Knowledge is key to customer service at currency exchange

By Curt Yeomans


James Rejent, the sales manager for the Travelex Currency Services, Inc., locations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, wouldn't want to see an England-bound customer leave the United States without first discussing how tipping waiters is an uncommon practice across "the pond."

He also doesn't want to let a customer go to Europe without telling him or her, there is a fee to use the bathrooms in parts of "the old world."

Rejent, the sales manager for Travelex Currency Services' Atlanta locations, said explaining foreign customs to potential customers is key to the company's mission to provide quality services to travelers. Maintaining a high level of customer service is one of the things the company prides itself on, Rejent added.

"I wouldn't want a customer coming back to me and saying 'Why didn't you tell me about this before I left the country,' " Rejent said. "I would feel really bad if that happened."

Travelex is the only currency exchange business at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It has five locations throughout the airport, and operates another location at Lenox Mall in Atlanta. Customers can exchange their U.S. dollars for any of 70 different forms of currency.

"If you change money in Atlanta's airport, you do it with us," Rejent said.

The company also maintains its level of service by making sure it's employees go through regular training programs. The employees are expected to speak clearly, and intelligently, to customers. The employees are also expected to ask customers questions about upcoming trips.

If the employee knows where a traveler is going, advice can be offered to the customer about what to expect while overseas.

"Our employees go through training when they are first hired, and we make sure they continue to be highly trained all the time," said Rehan Khan, the assistant manager for the Travelex locations at the airport. Subsequent training is on-going, or "perpetual training," as Rejent describes the information sessions.

Rejent also said Travelex makes sure its employees are kept up-to-date on federal currency laws through the regular training sessions. The employees are bound to follow federal laws, such as the anti-money laundering laws, and they can not exchange money for currencies from certain countries, such as Cuba and Sudan.

Other forms of customer service offered by Travelex include offering Western Union services to overseas customers who need emergency money, and keeping competitive prices through several value packs. Someone who is trading at least $450, for example, won't have to pay a service fee. If the customer is trading over $800, he or she also gets a currency return guarantee, which means Travelex buys the money back at wholesale prices, rather than a re-sale price.

Members of the military can get their service fee waived, as well, if they can show a military identification card. Rejent said his locations at Hartsfield-Jackson frequently trades U.S. dollars with the Kuwaiti Dinar because of military personnel coming and going from Kuwait and Iraq.

Travelex, which is based in London, England, operates locations in more than 30 countries around the world. It operates in countries ranging from the United States to Italy, to South Africa, to the United Arab Emirates, to India, to Japan. Travelex has had currency-exchange locations at Hartsfield-Jackson for the last 10 years, Rejent said.

There is a location in the airport's atrium, one at the "T" gates, one at the customs gate, and two on Concourse "E."

The company bases its exchange prices on the exchange rates listed on the stock market. The rates are updated twice a day, except on weekends, because the markets are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Rejent believes the high level of customer service offered by Travelex is one of the company's key features, though. The purpose of offering the customer service is to build a large base of repeat customers, but the mission also reaches beyond the boarding gates at the airport.

"We want to make sure our customers have a good experience when they are overseas," Rejent said.

"And to make sure they don't have to rely on ATMs," Khan added.