Within the field of customer engagement there are multiple sales techniques, and each customer requires an individual approach since they all have different purchasing behaviour and different needs.
For example, twenty minutes ago I was looking at plane tickets for a vacation next year. I searched for the cheapest tickets and within seconds I found a good offer. Since I travel often, I know how to purchase a plane ticket, what I am looking for and what I am willing to spend. It can be said, my type of sale is a transactional one (Peelen & Belman, 2013).
However, when someone is travelling by air for the first time, the type of sale changes. They might not know exactly how it works, have doubts as to which ticket to buy and need assistance. The purchasing situation for this case is the consultative sale: a sale where the customer’s requirements are identified and a solution is proposed (by Peelen & Beltman 2013). There is a need for consulting, and multiple airlines use this knowledge to create the perfect sale.
Thomas Cook is one of them: they offer the opportunity to chat live with one of their agents, which allows you to ask all questions you want and they will assist you the best they can. Whether you need help with your booking, a cancellation or other issues, the live chat is a very fast responsive way to get consulted (Thomas Cook, c2017).
When it comes to the consultative sale, it is beneficial that there currently is a much deeper focus within the airline industry on understanding the behaviour of customer. Educating them if needed works in the advantage of both the airline and the customer (EyeforTravel, 2013).
The challenge for airlines here is how to know what kind of sales technique to use for what kind of customer. Since it is typical that most airlines deal with more than one type of sale situation, there cannot be a focus on one sales technique only. As mentioned by Peelen & Beltman (2013), the best way for airlines to achieve an increase in sales and create the best sales experience, is to approach each sales situation individually and appropriately. The appropriate sales approach and the relationship potential will be determined by the added value airlines can bring to the sales transaction (Rackham & DeVincentis 1998).
Airline must focus on not adopting multiple sales techniques for one sale since this will lead them into the no-man’s-land, which is not profitable for both the airline and the customer (Rackham & DeVincentis (1998). In this case, the requirements, needs and wants of the customer are not met and this causes the airline to lose sales. Therefore, it is of significant importance that airlines tackle one sale at the time, find out what kind of sales technique matches the needs and wants of the customer and create the best selling experience for both parties involved. Because in the end, they are selling to YOU!
EyeforTravel (2013). Personalisation + Differentiation = a smarter way of selling airline offerings. Retrieved 8 October, 2017, from https://www.eyefortravel.com/distribution-strategies/personalisation-differentiation-smarter-way-selling-airline-offerings
Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. (2nd ed.). Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.
Rackham, N. and DeVincentis, J. (1998) Rethinking the Salesforce: Redefining selling to create and cap- ture customer value, New York: McGraw-Hill.
Thomas Cook (c2017). How do I start a Live Chat?. Retrieved 8 October, 2017, from https://support.thomascook.com/Before-You-Travel/Booking-your-Holiday/11704998/How-do-I-start-a-Live-Chat.htm