Vail Daily columnist Butch Mazzuca: A ‘feel good’ list for top service |

Vail Daily columnist Butch Mazzuca: A ‘feel good’ list for top service

Butch Mazzuca
Vail, CO, Colorado

The adage, “People won’t remember what you say, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel,” is as true in business as it is with our personal lives.

Most businesses want to do a good job. But inadequate training, an employee ill-suited for a position or simply lack of common sense prevents many of them from making the customer feel good about the transaction.

Businesses that open after or close before their stated operating hours don’t leave customers feeling important. And leaving a sign “Back in 10 minutes” makes me ask, “10 minutes from when?” Wouldn’t it make more sense to leave a sign that reads, “Back at 2:45?” When I see one of those “Back in 10 minutes” signs, my inclination is to take my business elsewhere.

A restaurant server who takes five minutes to bring a glass of water and then doesn’t return for another 10 minutes is another no-no. Such annoyances are usually a result of poor training and speak volumes about management’s attitude toward its customers.

But today I want to focus on a few business that make people feel good during and after the transaction is complete.

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I can’t count the times I’ve missed taking the garbage or recycling out in a timely fashion or had a special need and had to call Vail Honey Wagon. And each time we’ve called, it’s always, “No problem!” The bottom line: The folks at Vail Honey Wagon make sure we feel important.

Two restaurants come to mind where the customer is made to feel valued. The first is Cafe 163 in Edwards. And while the quality, service and price are excellent, it’s the attitude of Jeff, the owner, and the wait staff that really keeps us coming back.

The other is Russell’s on Bridge Street. There are a lot of fine restaurants in the valley, but without fail the service at Russell’s is such that we often feel as if we’re the only one’s dining. Yes, their menu is outstanding and the service impeccable, but it’s how we feel afterward that makes this our favorite. Russell’s isn’t inexpensive. Nonetheless, we always feel we received value for our dollar, and won’t hesitate recommending it to out of town visitors.

County government isn’t a business, per se. However, a recent experience with Mike Gruber, the county’s public works inspector, left me feeling as if my concerns were as important to him as they were to me. But why should I be surprised? Every time I’ve interacted with county employees, I’ve found them to be extraordinarily helpful. The bottom line: They were engaged.

We all have pet peeves. One of mine is filling out paperwork. So for years I put up with less than stellar customer service at a particular bank because I dreaded the hassle of filling out a whole new battery of forms for my various automatic deposits and withdrawals.

But fortuitously I bumped into Monica Donoso, the manager of the US Bank in Avon. I knew Monica casually and jokingly told her why I was hesitant to switch banks. She said, “Give me the account numbers for your ‘automatics’ and I’ll take care of it for you.” Monica handled everything from soup to nuts with no hassle or inconvenience to me. Now I receive smiles and excellent customer service from the folks at US Bank in Edwards.

As a layman, I’m not qualified to evaluate the quality of medical or therapeutic services. I mean, they’re the one’s who attended medical school, not me. But I can comment about how I’ve been made to feel when in need of their expertise.

The physicians, physician assistants and staff at Vail Summit Orthopedics fall into the “they make me feel special” category. So do Shelly Raichart and her staff at Eagle River Dentistry; Dr. Norm Numerof at Doctor’s on Call; and Pamela, Leslie and Sara at the Joint Works in Edwards. It just feels good to know these people genuinely care.

My wife’s and my personal trainer, Peggy Leblanc of Edwards, is another individual who leaves her clients feeling special. Other trainers may do the same, but we’ve never even been tempted to look elsewhere because Peggy always makes us feel as if we are the only clients she has.

There is a myriad of reasons to do (or not do) business with certain establishments. But the businesses that leave us feeling good are the ones we return to time after time.

Quote of the day: “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile” (Roger Staubach)

Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes regularly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at

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