Home-based agent to be first in The Cruise Village's Scotland division.
Sarah-Nova Pattison never thought she’d leave the high street to work from home, but a change in her personal circumstances precipitated a career switch. Now she’s poised to become the first agent in The Cruise Village’s Scotland division
Q: What made you leave your high street job to work from home?
A: Homeworking was never something I saw myself doing. The reason I left Thomas Cook was due to a change in circumstances. I have three children of two, four and 12 and was looking for a childminder as my mother-in-law had to go for a knee operation. Childcare was expensive and I had to reconsider what I was doing, as my store was open until 6pm. I took some time out – making Playdough for about six months! – until I decided enough was enough. I love being a mum, but it’s nice to work. I did miss the girls at the shop, but I didn’t miss the job, as I was finding it so target driven. So I looked into homeworking.
Q: What made you choose The Cruise Village’s new homeworking division?
A: Homeworking was a minefield and so confusing. I was ready to throw in the towel when I got an email from Phil Nuttall at The Cruise Village that stood out. There were no facts and figures, or details of what would be expected from me. It just said: “Hi, we’re a family business, with good customer service. If you’re interested, phone me.” I could relate to the email and he was the first person I spoke to. I’ve never looked back.
Q: How does life as an independent homeworker compare with working for a high street multiple?
A: I set my own targets. Being self-employed suits me better. I am working more but I am in control, and I am not being told how to get customers. I have access to more than 400 suppliers, which I didn’t have before. I have got my passion back for travel. I get a buzz from it.
Q: What are your hours like?
A: My busiest times are in the evenings and at weekends. A lot of my enquiries are via email or social media. I try to work round the kids and make up for the (lack of) face-to-face contact when I talk to clients over the phone. Or I will offer to see them. I find people often email at 10pm or 11pm and I like to acknowledge their email. Homeworking is hard work. I was working until 2am last week and am getting 15 enquiries coming in a day. But the kids see more of me – there is more quality time.
Q: You will soon be taking calls for the new Cruise Village Scotland division. What will this involve?
A: Phil has given me a brilliant opportunity with the creation of Cruise Village Scotland. It will be dedicated to Scottish departures. I love the cruise side of it and this is really exciting. I will be the only one taking calls, but if I can’t do it, they will bounce the calls to other agents. It will be interesting to see how it goes. I have got a section on the website and a special phone number.
Sarah’s sales tips
Trust: I like to treat people the way I’d like to be treated. Customer service is more important than your sale.
Reward: Look after those who have booked with you, rather than new customers. Keep in touch with clients: I put everything in a diary and make sure that I remember clients’ birthdays.
2014 to date: homeworker, Creative Travellers, Paisley
2008-14: sales consultant, Thomas Cook, Linwood, and The Co-operative Travel in Morrisons, Johnstone
2002-08: Divine Beauty, Cardonald
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