Vail Valley Partnership CEO: Great guest experiences start with great customer service (column)
Destination promotion happens through destination stories, told by many. And these stories are a direct result of the destination experience. Many destinations offer high quality products and service, but without a unique experience, they will have to compete on price if the experience isn’t differentiated or unique.
TripAdvisor, Yelp and other consumer-to-consumer review platforms are successful for a reason; people want to hear authentic stories from real people (even if they don’t know those people, they still trust them more than they trust the brand). Related to destination promotion and our tourism economy, we need to provide a unique customer experience so our customers become our advocates.
A RightNow Technologies report found that 86 percent of U.S. adults are willing to pay more for a better customer experience and 73 percent of U.S. adults said a friendly customer service made them fall in love with a brand. Not only will brands get happy, loyal customers but will see increased business.
But exactly how do we go about this seemingly Herculean task of providing high level of service, creating a better guest experience, and having our customers tell our story?
Consider investing in your customer service with the Vail Valley Partnership’s Platinum Service Program. Customer service is a point of distinction and what sets competitive businesses apart. With this in mind, Platinum Service Program focuses solely on creating and rewarding superior customer service experiences. To do this, Platinum Service Program uses a series of mystery-shops designed to help businesses provide higher levels of customer service through a comprehensive platform. The Partnership has evolved Platinum Service Program to include a new partner, Customer Impact, one of the largest firms in the mystery-shop industry.
The program helps businesses establish customer service expectations, set goals and reward outstanding service by providing mystery shopper evaluations to participating businesses. These customizable evaluations offer detailed feedback on the guest’s perception of your business in order to help you identify areas for improvement and opportunities to celebrate exceptional guest experiences. Businesses can expect to be able to log in and receive results within 48 hours of being shopped. The digital dashboard also includes comparative information such as year-to-date results and ranking systems to better understand where an individual business stands among its peers.
The Platinum Service Program provides a platform of training and focus on service amongst front line staff across industry. Your team will be able to focus on creating great guest experiences through constant feedback throughout the season.
Think long term when dealing with customers. By keeping customers happy, they will be loyal and through word of mouth, will do a large share of promoting your business for you. We’ve all heard the story (according to author Pete Blackshaw) that a satisfied customer tells at least three friends whereas an angry customer tells 3,000.
In the Vail Valley, both as a tourism destination and as individual small businesses, we need our customers to be our biggest advocates. There is no better way to accomplish this than to provide a great guest experience, and there is no better way to create a great guest experience than by providing a high level of customer service.
Going the extra mile will not only result in a happy customer, but can also go a long way in terms of driving future business. It starts with an individual commitment to providing great guest service, leading to a great guest experience. The Platinum Service Program helps provide that starting point. Learn more at http://www.VailValley Partnership.com.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at vailvalleypartnership.com.