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  #1 (permalink)  
Old August 20th, 2004, 03:19 AM
C2
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Default An open letter to my TA

Dear TA,

It took three calls to you before you ever called me the first time. By then, I had a (warehouse store) brochure in my hand, ready to book a cruise. You told me you would meet (warehouse store) price and you assured me that I would be much happier if I went with you because you would "be there" for me where with (warehouse store), I'd spend my time waiting endlessly on the phone for answers.

I put a deposit on a cruise and waited for my promised receipt and brochure. I waited and waited. Finally, I had to call you and remind you to send these things. I also reminded you that I could have booked through (warehouse store) but you assured me that I would receive much better service if I would book through you.

Almost six months later, my final payment was due which I remembered shortly after the deadline. Instead of you calling me, once again I called you. After reacquainting on the phone (yes, you had forgotten who I was), I sent the final payment.

Forty days shy of sailing, I began to wonder where my final documents were. I called. You were out -- again. Someone else took my call and that someone told me she would check on the docs and get back to me which she did. Apparently the docs had just been mailed out to you the day prior and I was assured that they would be forwarded to me once you had received them. That was two weeks ago.

I will place another call to you tomorrow to inquire a second time about the final docs. I certainly hope this is the last call I ever have to make to you.

Oh, and one last thing... next time, (warehouse store) will get my business. Waiting on the phone a few minutes before connecting with an agent for (warehouse store) sure beats the heck out every single one of your countless unanswered calls, the mail you never sent until I called to remind you to send it, and the fact that you had completely forgotten who I was and that I owed you a final payment.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old August 20th, 2004, 04:12 AM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

I bet you're sure glad you got that "extra" service. Sorry to hear about all of the problems. It makes you wonder why some folks get into a customer facing line of work. I bet that TA is going to hate the changes the cruise lines (RCI and Carnival) are making to reduce the benefit of going through a TA.

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Old August 20th, 2004, 04:27 AM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

It's all related to the issues we've been discussing in other threads, and on USENET. There is a lot less incentive (read: money) to be made providing superior customer service. Many TAs are in business simply to skim a few hundred dollars off of each online booking, making it impossible for a human being to compete with a machine.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 06:43 AM
Maursea
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

Thats is why we research the internet for the best price and go with that online agency. We have rec'd much better service that the local TA in town.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 07:16 AM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

I'm feeling luckier every day to have found my TA! She has a small business (3 employees counting her) with a loyal customer base of many, many years.

She calls *me* when she hears of a good deal on a cruise she thinks I'd like and has also provided some wonderful land based help for my boy scout troop on a VERY complicated trip to the northern tier boundary waters.

C2, I hope you hear back from your TA soon and maybe get some sort of discount, or at LEAST a bottle of champagne in your stateroom! Good letter, BTW.

dorothy

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Old August 20th, 2004, 12:31 PM
C2
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

Okay folks, it's update time but before I tell you about today's adventure with my TA, let me say, this is a local TA, not an online connection that I made. She is not local in the sense of being right down the street from me or even in my community but she is local as in she is about 20-30 miles from my home. Someone recommended her; I'm not sure why.

I called this a.m. and spoke to the same bubbly receptionist who assured me two weeks ago that my docs were "just" mailed to the TA the day prior. Of course, as usual, my TA was "not in the office yet" so I took the opportunity to tell Ms. Bubbly Receptionist that I was not happy with the service I was getting from this TA as it sure seemed that I had to work to get anything accomplished for this cruise. Ms. Bubbly Receptionist told me that my particular cruise line does not generally send out final paperwork before 30 days and I told her that from what I have gathered from other people (that would be you, my CruiseMate friends) the paperwork from this particular line can go out 60 to 45 days prior and by 30 days prior, I should definitely have it in my hands but I reminded her that was beside the point anyway as I had been assured the paperwork was in the mail (to the TA) two weeks ago by Ms. Bubbly herself. After stuttering and stammering, Bubbly said she would check on the paperwork and call me back. She called back to tell me that the paperwork had JUST arrived yesterday (yes, I let out an audible snicker) and that she wanted to verify my address with me. As I'm talking to Bubbly someone in the office is also saying something to Bubbly. Wait...no way...it's MY TA!! I ask Bubbly some questions about shore excursions, how to book, etc., fully expecting that she will put the TA on the phone but, no, my questions are answered relay style between Bubbly and the TA because the TA apparently does not want to talk to me one on one. She already has my money -- why bother with any service at this point.

Do I expect anything out of this -- an upgrade, a discount, a bottle of chamagne -- an APOLOGY? Let's just say, I won't be holding my breath.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

It's a real shame when people in a service business don't understand that service is part of the business.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

I hope this is an open letter to your FORMER TA. Sounds like this one was not a keeper. We have been blessed with a winner in the young lady that we use.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 12:56 PM
Cruisingrandma
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

Guess I can Thank my lucky stars for the great TA I have! Next time she calls me I will tell her i do appreciate her too. But My Ta also has all of my business and I have recommended her to many more people I know. She gets all the credit for being Great and she gets many more customers too I bet!
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Old August 20th, 2004, 03:03 PM
JaneMarlow
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

I would be plenty annoyed with that treatment...I hope you let the agency owner know how you feel and what occured.

I book with Triple AAA...it has been very good.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 05:25 PM
C2
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

Jane and others -- Unfortunately and incredibly, I believe this woman is a co-owner of this agency along with her husband. This fact is not stopping me from sending a two page letter I wrote this afternoon telling her what I thought about her sorry "service". I assured her that I would be taking my business elsewhere - more than likely to the very place she wanted me to stay away from. Losing my business likely will not impact her but at least I feel better telling her what I think about her p-poor service, not to mention the outright rudeness she exhibited to me today. What a gem (tongue in cheek).
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Old August 20th, 2004, 07:45 PM
JaneMarlow
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

That goes to show, and rightfully so.....when we are happy with a service we tell two people about it....when we are UNHAPPY with a service we tell everyone who will listen!

