I just got back from a fantastic vacation to Vail, Colorado. This post will not be about all the “naturific” activities my family and I enjoyed (though, consider a trip to Vail in the summer!). I must note that to be surrounded by the Rockies for a week certainly settles one’s mind, especially a NY State of Mind. I would have written this blog post last week after my second encounter with the same customer service rep at the Vail Information Center but I made a promise to a certain 14-year- old and 9-year-old that I would not work during vacation. So back at the urban ranch and a week later, I still had this urge to write it down: why would a friendly town like Vail put a persnickety, rude and unhappy customer service behind the counter of the Vail Information Center?
Here we were, a happy family just inquiring about a few activities in the Vail area and this Customer Service Rep pointed us to the phone near his desk where we can make the calls ourselves to find out more information, and treated us like we were intruding on his property. I won’t name names, but this particular man also proceeded to scare my kids by showing them a photo from his iphone of the bear he encountered on the hiking trail we were about to take. “Do not run away from the bear,” he told my 9-year-old son, who backed away from Mr. Customer Service and refused to go on the hike (that day). At first we chalked it up to a bad day – because we all have bad days, right? But on Day 2, when we returned Mr Customer Service was true to his being with a cold air of nonchalance and annoyance surrounding him.
We returned to the Information Center one more time, and there was a pleasant young woman who assisted us with a quick question. My 14-year-old daughter noted, upon leaving, “I’m so glad she helped us and not that mean guy.” Customer Service (and its sister Public Relations) affects all ages and groups, even teenagers. While I am a big fan of Vail and did not let Mr. Customer Service derail our fun, it is baffling why he would be employed to be a “face” of Vail. He’s probably thinking the same thing. Take a look around you – are your customer-facing employees telling scary bear stories?
– Diane Schwartz