead of Genting Hotel. We booked him Theme Park Hotel just because in this last minute period, we only have Theme Park Hotel room available, and it is also very limted. He complained non-stop about it. And it was like only left 3 days before his company trip departure. He even asked us to amendment the itinerary but taking the guide cost out, he wanted his own local friends become guide than using our guide. He wants us arranged the meal in Genting for his group personally, but since we do not has any contract with the Genting restaurants, it is such a hard time for us to do such an arrangement for him. But at last we manage to make the booked the meals in Genting Restaurant for him. We were glad that everything was settled after such a long debating conversation.
However, it has not come to an end yet. Another problem occurred again. My tour operator called me up to tell me that Peter's group can only stay at Penang for 2 night and Langkawi for 1 night whereas the original itinerary was Penang for 1 night and Langkawi for 2 night. Due to they do not have any ferry transfer on that particular day to Langkawi. Hence they need to stay at Penang for 2 night and Langkawi for 1 night. I asked my operator to change the itinerary. It is because I think that this is the only way we can make Peter travel itinerary worked out.
One day before the date of departure, Peter called up and scolded about the changes of itinerary. So I made an explaination to him about there are lack of ferry transfer on that particular day to Langkawi so they need to stay at Penang for 2 night. And Peter did not want to believe me, and insist me to change it back to the original itinerary. I was so tensed again, because it is just one day ahead their tour running. I even went to work when I am supposed to off that day. My director scolded me for not being professional by informing Peter about the changes in his travel itinerary. He talked to Peter and tried to convince him about to accept the new itinerary. At last, he agreed with the changes of the itinerary. Then, he complain about the hotels that his group staying, he said he already gave us the lists of hotels that he wants, but to tell the truth, he did not gave us any list of hotels, so again, we changed him to the hotels he wants. Finally, everything settled off one day before departure. He even refused to pay one day before his tour departure, he wants to pay after his company trip completed. But my director told him that was not the way, and finally he settled all the trip payment one day before his group tour departure.
On the exact day when Peter tour started to run, there were also several problems happened. Such as they called us in the middle of the night to claim that there are no one in the airport to pick their group up, but the truth is there is already our representative in the airport waiting for their group. Peter's local friend has even called up to me to assist them in booking one way flight from Langkawi to Penang for her, this is because she do not want to take ferry back to Penang as it will be long to take ferry to Penang than take the plane itself. Peter's local friend said that she will pay my company back when the tour has finished. She kept begging me to book the flight for her and promised to pay me back. At last, I trusted her words, and booked for her the flights she wants.
After a long week, finally Peter trip has departed. We thought everything were fine at the end. Unexpectedly, Peter's local friend called up and claimed that I booked the wrong flight date for her and want to claim back the money from us for her new bought ticket. But I am totally sure it was the right date because the ferry returned date was on 25th July 2012, of course I bought her 25th July 2012 flight ticket. But she claimed that she actually wants the 26th July 2012 date. I explained to my director that she twisted the fact. However, my director scolded me that It is also my fault that I did not get any black and white before I bought her any flights. It is a procedure to get a black and white note from her before we bought any flights to ensure that we are in the safe zone. In general, both parties have wrong. Me and her bear the flight ticket expenses equally at the end.
Reflection on experience
Looking back on the event, it turned out that way was because customer did not come back to us early for his company trip planning. It would not turned out so exhausted for both parties when everything settled in the early stage. It is also because of I did not make it clear with customer about our limitation, I should have acknowledge them for tour planning, it is subject to the timeframe. When it is less than a month, we could not be able to plan for them anymore.
Secondly, I should have discussed with my director about my role, what I can do and what I cannot do, without being so helpless when discussing about the cost with customer. I should not have been so careless without informing customer about the changes of the travel itinerary. It was the biggest mistake in my life. Also, I should have getting all the black and white notes before paying anything to customer. Because they might run away or denied the truth that they asked us to purchase this and that.
I felt so tensed during the period before and after Peter tour started. It was because that is the first time I am facing real world experience about handling customer in travel line. Before that, I was less experience about getting things done at the right time. And now, I felt so much confidence in handling any problems in the near future.
Learning from experience
Customer needs Outcome
Not all customers can be solved in exactly the same way. We need to stay on their side to think of their tendencies. What quick resolution they want and then help them to solve their problems. What I need is also to share expectations with them. We must ask them about their needs and expectations. I must treat it as open conversation than a problem waiting to be solved. Once we both agreed on a solution for a problem, we need to take action immediately. We as a service line, whenever we can we need to go above and beyond customer expectations. Dealing with difficult customers like Peter can be somehow challenging. But if I can handle the situation well, I may be even improve the relationship between customer and company, and create further opportunities in business.
