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The Midcounties Co-operative has unveiled a bespoke diploma and training programme in a bid to turn its homeworkers into experts in personal service.
The plans were revealed at The Personal Travel Agents 2016 Conference, which also showcased revamped websites for individual homeworkers and a ‘honey fund’ for agents to set up honeymoon gift services for clients.
Head of direct Sheena Darby said the group was investing heavily in homeworkers to develop agents with detailed destination knowledge and top personal service. “We will continue to push marketing, but it will be upscaled as we go on,” she said.
“We don’t want to fish in the same pool as the online players; we are about attracting customers who respond to personal and expert service. We want to get across the message to consumers that there is no extra charge for personal service.”
The training programme is being piloted in June, with seven PTAs going on a trip to Croatia, after which they will be listed as country experts on the PTA website.
The new “How to be a P” diploma, developed by Reality Training, focuses on different areas of customer service. It is hoped all 130 PTAs will complete the diploma by the end of the year.
It includes 16 training videos on aspects of personal service, and can be completed online, via webinars or at a workshop.
“In an office environment you listen to colleagues to help close a sale, but you don’t get that as a homeworker,” Darby said.
Sales that start online are up by 45% since revamped websites were unveiled six weeks ago, said Darby, while homeworkers’ margins were up by 5% on average year on year.
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