Aspen service: ‘we can do better’
ASPEN The Aspen Chamber Resort Association and the town of Snowmass Village hope their aggressive customer service initiative, Faces of Aspen/Snowmass, will be a boon to guests.”Last summer we got a group of people together to talk about guest services in our community,” said Debbie Braun, president of ACRA. While guest surveys gave Aspen/Snowmass a high rating (86 out of 100), Braun said area businesses shouldn’t be high-fiving about it yet.”Eighty-six is pretty darn good, but we can do better,” Braun said. “We ask you to come, now you’re here, so let’s give you the best experience while you’re here.”The group came up with a three-pronged plan: find out where the community stands on customer service; offer awards for good service; and provide visitors a place to give feedback. They also produced a new brochure, “How to Aspen/Snowmass,” offering historical background on the area, insights into the service culture and insider tips and information for new employees.And, a firm has been hired to send “mystery shoppers” to 50 retailers in Aspen and 50 in Snowmass in the coming weeks in an effort to “get the pulse as to where we are today,” Braun said.Phase two is a reward program for those that provide good service. The Stars Program allows visitors to pick up a “Star of the Moment” reward token at either the Aspen Chamber office or pavilion and give it to someone who goes above and beyond. The token is good for up to a $15 gift.Snowmass and Aspen will also dub a “Star of the Month” for the next few months, and those winners have a chance to be “Star of the Season” and earn up to $500 in rewards.”It’s a chance for a local to thank another local,” Braun said, and any employee, not just from businesses that are members of ACRA, are eligible for a nomination. Winners will be named in the paper and on GrassRoots TV.The Aspen Skiing Co. spends money on ski ambassadors and other guest service initiatives such as free coffee, cider and sunscreen, Braun said. “Yet, when you walk off the hill into town, it’s like all bets are off, and there is no program in place.”The third prong, called the “recovery portion” of the program, is where guests have an opportunity to voice complaints, and officials pass that feedback on to businesses. Albert said complaints aren’t common, but added, “If that ever does happen, we want to give everyone the opportunity to talk about it.”Martha Rose is the director of guest services with the Skico and was part of the initial focus group for the project.”I think we’re really interconnected,” Rose said.”I like the carrot, not the stick, aspect,” said Bob Wade, owner of the Ute Mountaineer in Aspen. He supports plans to reward good service. “I think it makes a great statement to out visitors to say we to hear from you,” he said.Local businesses will receive information about the initiative and a copy of “How To Aspen/Snowmass” today. For more information see http://www.facesofaspensnowmass.com.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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