Vail Daily column: Caring is key to customer service | VailDaily.com
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Vail Daily column: Caring is key to customer service

Richard tenBraakVail, CO Colorado

Supporting our local business is a very good thing.I should start off by saying that I’m not supporting this candidate or even know the person (although I probably should), but I liked John Rosenfeld’s letter to the editor that was in this paper the other day. In short, it was about supporting local businesses. I can’t agree more. We all should do our best to support our local businesses. These are your family, friends and neighbors that own, manage or work in our local businesses. Be it a retail store, restaurant, service provider or whatever, we all need to take that little bit of effort to ensure that our local economy is supported by locals. We have all done it, going online or to another community to save a few extra dollars. I know I have, but as the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Now is our time to get going and support your local businesses. If we can’t help ourselves to help our local economy, we sure can’t expect someone else to magically show up and do it for us.This week’s customer service tip comes from Shep Hyken. As you are probably aware, I have quoted Shep before. Shep is world renowned for his customer service speaking and service advice, and has even presented at two past Merchant Pass qualify programs. The tip is “Caring is key to customer loyalty.” This also appropriately relates to what local business owners and operators can do to get locals supporting them. Did you ever wonder why a customer just stops doing business with you? Is it customer service (or the lack of it)? Did the customer move? Pass away? There are all kinds of studies that are available that will tell you why. They will give you the general reasons customers defect, which will help you strategize on how to prevent them from defecting. However, none of them will give you the answer you need for a specific customer.One of the keys to building customer loyalty is caring. We obviously care about getting a customer’s business. We spend money and effort on marketing and sales. We put forth effort to keep the customer. And then one day a customer leaves. We assume they chose to do business elsewhere. Maybe it was the price. Maybe it was the service. Maybe they just moved. There are many valid reasons that customers don’t do business with us anymore. In some cases they love us, but just, for whatever reason, don’t (or can’t) do business with us anymore. We need to know why. Even if circumstances have changed, we can still keep their loyalty. Maybe not as buying customers, but as evangelists, customers that sing our praises to their friends, family and colleagues. And that, in and of itself, is enough of a reason to care about keeping the relationship strong.The VCBA will be hosting our annual community meeting on April 13 at the Holiday Inn in West Vail from 8:30-10:30 a.m. We will be giving a state of the VCBA, new member introductions and you will have the opportunity to meet our various Chamber partners, learning what they offer and how you can benefit from them.We would like to remind the business community that the VCBA has started our annual membership drive. Membership is open to anyone and it’s highly recommended that all businesses that are or do business in Vail consider membership. If you would like to learn more about a VCBA membership, please let us know and we’ll be more than happy to meet with you and discuss benefits and what the VCBA can do for you.Stay involved and stay informed. If you are not already receiving the VCBA weekly e-newsletter, all you need to do is email us at info@vailchamber.org to start receiving it.The Vail Chamber & Business Association is the leading business advocacy group in Vail and is a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. If you are interested in finding out more about the Vail Chamber and Business Association and what we have to offer to business in and that do business in Vail, please contact us at 970-477-0075 or email info@vailchamber.org. Based in Vail Village, our office is located on the top level of the Vail transportation center. Stop by and say hello!Richard tenBraak is executive director of the Vail Chamber & Business Association


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