Vail Daily column: It’s no mystery: Customer service matters | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: It’s no mystery: Customer service matters

Excellent customer service needs be at the heart of your business model if you wish to be successful. No matter the size, location or industry segment of your business, it is paramount to provide good customer service to all types of customers, including potential, new and existing customers.

A continual focus on providing consistently excellent customer service can take extra resources, time and money. Consider customer service as a point of differentiation for your business, as excellent customer service can generate positive word-of-mouth, keep your customers happy, and increase the likelihood of first-time customers becoming repeat customers and eventually advocates for your business. At its core, good customer service can help a business grow and succeed.

Purchasing Good Service

Good service is not just something our guests expect; it is something they are willing to buy. According to an American Express survey, 70 percent state that they are willing to spend up to 13 percent more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.

We know consumers value good customer service, and yet at the same time, they believe the quality of service is slipping. An additional key finding in the American Express survey shows three in five Americans would try a new brand or company for a better services experience. That’s a scary proposition for a community dependent upon a rather stagnant ski industry; 60 percent of guests will try something new for the chance at a better customer experience. Vail Valley Partnership remains invested in helping create a culture of customer service throughout our valley in order to help businesses succeed, to provide them the tools to continue to improve and to help improve our visitor experience. This is why we’ve operated and managed the Platinum Service Program for years — because being the best takes work, and local businesses need tools to train, evaluate and recognize great customer service.

Platinum Service Program helps businesses establish customer service expectations, set goals and reward outstanding service by providing mystery shopper evaluations to participating businesses. These evaluations will 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. We’re evolving the program in 2015-16 by working with a recognized leader in the customer service field. Vail Valley Partnership is proud to be partner with Customer Impact as our supplier for our Platinum Service Program (a qualifier for businesses looking to utilize a Vail Resorts merchant ski pass for their employees).

Best in the Industry

Why did we choose to partner with Customer Impact? Simple: Much like Vail and Beaver Creek, they are the best in the industry and they have been for a long time. The owners of Customer Impact founded and grew one of the largest firms in the Mystery Shop industry and sold that business in 2007. Still passionate about the business, Customer Impact was started in order to specialize in the unique needs of any type of retail organization (yes, reports are now online and completely customized by industry including various sectors of retail, restaurant, financial, hospitality, etc). Much like Vail and Beaver Creek, they are a leader in the industry with an impeccable reputation.

Customer Impact offers a wide array of services ideal for differing industry needs and preferences; specific to the needs of the Vail Valley business community, they are providing Mystery Shopping services through the Platinum Service Program. Participants in Platinum Service Program will have access to the No. 1 ranked software in the industry to provide your business with the best actionable data.

Platinum Service Program participants will receive mystery shops as a customer service training opportunity for their employees. Mystery Shopping is an effective and unique market research tool using professional evaluators (Mystery Shoppers) to perform shopping and customer scenarios and report on every aspect of their experience. Mystery Shopper feedback provides valuable insights which take the mystery out of service, customer satisfaction, quality improvement, and industry excellence.

In-person Mystery Shopping is used primarily to measure how employees are performing when compared to the standard operating procedures they were trained to follow. This unbiased method of evaluation is objective and provides facts of what actually happened during a specific visit. Shoppers have the advantage of being armed in advance with specifics on exactly what the employees should be doing and the shoppers are trained professionals — you won’t likely find your (untrained) friends and neighbors doing a mystery shop of your business.

Mystery Shopping can help give you that strategic edge with actionable information. With a little extra effort through participation in Platinum Service Program, your business can soon be reaping the benefits of top-notch customer service.

To sign up or learn more, contact Haley McNeill at the Partnership at 970-477-4027 or haley@visitvailvalley.com.

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