Over the last few weeks, a few things have happened here at HQ that have got us thinking about whether we could guarantee the quality of our trips or not. I thought I’d share that process with you.
First, our designer Charlie had his favourite cap chewed by his dog. It was a pretty sad day for Charlie. He loved that cap.
Sadly, it was a few years old and not on sale any more. Many people would have given up right then: item broken, no chance to buy a new one. That sucks. But Charlie really loved his hat…
So he contacted the makers (Patagonia) to see if they still had any spares of the same hat lying about that he could buy. He had his fingers crossed behind his back, hoping something might come of it, but not really expecting anything. To Charlie’s amazement, they didn’t sell him one. They sent him one for free.
Now, Patagonia have long been famous for a quality guarantee that sees them fixing or replacing even the most minor problems with kit you bought from them 20 years ago. But that, for us, takes it to a new level. After all, it wasn’t as if there was a fault with their product. No one was to know that Charlie’s dog would take such a fancy to the hat.
“How,” we asked ourselves, “can we do that in travel?” How can we offer the same level of awesome attitude and customer support that Patagonia had just demonstrated to us? #WhatWouldPatagoniaDo has now quickly become the mantra in the office. That’s an attitude we really want to emulate.
Travel isn’t quite as simple as a broken zip or misplaced stitch, sadly. And it’s not really possible to find a spare adventure lying around the stockroom to send out to a grateful customer. For a start it travel can be very subjective. One person’s idea of a broken and poor experience is another person’s 5* star review. You might not believe it, but it really does happen.
This week we faced exactly that situation. We received a detailed 3-page complaint about a trip, whilst simultaneously receiving glowing 5* reviews from other people on that same trip. It’s really not as black and white as, say, outdoor gear. Clothing either works or doesn’t, is broken or isn’t. Yet two people can experience exactly the same adventure holiday and come away with completely different views of it. Of course, we always hope everyone has a great experience, but bad reviews can happen.
So what did we do about the 3-page complaint? We did what we always do. We went back to the host of the trip that was complained about to discuss the details of the adventure at length. That’s both the trip in general and the specifics of that particular group. What happened? What was done that was maybe a bit different to normal, for whatever reason. We uncovered a few things that didn’t quite go to plan for the customer, so we agreed to refund them a proportion of the trip cost. As a result, that same customer has since left us a glowing 5* review and is considering another trip.
This did it for us. We handpick the best local guides and hosts to run your adventures, so we’re confident you’ll have an amazing time. So confident in fact, that we think we should put our money on it. When the 1-in-many-thousands mistake does happen, we should be willing to put it right quickly and painlessly.
So we’re now working on turning what we do into a formal policy, our Happiness Guarantee. And we’re trying to make it as simple and surprisingly enjoyable as replacing a chewed up cap. It should be live very soon.
An Edit From The Future
Why hello there! If you’re reading this article, we want you to know that we 100% made the Happiness Guarantee happen. It goes something like this:
- We handpick the best local guides and hosts to run your adventures. That means we’re pretty darn confident you’ll have an amazing time. In fact, we’ll put our money on it.
- We aren’t big fans of complicated rules and caveats, so instead this is a policy founded on trust, honesty and common sense.
Here’s how we work it:
If you feel let down by the experience or service you received, simply contact us. We’ll gather all the details from you, then talk to your host to validate the problems and understand where things went wrong.
If something did indeed clearly go wrong with your trip, or it wasn’t as described, and the problem was within the control of either ourselves or the host, we’ll work out a refund with you that’s proportional to the scale of the problem.
To help us make the policy work fairly and honestly for everyone, we just ask that you first point out the problem to the local host, and give them a chance to fix the situation while you are still away. Without having done that, it’s much harder to put things right, and it will be taken into consideration when assessing the case.
We and our hosts pride ourselves on the happiness of our customers, and this guarantee is designed to hold us accountable to that. See this customer review as testament to what happens when it is called in to action
In the 1-in-many-thousands chance that you need to make a claim, simply email [email protected] and we’ll be right on the case.