I know I sure do.
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Old August 20th, 2004, 10:54 PM
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Default An open letter to my TA

This just makes me appreciate my TRAVEL AGENT even more than before.
I talked to him yesterday and today. Got thru the second time, had to wait
10 minutes for a return call the first time.
When you find a good one, hang on.

Joemo

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Old August 20th, 2004, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

In any service industry, the value that the service adds to a transaction is the number of dollars the market is willing to pay for that service. In my line of work, I have seen tax returns for travel agents, in general (non specific) retail travel agencies for over 100K per year (rare), and I have seen many under 25K.

It seems that in a number of cases, the ones at the lower end of the pay scale are the ones that complain about their job, their industry, and will look to anything other than themselves to blame. The professional travel agents (the ones earning a good income) don't seem to be the ones running around complaining about their customers and their industry. They provide quality and value to their clients and their clients pay for it.

Society places a different dollar value on the service of flipping a burger than it does someone who opens up another's brain and operates on it.

I can go online and book my cruise, and find I have more knowledge than many travel agents. This is not the case with my lawyer, her knowledge is very valuable to me and I pay her very good money for it.

Travel agents will soon realize that they can't expect to get paid for doing something that someone else can easily do without adding value to the transaction. They have to be better, more efficient, and make the purchase more convenient for me, as I have to, in my line of work.

banker



Post Edited (08-21-04 00:04)
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Old August 21st, 2004, 06:11 AM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

That's why we stopped using TAs and started doing our own booking. We live in a small town and have to travel 20+ miles to find one and we seemed to be doing all the work anyway. Why pay them? We book online knowing there won't be any personal service, but we weren't getting it anyway. The first time we booked online, we researched and found what we wanted at a price we thought was good. My husband called the TA we'd been using and she said without missing a beat, "I wont' sell mine that low, you'd better book with them." He said she sounded like it ticked her off that we were even somewhere else checking prices. I understand that some of the smaller agencies can't cut their prices as low as the online agencies, but if we were getting something for the extra $$, we probably wouldn't mind paying more. Champagne? Bon Voyage gift? Forget it. Once they get your money, they are through with you. If you're lucky enough to find a good one, you'd better hang on to her or him.
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Old August 21st, 2004, 10:26 AM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

Nasmas I may be way off on this but even now working at a small TA as compared to Expedia we won't cut our prices either. I have had Mr X after I gave him a price tell me Joe's TA gave this to me for x.xx less and I have had to tell him that this is our bottom line. Hopefully they felt like I was polite.
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Old August 21st, 2004, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

I stopped using my local TA over a year ago because he had no interest in booking our family reunion at a price near what online agencies were offering. I mean, if it was $20 per person that would've been o.k., but he was over $100 per person higher (I think it was actually $120 more). For a group of 16 people that was quite a sum of money.

Instead of making 14 new customers and making an additional $320 on the booking, he lost the loyalty of Mrs. Thomas and me.

I now book through the online agencies through Cruiesmates (bargain finder/Cruisecompete) most of the time.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old August 21st, 2004, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

It's all personal choice, TA's are no differnet from plumbers, carpenters, repair men, lawyers, doctors and accountants. Some are good at what they do and others are pretty poor.

A job title does not guarantee you will get good service or advice, only experience of the individual I'm afraid gives you the answer and when its done right you go back. If not try again with someone better.

C2's problem was and I'm sure we all do it, is you get a gut feeling early that things aint right, but you carry on, and it gets deeper and deeper.

Maybe sometimes we should go more with the gut feeling about how this person is going to provide what you want and if its not there. look for someone better at their job

But I still want the comfort of the across the desk one 2 one with a good TA.
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 09:00 AM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

I'm with you, Bicker. I like that 1 on 1 with my TA.

My TA is also an avid cruiser and has cruised just about every line, so it's great to hear her experiences. She is very careful to qualify all her "reviews" with the "well, FOR ME" statement. She also made an effort to get to know me so that she could make recommendations about which cruiseline, ship I might like best.

After I returned from my 1st cruise she called me and wanted a full review! I asked her if she was putting this information in my "permanent file" and she said "Well, of course!"

dorothy

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Old August 22nd, 2004, 12:43 PM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

i have stopped using a storefront ta years cruises ago because i really did all the work and all she had to do was cut the ticket and i couldnt see paying top dollar for that---when i found cheaper fares i went to her and she wouldnt budge but she did say enough things about online tas that made me stay with her for that last cruise---never any sort of gift or even a followup phone call to see if we had a good time ----then i took a deep breath after reading many reviews about a particular agency and went with them and i have never looked back -service and professionalism is first rate---even had to cancel a cruise once and my deposit was returned as fast as they originally took it without any sort of penalty fee ----their response time to e mail messages is wonderful - i wrote them one time at 11pm on a sun nite and had an answer within 22 minutes ---my old ta worked about 5 min from my house and sometimes it took days to get any sort of response

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Old August 26th, 2004, 09:15 PM
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Default Re: An open letter to my TA

If anyone ever needs a TA in the Los Angeles area, let me know. I can go a year without talking to mine and she always remembers who I am and what I like, and what my partners name is. I never have to give her any basic information because she alwasy has it, and is the best TA I have ever delt with. I always get a call about a week before final payment is due, and once the docs come in she calls me to see if I want to pick them up or she will mail them. Once on a trip to Hawaii (non cruise trip) we had a proble with rental car, and when we got back she sent letters to aavacations and the rental car company and got us money back. Calls are always returned right away. She IS the best. Let me know if anyone wants to use her.

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