Agency boss calls for end to operator staff abuse

The boss of the Travel Village Group has called on fellow agents to stop abusing operator staff over substandard service, arguing the response will exacerbate the problem.

Phil Nuttall issued a call to the trade to be tolerant, suggesting those who hit out at supplier staff are likely to cause higher turnover rates and ultimately delay training and staff development to improve service levels.

In an open letter, Nuttall said: “Having been an active member of the travel agent community for over 38 years, there is very little that surprises me, but so much that frustrates the life out of me.

“You would have thought that after everything we have been through – and survived – travel agents would have a full understanding of the circumstances we now find ourselves in.

“It is quite clear that service levels are suffering hugely and we can debate the reasons for that until the cows come home, but it is what it is for now and I included have my own issues delivering our award winning customer care.

“Therefore why is it that “some” travel agents feel it is acceptable to be abusive and aggressive towards those people employed by our tour operator partners, who are simply trying to do their job in very difficult situations?”

Nuttall said operators could do a better job in commuincating their position to agents and explaining how they were attempting to resolve staffing and service issues.

But addressing agents, he said: “Do they not realise that tour operators are training new people and then struggling to keep them because of the abuse they are receiving? It is this short sighted and unacceptable behaviour that is only fueling the fire in recruiting and keeping people in this amazing industry.

“Can we not find it within ourselves to be more tolerant in the belief that things will improve, but the longer we continue to be aggressive on the phones, the longer it will take to fix the problem.”

He concluded: “We have all done incredibly well and shown resilience above and beyond throughout the pandemic and we must all pull together now before this fracture becomes a canyon.

“But above all – be kind – how short are our memories?”

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