An Operatic Failure

, , , | Right | September 15, 2017

(While I usually work in the head office, I have colleagues who travel to fairs and offices of our clients to see how they are doing and push sales. I get an email from my colleague in sales telling me about a client who got a travel package offer from us, which he forwarded to another travel agency in order to get a better price for the package from them. This is considered okay, but impolite in this business, since you normally keep prices and offers between business partners. Although I was using my best prices for his offer, the client tells my colleague that the other agency can offer him an almost 10% cheaper price, and he wants us to match this price for him in a new offer. I call my coworker.)

Me: “Well, I don’t know how [Competitor] did it, as they have the same services as we do, but they beat our price and they can offer it 10% cheaper. I’m sorry, but I absolutely cannot match that without losing money. It seems like this business is gone for us.”

Coworker: “Okay, well, what can you do? I will inform the client. You can release all the reservations for the opera. Thanks a lot!” *click*

(After a few days she calls again.)

Coworker: “I have the client on the phone again. He demands to speak to you, because I can not give him the information he needs.”

Me: “Sure, just put him through!”

Customer: “Hello?”

Me: ” Yes, hello, this is [Name] with [Company]. How can I help you?

Customer: “Your colleague told me that you cannot match the price of [Competitor].”

Me: “That is unfortunately true. Despite trying my best, I am unfortunately not able to match their pricing. I am very sorry that you book via [Competitor] now, and I hope that you give us another chance next time. I already released all pre-bookings for the opera that I made for you, so you do not have to worry about those.”

Customer: “But I want to book with you, can’t you just match the price of [Competitor]? I really want to book with you, and the offer is including the same services, it’s just the price.”

Me: “I am really sorry, but I can’t. And even if I could, the tickets are most probably gone now, since the piece is very popular, and it’s probably sold out by now. “

Customer: “Are you saying that I just lost the opera tickets?! I already booked the flight tickets for my client and cannot cancel any more! The opera was the only reason my clients wanted to go!”

Me: “I am sorry, but didn’t you say you have an offer from [Competitor]? Doesn’t he have tickets reserved for you?”

Customer: “Well, of course I don’t! Don’t you know the concept of a bluff?”

Me: “So, you told us you had another offer, but in reality just wanted to get a cheaper price by tricking us?”

Customer: “Well… yes! That is how business works!”

Me: “Sir, I am sorry, but this is not how it works. At least not if you want to keep on working with us. Good luck getting tickets with [Competitor].” *click*

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