Vail Daily column: The importance of customer service |

Vail Daily column: The importance of customer service

We’ve spent the last six weeks outlining a variety of issues related to economic development efforts and goals to help Eagle County move forward with efforts designed to promote the long-term economic health of Eagle County and solidify an economic base that is strong, diverse and resilient.

Our volunteer Economic Development Leadership Council task force focused on efforts that will result in retention and expansion of current businesses and the need to actively recruit new businesses.

The plan is designed to create new opportunities and jobs within Eagle County by broadening the economic base in existing areas of strength and helping to support developing industries. These efforts will help increase sales tax revenues, grow and retain jobs, provide support for businesses to create year-round availability and create business opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Noble? Ambitious? Important? Yes to all.

However, in many ways it falls apart if we don’t provide excellent customer service, and if we don’t focus on the importance of the guest experience. Most people recognize the importance of providing excellent customer service in the scope of our tourism efforts. After all, half our jobs are tourism related. But customer service extends to how we treat our business community and our prospective businesses as well.

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Committed to excellent customer service? Consider participating in our Platinum Service Program. New this year, the Vail Valley Partnership is offering an abbreviated version of the well-established Platinum Service Program. The abbreviated program will provide businesses with two mystery shop evaluations that include feedback on basic customer service principles such as friendliness, enthusiasm and product knowledge.

The evaluations also include a brief narrative that describes the shopper’s experience, which will allow managers to coach and train their staff as needed and help them better understand how they are perceived by their customers.

The abbreviated Platinum Service Program is $99 for two mystery shops and will be conducted at the beginning of the ski season and completed before the end of January, allowing your business to implement the learnings into your service experience for guests throughout the rest of the season.

Those committed to providing excellent customer service should also join the Partnership as we host, along with the Vail Chamber & Business Association (and sponsored by Vail Resorts), the Vail Valley’s Customer Service Seminar on Thursday at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort.

This year’s Customer Service Seminar includes updates from Jim Kellen and Davy Ratchford, marketing directors from Beaver Creek and Vail Mountain about what is going on this winter at our resorts.

This year’s seminar will be lead by the Vail Leadership Institute on “What is good customer service?” The truth is, there’s not one answer, because Vail Valley businesses vary widely and the people providing service come from many different points-of-view. This workshop will uncover the various perspectives on good customer service through an engaging and interactive process.

The Institute’s approach will be to help you discover how your values influence your attitude toward others. They’ve invited a broad cross-section of business leaders from hotels, restaurants and retail to describe their experience and outline leading practices. From our dialogue, you’ll walk away with a list of those practices that you can start using the next day!

The cost is $60 for the first attendee and $15 for any additional employees. The ticket cost increases to $70 after today.

Both the Customer Service Seminar and the Platinum Service Program will qualify your business to participate in the 2013-14 Merchant Ski Pass program.

Merchant Passes will be $689 for the 2013-14 season. Blackout dates at Vail and Beaver Creek are Nov. 29-30, Dec. 26-31, Jan. 18 and Feb. 15-16.

There are no restrictions at Breckenridge, Keystone or Arapahoe Basin. It is $100 to transfer a pass to another employee.

To sign up for the Platinum Service Program program or to R.S.V.P. for the Customer Service Seminar, please contact Jennifer Weintraub at or 970-477-4001.

Chris Romer is the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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