Communication Channels Outcome
Looking back to the incident, communication skills become so vital than I ever thought before. Things such as how I can listen actively from what my customer wants, clear speech with my thoughts and point of views help in ability to effectively communicate with my customer. I need to always show my customer that I am listening to his speech through conversation. We as a service line, need to always acknowledge customer that we understand his/her point and keeping up with the topic being discussed. It is also important in speaking clearly throughout the conversation with customer. Think about my thought carefully before trying to state them the same. I need to present my thought with a clear manner, so the effectiveness of my point will not be lost when speaking with customer.
Financial Information Needs Outcome
It is one of the problems when I do not know about my company financial needs when dealing with my customer. It is important because it impacts so many areas of my company. I need financial information so I know how much my company wanted to earn, how much they can give discount to customer, what is their cost breakdown during the entire company trip, how much they will earn and how much they will loss. This is because I need financial information to negotiate with my customer for ensuring a better relationship with them. Next time my customer comes back, we can offer him a special rate for his tour as long as we still have enough net profit from the tour. Usually, margin for tour is high, so we must selected which tour we can give special rates which one we could not give special rates.
After the incident, somehow I think that training is so important in every field. It is just because I have never been to any training before I went to internship, therefore, it turned out helplessly when I facing difficult customers. Training to improving skills related to the interpersonal and communication of one employee can be an excellent communicator with fantastic people skills is an asset to oneself and company.
Read more case studies about customer relation and solving problem solution
Always listen carefully about what customer wants and needs
Always get a black and white notes from customer whenever they promising something to make business transparent
Always ask senior colleagues opinion about the problems I am facing and what should I do in the near future
always know the limitation on the workplace, without promising anything to customer
What Happened ?
One day as usual, I was sitting on the front desk doing my usual works such as follow up customer enquiries and organizing travel catalogues in our company advertise rack. During the intervening time, one couple came in to our office. The couple looked like they are in the late 50. They were looking for travel catalogues in our advertising rack. I make my move to the front to ask for their needs. At first, they said they want Vietnam Packages, then they changed their preferable destination again, I find it difficult to understand them, as they spoke imprecisely and harshly. My director saw the situation and lent me a help.
My director was asking them what they actually want. After sometimes, finally we understood their language. They want a package to Vietnam Hanoi and Halong Bay. The customer called Mary. She wants to bring her family which was 5 of them included her to Hanoi and Halong Bay for Holiday. We proposed our ground arrangement of Hanoi Halong Bay to them. They looked happy with the existing ground arrangement, Mary stated that they want a hotel with convenient location, and asked us for help in booking their Airasia flight for 5 paxs because Airasia was the cheapest among all the airlines. Hence, my director passed me Mary's case to follow up.
The next day, I discussed with my colleagues about which hotel that suit Mary requirement, and informed Mary about our finalize hotel. As of now, Mary was not satisfied with the itinerary that we proposed and claimed that our travel itinerary was"dull". I went on to search for other alternative to suit their requirement after the conversation with them. I went to ask from other operators about other availability of Hanoi Halong Bay ground arrangements. They asked me to wait for it, as they need time to look for me too.
I waited for 1 week for the other ground arrangement. I called my tour operator up, they said they are also waiting for other operation to send them the new ground arrangement of Hanoi Halong Bay. Mary called up, she scolded and claimed that she waited for our other ground arrangement for 2nd weeks, and yet she has not received anything until the 3rd week. She seems impatient but she did not show it much. After a week, finally I received ground arrangement of Hanoi Halong Bay. After sometimes of survey and consideration, I picked the most interesting itinerary for Mary. She was happy with the itinerary she said will come to our office to pay for the tour deposit the next morning.
The next day, when I reached my company, Mary already waited me outside of my office. So I welcomed them to the my office. This is the first time I have did ground arrangement booking. Mary asked me how much they should pay for their tour, so I calculated for them, and I asked them to pay for the flight first, later only settle the balance payment. Then my colleague came to me, and corrected that we have to collect 50% of the deposit before proceed to other stage. Mary scolded again, asked who should she listened when both parties talking the different things. So my colleague told my customer that I was new and we must collect 50% from her before we proceed to book for her tour. Consequently, Mary pay according to what my colleague said. For Standard Operation Procedure, my colleague asked me to fill up the FIT form, which was the booking form for ground arrangement. This was the first time I fill the form, so I asked my colleague's advises about the way to fill it up, my colleague gave me all the instructions and I followed them according. After I filled them up, I let my colleague to check about it. My colleague scolded me for filling wrong information in the form where I followed her instruction all the way, and that she insisted that I was wrong. Out of a sudden, Mary scolded my colleague, it is because she saw what my colleague taught me from the start. And yet, my colleague does not admit her fault. In order to prevent any further argument, I stopped the fight between them and I claimed that it was my fault. Customer made the payment and also passed me all their passport copies to book the flight for them to Hanoi. After a few days, customer called up and claimed that they want selected meals and seats on their plane. So I noted down what foods they prefer and which seats they want for their requirement.
