Saturday, January 29, 2011

How One Bad Apple Nearly Spoiled the Ski Trip

The big family Christmas gift was a long ski weekend at Boyne Highlands in northern Michigan.

Although not as immediate as a box of Legos, the boys were thrilled. And the experience was incredible!

WOW Customer Service
We showed up at the Zip Line just as it was closing - no problem. They got us dressed and ready in no time at all and made it seem like we had made their day to stay open an extra 20 minutes. Korie was just a gem.

We showed up for our free buffet breakfast and had Martha, our waitress, treat us like rock stars. Dirty plates whisked away immediately. Tips on which buffet stand to get the freshest food. Anticipating our every needs. It was a free meal, so she wasn't in it for the tips (although she got a big one). She just obviously loved doing her job the right way.

At the bottom of the chair lift Tyler was able to strike up a conversation in the few seconds before we were lifted away that we kept going back to the same lift time and again just to keep the conversation going. No wonder he won employee-of-the-year last year (at least that's what he claimed, and I wouldn't argue.)

Every single interaction was over-the-top positive customer service...

Except one.

Not So WOW
It probably wasn't that big of a deal, but my wife was having a tough time getting off the inner tube course tow rope. The attendant seemed indifferent to her plight, even a little put-off that she was holding up the line (which consisted of one other person, my son). His attitude was a stark contrast to the friendly, caring attitude of the rest of the staff and it almost brought down the whole trip.

His indifference and attitude was all my wife could talk about.

Thank God Korie and the Zip Line team restored our faith later the same night.

But it was a quick lesson on how fast a great experience can unravel because of the careless work of one person in a seemingly unimportant position.

Hiding the Risk
The inner tube tow rope is probably pretty low on the totem pole of jobs at a top-notch ski resort. Maybe management knew this and put their lowest performing person there, thinking he could do the least amount of damage.

But least amount of damage is still damage. Had that been our last event of the trip, it would have been the defining moment.

If you have an employee doing damage, don't try to protect him or her. Train or fire. There is no middle ground. That may seem harsh, but your customers will be even more harsh. They won't come back for a second chance.

Korie, Martha and Tyler had to work extra hard to make up for this one mistake. And to their credit, they did! We already know what Santa is bringing next year.

-Phil

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