Vail Valley: Customer service? Yes, please |

Vail Valley: Customer service? Yes, please

Lodging occupancies in Vail and Beaver Creek continue to tick up, with summer occupancies equaling 2008 numbers and winter occupancies pacing ahead of last year. This continued up-tick is a positive trend and as a destination we need to continue to differentiate ourselves from our competition.

One way to differentiate is by providing exemplary customer service. That’s easier said than done. You can’t just hire people and simply tell them to give good customer service. You have to define it, measure it and reward it. Research has shown that today’s customer does not judge a product’s worth based on its actual value, but on the total experience associated with its purchase.

The Vail Valley Partnership’s Platinum Service Program helps businesses do this in a simple and cost-effective way. The program helps businesses train, evaluate and recognize great customer service at your business.

Everyone talks about customer service. In the book “Rules to Break and Laws to Follow,” Don Peppers and Martha Rogers write that “customers have memories. They will remember you, whether you remember them or not.” Further, “customer trust can be destroyed at once by a major service problem, or it can be undermined one day at a time, with a thousand small demonstrations of incompetence.”

Some businesses may say they know they give great service (although everyone can always use a brush-up). The Platinum Service Program helps ensure this and it is a great way for small businesses that don’t already have a customer service program in place to start talking about expectations with their staff and creating a culture of excellent service. On top of helping create a culture of customer service, consider the marketing benefits with the recognition that is done through the Vail Valley Partnership.

The Platinum Service Program will help your business establish customer service expectations, set goals and reward outstanding service by providing “mystery shopper” evaluations to program participants. These evaluations will offer detailed feedback on guest perception of your business in order to help you identify areas for improvement and opportunities to celebrate exceptional guest experiences. Participants will receive at least eight evaluations over the winter season. The evaluations provide detailed comments from the shoppers on their experience, which allow managers to better understand the customer’s perception of their business and staff.

At the end of the season, businesses that score above 90 percent will be identified and recognized as Platinum Service Award winners by the Vail Valley Partnership.

The Platinum Service Program is also a qualifier for the Vail Resorts Merchant Ski Pass program – participants are eligible to purchase merchant passes for their employees. Be sure to also save the date for our annual “Service to the Power of You” customer service seminar (another merchant ski pass qualifier) sponsored by Vail Resorts Nov. 4, with keynote speaker Mark Sanborn.

For more information or to sign up contact Katie Barnes at or call 970-390-4370.

Chris Romer is the executive director of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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