Vail Daily column: Customer service matters more than ever |

Vail Daily column: Customer service matters more than ever

Chris RomerVail, CO Colorado

Accolades continue to pour in for Vail Valley’s ski resorts and lodging properties. Congratulations to Vail Mountain for being ranked No. 2 and Beaver Creek Resort being ranked No. 7 in the latest Ski Magazine rankings, and special congratulations to the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa for being ranked the No. 2 mainland resort by readers of Conde Nast Traveler.As travelers, both domestic and international, are ever-more choosy about where they spend their discretionary dollars, here’s betting that they will stick with companies (and destinations) that offer them the best service. In a recent American Express survey, a majority of Americans report that quality customer service is more important to them in today’s economic environment (61 percent) and they will spend an average of 9 percent more when they believe a company (or in our case, destination) provides excellent service.Vail Resorts, the town of Vail, the Beaver Creek Resort Co. and others in the Vail Valley continue to put a premium on customer service and improving the customer experience. EpicMix and the new photo enhancement are great examples of improving the customer experience. Add to that the ability to share across loyal customers’ social networks such as Facebook and it’s a great way to increase customer loyalty.The Partnership (along with Vail Resorts & the Vail Chamber & Business Association) just hosted our annual “Service to the Power of You” customer seminar with keynote speaker Shep Hyken. He stressed that customer service isn’t a department – it’s a philosophy that includes every person and aspect of the best and brightest companies and shared examples with the audience of how in a tough, competitive, and price-sensitive economy, customer service is one of the most essential tools to separate your business from the competition. We agree. But what can we do as a destination to improve our customer service?If you attended our Customer Service Seminar last week, your business is eligible for a Merchant Ski Pass. The Merchant Pass program has a long history and is a compelling hiring tool for local businesses due to the wide-ranging benefits for employees and, most importantly, unlike other pass products, the pass ownership resides with the business versus an individual and features a one-time transfer for $100 to accommodate employee changes.Miss the seminar and still want to participate in the Merchant Ski Pass program? It’s not too late to sign up for the Partnership’s Platinum Service Program (PSP), which also qualifies your business for the Merchant Ski Pass program. PSP helps businesses understand how they are perceived by their customers, measure their customer service performance and understand how they stack up to the other Vail Valley businesses. Participants receive comprehensive mystery shop evaluations during the winter season and high scoring businesses are recognized by the Vail Valley Partnership as Platinum Service Award Winners, a great way to separate your company from the competition, which according to Shep Hyken is essential tool in succeeding today. For more information go to or contact Katie Barnes at or 970-390-4370. As the ski season quickly approaches, keep in mind that providing excellent guest service is a key component to the continued success of our destination.As always, I encourage all member businesses to get engaged with the Partnership and to contact us with any suggestions you may have to help us better serve you. Call us at 970-476-1000 or stop by our offices in Avon at Traer Creek Plaza to share your feedback. Chris Romer is executive director of the Vail Valley Partnership

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