Nicolene Diedericks, a TC from Kimberley, joined Travel Counsellors in 2013. Ten years in, her business is stronger than ever, with great personal service as the backbone.
Nicolene shares her story with us.
How would you describe the last ten years? The last five years started with a challenge but ended very well. With COVID-19 being part of the five years, I learned that staying in touch with clients and supporting them 24/7 is one of the most important parts of my business. It made me stronger and taught me to push through and work harder. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, and the best is yet to come 😊.
Why did you join Travel Counsellors? I love working in Travel - it is my passion. Working hard for myself motivated me so much more, as I'm working for my own money. Having the flexibility to be with my son was the main reason I joined Travel Counsellors, and till today, I am so thankful. My only regret is not doing it earlier. I have all the time in the world with him. I can be part of every event and then return home to work – a balanced life.
Describe your work environment I have a home office where I spend 90% of my time. But I can work from anywhere - my bed, my son’s room, even the Maldives! I had a back operation and was off for six weeks, but managed to continue working. The best flexibility is possible if you have WiFi and a laptop.
Are you in a team/Do you work with a buddy, and how has that helped you? Yes, Jeanne Thirion is my buddy. Without her, I will be lost! You need that support, but trust and communication are important between my buddy and me, and we have it 100%.
How would you describe the support you receive from TC Head Office? Very good. I think the admin people have their hands full with me because invoicing and admin are not my strong points. Ask me to arrange travel, and I will give my best, but numbers, nope - not very good at that.
The Head Office staff are stunning! They are always helpful, and ticketing is amazing, and on-the-ball. I know I am in good hands with the back office people. Everyone is always willing to help and assist where possible.
What do you love most about being a TC? Being able to work on my own time, earning my own salary, and definitely the flexibility.
What destinations/experiences are still on your bucket list? I want to go back to Dubai. I was there for one night and one day, and it was way too short. Also, the Netherlands as it is just such a pretty country.
What are your top tips for succeeding in this industry and as a TC?
- Always know what has changed and try to be on it as, in this industry, things are continuously changing.
- Have contact with your clients all the time. In my business, 90% is word-of-mouth, which means that if I let one client down, it can be ten fewer future clients.
- Do the online training so that you can always perform at your best.
- Charge for everything. Nothing comes for free, and you are worthy of every cent - something I need to work on myself!
- Time management is crucial. Don’t let clients wait forever for a quote. Once you've done a quote, follow up and try to convert. Stay in touch with clients even while on a trip - ask if they are okay, and when they are back, phone and follow up about their holiday. If there is an issue, sort it out a.s.ap. That is part of good service.