Taking customer service too far. Travelstart-up stories 17/30

One of my
former colleagues, Torbjörn Karlsson, was an ex politician who got tired of working
the spi.jpgn-doctors. He reprogrammed himself to work in travel. I had him as a
pupi.jpgl in one of my first classes, that I designed, in how to use the Internet
as a travel consultant. This was a course the Swedish school system bought for
something called The Travel Academy. Thorbjörn was a charmer and I was always a
sucker for people persons.

So when opening
Travelstart I asked Thorbjörn to join me. We had lots of fun. He was our
spi.jpgritual support because he always made us crack up, while we were busy being
busy. He never took anything really serious and had a very easy outlook on
life. Thorbjörn had time to read the newspapers, I didn’t. So the mornings
always started with him referring to all big and local scandals. During the
height of dot COM he would always relate to the latest deals and they always
made me sick. We could always talk about literature and music and he knew both
very well.

was a charmer, as I said, and there wasn’t a customer who didn’t like him. We were
trying to become a real online travel agent in those days. As such I didn’t
want any personal service but a very simple no flair correct but un-personal

But this is
not how things came out. I happened to hire some very strong individuals who
did things, which they thought, was right. And the gospel according to my
colleague Thorbjörn was personal service. Therefore he always processed the fewest
customers but by far the most dedicated Travelstart followers. We addressed him
about this and said he had to direct customers to the website. But people
didn’t care, they wanted to talk to him. And so it was.

I guess he
liked the attention and care he could give people. But he is also a man of
flesh and blood.

One of his
customers was going on a trip and Thorbjörns vacation was coming up so he
suggested he would accompany the … GIRL. He didn’t expect her to say yes, but
she did. So off they went for a two week trip to the States. Talk about
personal assistance!
After he came home we were all dying to hear what had happened between them.
But I think he rather wanted to forget it.

Nowadays we
handle close to 3000 people a day and we don’t do customer service at this
depth but Thorbjörns spi.jpgrit of customer service lives very much with us still.

went back to politics and now service the whole Swedish community with his personal
service and wits. He´s a great influence in the society and he makes local
politics more human and fun.

Our Readers Comments

  1. When I worked in a call centre selling flights one guy there was selling longhaul flights to someone who didn’t want to book the flights offered because the departure time was early. The consultant closed the sale by offering the customer to stay at his house near the airport the night before the flight.

Have something to say...