Vail Daily column: What business are you in?
I am fortunate to work with a variety of organizations across various industry and geographic segments of our community and throughout the state of Colorado. From nonprofit organizations to publicly traded companies; from lodging properties, restaurants and activity providers who focus on our destination visitors to business-to-business service providers and financial institutions who focus on our local business community.
The truly great organizations — regardless of size, scope or focus area — have two things in common: One, they recognize that they are in the business of customer service and, two, they strive to continue to improve the service experience for their customers.
This resonates with me because the great truth of business is that regardless of what line of work you are in, great organizations are in the business of being the best. Being the best takes work; being the best requires commitment; being the best requires taking care of your customers better than your competition does.
THE WORLD IS COMING
This is doubly important to us because the world is coming to the Vail Valley next year. The 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships will attract more than 600 athletes from over 70 nations, in addition to visitors from around the globe. As a community we have the opportunity to be the best for the international community that we will all be serving.
Being the best and providing the highest possible level of customer service is exactly why businesses throughout the Vail Valley participate in the Platinum Service Program, which evaluates and recognizes outstanding customer service in our resort-oriented economy. The PSP program is run by our partners at The Buy Spy and focuses on providing mystery shopping services; participating businesses understand the importance of taking care of their customers, and the PSP program gives them a tool to train, evaluate and recognize great customer service at their business.
The Platinum Service Program fundamentally helps businesses establish customer service expectations, set goals and reward outstanding service by providing mystery shopper evaluations to participating businesses. These evaluations offer detailed feedback on the guest’s perception of your business in order to help identify areas for improvement and opportunities to celebrate exceptional guest experiences.
Think that’s important? We all know that things that are measured are things that are done; if you are not measuring customer service, then your employees have no inherent way to know whether or not they are providing good service. This has far ranging impacts for most businesses as customer service is the act and spirit of serving the customer and we all need customers in order to remain in business. Customer service is not only how you serve the customer, it represents the true essence of a company’s existence.
The degree to which service is provided is a direct manifestation, reflection and execution of a company’s values, philosophy and ethics. The employees’ beliefs, attitudes and behavior have a dramatic and profound impact on the level of service that is provided.
A recent Customer Experience Report conducted by RightNow found that the top reason customers would abandon a brand was due to poor quality and rude customer service. Clearly, customer service is the foundational building block upon which customer satisfaction, customer retention and ultimately customer loyalty is built.
Businesses committed to providing excellent customer service are encouraged to sign up for PSP and attend the Customer Service Seminar, hosted by the Vail Valley Partnership and Vail Chamber and Business Association, and sponsored by Vail Resorts. The event is scheduled for Wednesday from 8-11:30 a.m. at The Lodge at Vail.
As the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships unfold in the Vail Valley, Beaver Creek will play host to the lion’s share of the racing action, while Vail will be party central, hosting medal ceremonies and festival events, along with the Nations Team parallel race and men’s technical qualification events. During the course of two weeks, male and female athletes from around the globe will compete in all five alpine disciplines, including downhill, super-G, super combined, giant slalom and slalom, with public spectator access free of charge in both Vail and Beaver Creek.
CUSTOMER SERVICE SEMINAR
Get complete details on the championships and more during the Customer Service Seminar on Wednesday. Attendees will receive the following information:
• Winter 2014-15 update from Vail Resorts.
• 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships preview from Vail Valley Foundation.
• Keynote presentation about “Delivering a world-class guest experience” with Chuck Wachendorfer from Think 2 Perform.
• Q&A panelist discussion with local experts and business owners about customer service best practices.
Event cost is $75 per business, with additional attendees from the same business at $15 each.
Businesses within the Vail Valley participating in either PSP and/or the Customer Service Seminar are eligible to participate in Vail Resorts Merchant Ski Pass (complete program details available at vail.com/vbcmerchantpass).
RSVP to the customer service seminar or sign up to participate in PSP by calling the Vail Valley Partnership at 970-477-4027 or reach Haley via email at haley@visitvail valley.com.
Chris Romer is the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.