A human touch enables KHM Travel Group to thrive in a tech-dominated industry

 

Authenticity

As important as personalization is between agents and customers, it’s equally as important between host agency and agent.

KHM’s training regimen is a self-selected choice between in-person boot camps, online training, or both. Three-day boot camps teach the sales processes, popular destinations, and compliance and financial issues, and enable fellow agents to mingle.

But given that about one out of every six new agents will attend a boot camp, making a personal connection with 4,000 agents for a company that employs 48 full-time support staffers is important. KHM’s customer relationship management software is a big part of that. When agents call the support staff, staffers enter notes from the conversation into the CRM so that if another agent takes the call there’s a record of previous encounters. But it’s Zimmerman’s personal approach that makes all the difference.

“It’s this kind of engagement with our agents that is important,” Zimmerman says. “At every one of those meetings and when things arise on Facebook, somebody gets my card or they get my cell phone number. That’s the cell phone that I carry around with me all the time. I tell agents, ‘You’re going to get my card and you’re welcome to call me anytime day or night because I truly care about your business. I want your businesses to succeed.’”

That personalization is also expected from the staff at KHM’s Brunswick headquarters, all of whom talk with Zimmerman during the onboarding process about the company’s core values. In that conversation, he needs to hear that they’re willing to buy in and willing to put their interests aside to take care of the agents.

And according to online reviews, most agents seem happy with KHM. Many say the training is great, and that Zimmerman, in some way, shape or form, made a personal connection that made them feel as if they were part of the company rather than some satellite agent in its distant orbit.

Hanging on the wall in Zimmerman’s office is a framed T-shirt signed by the Brunswick office staff. He called attention to it as he talked about buy-in, authenticity and putting others first. He says those traits are needed when on the phone with an irate agent or customer, when it’s important to settle them down and find out what’s really going on.

“That’s what I’m looking for, is being willing to buy in to what we have here,” he says. “You know, authenticity. I think that’s what our agents tap into with me. They know that I really want them to succeed and that if they have a problem I’m willing to get to the bottom of that problem, figure it out, turn it around and make them successful.”

TAKEAWAYS

  • Spot the flaw in your competition and exploit it.
  • Make a connection with your customers.
  • A straight line might be shorter, but it’s not always the best path.