When I book the flights for Mary through Airasia website, for the last 2 passengers I did not seems to transact successful through the website. It kept showing that the passport numbers of the two passengers was incorrect, I have tried up for a few times, the same thing happened again. So I called up Mary, I told her the passport numbers of the last 2 passengers was unable to get through the website. She got very mad and said it is impossible to be wrong for the 2 passenger's passport numbers and she could not be able match the passport numbers of 2 passengers as they are out station at the period. So I seek help from my colleague. My colleague said she will handle the case for me. She asked me to passed the file of the customer to her. The next day, customer called up and scolded even mad. She said she did not want all the things that showed in the email that my colleague sent to her, and asked why did we ordered those for her. She was trying to relate the Airasia booking problem to my colleague mistakes and said it must be our problems when we did not able to proceed for the last 2 passengers flight booking. After I checked the email, I saw what my senior colleague wrote to Mary. She must have overlooked most of the requirement of Mary stated in the file, and wrote wrongly to Mary.
So I told my senior colleague that I will handle it myself since I was the one who deals with Mary and only I will understand what Mary actually want. I called Airasia to check up with the problem I am facing. Airasia apologized to us for causing all of the inconvenience as their server down for these few days. They advised us to book all of the flight in another 3 days later. Finally I felt relieved about it, at least I know It was not my fault, the only fault that we did was sending email with the wrong information to customer.
After a few days later I allowed to booked all of Mary's flights, seats and meals through Airasia. I also booked Mary's ground arrangement through my tour operator. After a few days, Mary called up and said that they also realized that it was Airasia website error as their friend also could not seems to book the flight on the particular days. Everything seems fine at the end stage. Customer came and pay for the balance payment in next few days with polite face. I apologized even I did not do anything wrong, and wish them have a good tour after they left.
Reflection on experience
Looking back to the event, the event turned out that way first was because we are late to come back to customer about what customer wants. Mary was upset because we did not come back to her in the right timeframe. We only come back to her in a month later. Secondly, it was the problem harmony with staff in the office. My colleague she did not has any patient in teaching me, and she was being unreasonable at time being. It has also led to the 3rd problem which my colleague sent wrong email to Mary, it was because she did not follow my notes which recording of what customer wants. She was unhappy when Mary pointed out her mistakes and she want to take revenge above it. Lastly, the event turned out that way also because of I did not concerned about the external sources, and kept thinking of the reason that I cannot proceed with the booking flight procedure was customer provided wrong passport numbers, but not the Airasia server problem.
First I felt miserable, when external and internal were giving me problems. After that, I felt glad that I have learned such a good experience from the above event. When I didn't have any experience, I thought that experience was totally worthless. It was because I thought I have attended all the customer service classes have proven me into a great experience but I was wrong. Experience helps me focus on the right thing where I know what decisions I can ignore and what actually need to do right now.
Learning from experience
Approach to Management of Employees Outcome
As a staff for a company, it is important to have a good behaviour in a workplace. Because it might bring problems to the company or to the company's staff. If the employee involved in a misconduct that cannot be tolerated, management may use discipline to correct the behaviour. Come to think back that my colleague was one of the staff that did not perform well in working conduct. First, she did not have a helpful practice in the office to support all the operation. Secondly, she overlooked important notes and send wrong information to customer. Knowing a mistake is important to making sure that it does not happen again, it is the workplace culture where mistakes can be reported with confidence is essential. My office director should have tell my colleague that he would like her to reflect on what happened so he can debrief on the topic immediately.
My director should have send my colleague to training. Training is essential for helping employee to develop their personnel and organizational skills, knowledge and abilities. Training also helps in building a more efficient, effective and highly motivated team, which enhance my office position and improve my colleague morale.
Forecasting Methods Outcome
My office director has share the assessment of the past and current sales statistics to me for predicting the company future sales performance. My office director thought that it is important to invest in more seasonal tour operators to ensure business continuous running in speed. For the Mary's case, it was because the period of getting her ground arrangement was during Vietnam Off peak season, therefore, we do not have enough tour operator working on the Vietnam ground arrangements, which led to the slow progress of the operation, one simple sales forecast can inform every other aspect of the business.
Customer Needs Outcome
It is important to listen carefully and attentively when deal with customer and ask questions to customer. Looking back to the Mary's case, I was facing hard time when talking to Mary, it was because I was impatient and wants a quick answer from her. My office director was alert for the words from Mary that reveal her needs, he kept his attention on Mary and listen carefully what Mary's wants. Steer Mary into discussing the needs and wants which relate to the products was what my office director does and at last he did success in knowing customer needs and wants.
Always being attentive and patient when dealing with customer
Always ask questions when I do not understand certain procedure in work place
Always tolerate the workplace staff even they did mistakes as everyone have rooms for improvement
Always in discipline when I am in my working place