Vail Daily column: Customer service as a point of differentiation
Ryan Summerlin October 26, 2012
We’re fortunate to be blessed with a great location, with great access via the Vail/Eagle County Regional Airport and I-70, with local guests and with ski resort experiences that are unmatched. We have a lot to celebrate this winter, including Vail’s 50th anniversary and the new U.S. Open snowboarding event in addition to continued positive momentum and growth in our tourism industry.
Add to that the great job marketing our resorts to both domestic and (increasingly) international visitors from the team at Vail Resorts. The question for everyone becomes fairly straightforward: How do we continue to stand apart from the pack?
One way to stand out: Guest service.
We, collectively, need to make exceptional hospitality a way of life in the Vail Valley. Our visitors are the lifeblood of our tourism economy and they have many choices for their discretionary vacation spending. Creating a seamless vacation experience from the time they book their trip to the time they get on an airplane (or park in the garage) to the time they depart, there are numerous customer touch points – resulting in numerous opportunities for us to create loyal guests.
Everyone has seen “service checklists” and the old fall-back lists including “make eye contact” and “be a good listener.” These, of course, are important. But we should have much higher expectations from our front-line employees – as our guests certainly expect the basics and as our guests demand higher and better service.
Here at the Vail Valley Partnership, we offer two different customer service oriented programs to assist local businesses with service training and service improvement.
Platinum Service Program
The Platinum Service Program helps businesses establish customer service expectations, set goals and reward outstanding service by providing mystery shopper evaluations to participating businesses. These evaluations will offer detailed feedback on the guest’s perception of your business in order to help you identify areas for improvement and opportunities to celebrate exceptional guest experiences.
A business is eligible to purchase a Vail/Beaver Creek merchant ski pass as a benefit to program participation. Contact Jeremy Rietmann, program manager, at 970-477-4012 to learn more about Platinum Service Program or to sign up your business.
Service to the Power of You
Service to the Power of You (sponsored by Vail Resorts) is the only merchant pass qualifying class will be held on Thursday from 8-11a.m. at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort and Spa. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m.
Professional speaker Eric Chester will be presenting “Turning Rookies into Superstars: How to Get Young Front Line Talent to Perform Better, Lead Faster, and Stay Longer.”
In a perfect world, business leaders would employ a workforce that’s engaged, enthused, and ethically unassailable. The reality, of course, is that the new emerging workforce is streetwise and techno-savvy, but they’ve not been taught how to succeed in the workplace and serve guests with an attitude of gratitude.
Chester is the leading authority on developing work ethic in teens and young adults and leading young employees to achieve at their remarkable potential. His presentation will illustrate why the work ethic in America has declined, and he’ll provide solid, actionable ideas and tools for developing the young worker to provide outstanding customer service.
Chester is the bestselling author of “Employing Generation Why,” and the founder and CEO of Reviving Work Ethic and the Bring Your A Game to Work Initiative.
The Service to the Power of You customer service seminar is designed to reinforce the importance of exemplary customer service and the tangible and intangible benefits a business can realize as a result. More than ever, your guests will be looking for a great experience this year.
This is the only service training that will qualify your business for a merchant ski pass this year.
To R.S.V.P. for the seminar, please contact Jennifer Weintraub at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-477-4001. Tickets are $40 for the first attendee and $20 for all other attendees.
Customer service and taking great care of our guests to provide them a memorable vacation experience – so they’ll tell their friends and family and so they’ll continue to return year after year – can be an additional point of differentiation for our destination and our business community.
Make it a point to focus your efforts on service improvement and we’ll all benefit in the end.
What can your business do to help? If you benefit from our destination marketing and group sales efforts, get off the sidelines and join the Partnership. If you are already a member, tell your neighbors to join to help us do more here in the valley.
Chris Romer is executive director of the Vail Valley Partnership.