Building loyal employees and customers |

Building loyal employees and customers

Tony O'RourkeVail, CO, Colorado

Todays destination-resort guest is presented with numerous options for both winter and summer vacations. Market research shows that travelers are no longer focused on a destination but more on a world-class experience. Consequently, destination resorts must provide unique experiences and world-class service to succeed. Not only must destination resorts like Beaver Creek and Vail attract new customers, they must also keep past guests pleased. Research shows it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer as it takes to retain an existing customer. It becomes essential, then, for businesses in the Vail Valley to provide customers a world-class experience from the moment they enter a store, restaurant, hotel or lift line.In his book, How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life, Michael La Boeuf details the reasons why customers stop doing business with an organization: 3 percent move away. 5 percent develop other business relations. 9 percent leave for competitive price reasons. 14 percent are dissatisfied with the product or service. 68 percent quit because of an attitude of indifference toward the customer by the owner, manager or an employee.These points demonstrate that your business actually has some control over 97 percent of the reasons customers stop doing business with you. More importantly, you have direct control over how you treat each customer, accounting for 68 percent of those who leave. If you consider the lifetime revenue stream of these customers, you will see the importance of your job in caring for your customers.Platinum service equals platinum successBusinesses that provide superior customer-service experience can charge more, realize greater profits and increase their market share. To aid Vail Valley businesses in providing outstanding customer service to our destination and year-round customers, the Vail Valley Partnership offers the Platinum Service Program.Formed in 2001, the program was created to provide year-to-year customer-service measurement tools for improving service to lodging, retail, restaurant and professional services in the valley. Businesses that participate in the program have the opportunity to engage in mystery-shop evaluations and receive quantified measures of customer service.Last year, 100 Vail Valley businesses participated in the program. Of those, 44 achieved average customer-service scores of 90 percent or higher. Those businesses all received a Platinum Service Award, enabling those businesses to market their company as an Exceptional Customer Service Provider. That recognition is promoted on the Vail Valley Partnerships Web sites and local media outlets including print, radio, television and destination visitor guides.The highest-scoring businesses last year included: Park Hyatt Resort and Spa, in the lodging category. Images, The Floor Studio, in the retail category. Beanos Cabin, in the restaurant category. Millennium Bank, Edwards, in the professional service category.Millennium Bank of Edwards also was awarded the Customer Service of the Year award, an award presented to the highest-scoring business. By participating in the Platinum Service Program, Vail Valley businesses can ensure the world-class customer-service experience our guests deserve and create long-term customer loyalty. To ensure future business success, contact Stephanie Combs of the Vail Valley Partnership at 477-4015 to participate.Tony ORourke is the president of the Beaver Creek Resort Co. and a member of the Vail Valley Partnership board of governors.

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