Vail businesses need to keep focus on service
Many of us in the Vail business community have just come out of a very challenging winter, and now that we have caught our breath during off season, it is time to make our way through a challenging summer. The Vail Chamber & Business Association has a few events planned that we hope will help you rise to the challenge of summer business by helping bring guests to town this summer: The South of the Border Fiesta June 20 in Lionshead, the BBQ Bonanza June 27 in Vail Village and Sweet on Vail Aug. 15, also in the village. Bringing people to town is not a guarantee of success. In difficult economic times customer loyalty is paramount. The best customer loyalty will come from the best customer service. We have all heard the expression You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The aesthetic of Vail Village gives a wonderful first impression. The second, and arguably longer-lasting impression will surface as our clients come face-to-face with our community. The impression that employees, business owners and community members make can either improve upon or detract from Vails picture perfect first impression. This is the point where customer loyalty and customer service meet. We need to teach our employees how to provide a great experience with every client. It is imperative to educate our employees in customer service and reiterate the importance of clients to the success of the company. Ultimately, a happy client is a loyal client. In difficult economic times it is important to never lose sight that client relationships are key to continued success. Making every client happy every time is not a realistic goal. Even with our best efforts and intentions we cannot bat 1.000. When a client is not satisfied, how we handle the problem can make a big difference in that clients perception of our businesses. Make sure that your staff is upbeat and proactive with complaints rather than pessimistic and negative. Most customers will appreciate that the proper effort to solve a problem was made on their behalf.Clients usually have an impression of how they should be treated in our businesses. Although we would like to exceed those expectations all the time, this goal is also unrealistic what we should really focus on is to never disappoint our clients. This may sound simple but it takes some serious effort on our part. If your staff does not understand the goals and objectives of your company, then they will not know what your are trying to accomplish with clients. In most business, owners train managers, who in turn train staff members and so on. The goals and objectives of the owner must be clear and concise for that message to translate through the ranks of the company. If this is not accomplished the staff will lack consistency in their work goals and objectives and may miss the intended goal of the company as they work with clients. The result will almost certainly be a disappointed, unsatisfied client. When we do well with clients and guests, and take that extra step to accommodate or simply welcome them, the benefits to our business are great, but when we falter the detriments to our business are even greater. An unhappy client is not only a lost client to our business, but will most likely recount that negative experience before they leave town.In the upcoming months, if you see someone who appears to need some assistance inside your business or on our streets, take a moment and ask if you can help. Offer some local colorwhen the opportunity arises and help direct that first impression the best possible way.Craig Cohen is the director of sales and marketing for Solaris. He is also a member of the Vail Chamber & Business Association Board of Directors.
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