Mountain Spy

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In this Mountain Spy segment, Liz Eren tackles our less-than-stellar season with a well-placed call during spring season pass promotions. And even when Liz (as a customer) didn’t get the answer she wanted, good customer service can save the day.



Question: Hi, I’m a season passholder and want to know whether you are offering any credits or vouchers for next year’s pass thanks to all of the days I missed this year.


Mountain 1, CA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Not that I’m aware, but I work in human resources. Silence…
SAM: OK. Is there someone else that might know a little more?
Staff: Let me get you up to tickets. Transferred…
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Nooo, we’re not. Silence…
SAM: OK. Well, I thought I would ask.
Staff: Yeeeeah, we don’t do that here, sorry.

Rating: 3
Comment: Yeeeeeah, I’m sorry too… for the lack of any personality whatsoever.

Mountain 2, NV

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Not that I’m aware of. I’ll be happy to transfer you to special tickets. Transferred…
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: No, we’re not.
SAM: You’re not. OK, just thought I’d ask. I heard some other resorts were thinking of doing something like that so I figured I should check.
Staff: Um, no. We’re not.

Rating: 3
Comment: Who’s got my friendly customer service?!

Mountain 3, NV

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Noooo, we’re not.
SAM: Alright. I just heard of some other nearby resorts possibly doing that so I thought I should ask.
Staff: Oh nooo, no other resorts are doing that! Ha ha ha, it’s just a vicious rumor! Ha ha ha!
SAM: Umm, OK. I just had a friend tell me, and I don’t remember which mountain it was, but that they were thinking of giving a small credit toward next year for their passholders.
Staff: Ohhh, yeah, no. Why didn’t you make it up here very often? We did have snow!
SAM: Yeah, I know, but I live three hours from the mountain and I just didn’t make it up nearly as much as last year because of the late season start and warm weather in the middle of season. It was really discouraging. But, oh well, thought I’d ask.
Staff: Sure, doesn’t hurt to ask. Ha ha ha!

Rating: 5
Comment: Tough love. And I think she was laughing AT me…

Mountain 4, CA

First Contact: Automated machine.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: You know, we're actually not doing anything like because we have been open since December so skiing and riding has been available all season. But, what we did start doing, which is a definite benefit and bonus to passholders, is we started the early-open, season pass lift line, which is very cool! So we've been opening the lifts a 1/2 hour earlier just for season pass holders when it’s a powder day or just a great day in general to ski or ride. You should have been receiving those e-mails—we sent them out during big storms reminding everyone to come early for first tracks.
SAM: Oh, bummer! I didn’t get those emails. I bet they went into my junk folder.
Staff: Yeah, because that’s actually how we’ve been sending out other perks and stuff through that e-mail service to passholders. So
definitely check your junk folder, you still might be abale to take
advantage of some of the offers.
SAM: Will do!
Staff: And then keep your eyes out for another e-mail because we’re going to be releasing next year’s season pass and we’ve got a really cool deal coming up for the X pass that they’re trying finalize and work on so be sure to keep your eye out for that!
SAM: Awesome. Thank you, I’m sure they went into my spam folder –
Staff: Ahh dangit! Well that and our Facebook page! We always post those offers and special events on our facebook page as well.
SAM: Great, thanks! That early-opening thing is perfect, definitely a bonus. Hopefully another storm will come and I can be sure to take advantage!
Staff: Yeah! It’s been awesome lately and I’ve been stuck behind the desk, ha ha ha! But oh well!
SAM: Bummer, but I’m sure you’ll get your turns in! So did you guys start that season pass line half way through the season when we all realized it wasn’t definitely going to be subpar compared to last
season?
Staff: We did, yeah!
SAM: That’s perfect, I’m sure everyone loved it. And hopefully I can still take advantage. Thanks for all your help!
Staff: No problem, thanks for calling!

Rating: 10
Comment: Bam! No further questions.

IDENTITY REVEALED: SIERRA AT TAHOE, CA

Mountain 5, CO

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Hmm, nope. You do have your regular vouchers though that are definitely still valid. I know the ski season has been a little bit light on the snow, but the majority of the mountain has been open for the majority of the season so they are not offering anything like that, so I apologize.
SAM: It’s all right, figured it couldn’t hurt to ask. I just wish I got more skiing in this year.
Staff: I’m sure, so do I! But you still get your regular friends and family vouchers with your current pass so that’s always something to use.
SAM: Absolutely. But there’s nothing I can put toward next year’s pass?
Staff: No, unfortunately not, but on that note, season passes have gone on sale and they’re at their lowest price until mid April. And there’s the X and Y pass and don’t forget the Y pass includes the extra days at Z mountain, so that’s always a nice bonus.
SAM: OK, cool.
Staff: Yeah, there’s always next season!
SAM: Absolutely, thanks for your help!

Rating: 8
Comment: A good attitude, even when saying No, goes a long way. And to promote existing deals and next year’s pass? Nicely done.

Mountain 6, UT

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Good question! I have no idea, but I will send you off to the ticket department to see what they’ve got. Hold on one second. Transferred…
Answering Phone: Same woman.
Staff: So I spoke to the ticket department just because I expected we would be getting a few more of these calls and, umm, we are not doing any type of refund because we’ve had snow and everything on our mountain and every lift has been open all season.
SAM: All right. So there’s nothing at all they’re doing in terms of coupons or summer vouchers even?
Staff: No, at this point they are not.

Rating: 6
Comment: Can’t fault her for not having an answer. But I can for not promoting anything else.

Mountain 7, VT

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Hold on one moment and I’ll transfer you to resort services. Transferred…
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Hmm, no. They haven’t made any of that—I mean we have our early season pricing going on right now. Ya know, it was not the best of years, but we were open for a decent amount of time. I mean it was a rough year all around, but I haven’t heard of them doing anything like that yet, sorry.
SAM: Yeah I was just thinking of it compared to last year when I got a ton of skiing in and not much this season. I didn’t save that much money with my pass this year so I was hoping the resort might offer us something?
Staff: I’m not hearing of anything like that. The prices have already been set for next season so I don’t believe so. Silence…
SAM: OK then, guess that’s it.

Rating: 6
Comment: Honest and nice, but where’s the positive attitude? What’s going on for summer?! I know you have lots of summer stuff…

Mountain 8, ME

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: No. I’ll give you to the season pass department, but no. (Okay!)
Transferred…
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Uhhhh, make up for?
SAM: Just the amount of skiing days that I lost this year compared to last due to lack of snow or poor weather. I just didn’t save very much money this year with my season pass like I did last year.
Staff: Yeah, no, yeah, I mean I hear you, but we made snow. And um, the skiing was awesome, I skied every weekend, so…
SAM: OK.
Staff: And you know, when you buy the pass you agree to the no-refund policy. There are no refunds unless you get hurt and have a doctor’s note. But no, I mean Mother Nature is good some years and sometimes it’s not good. Um, but we worked really hard to make the snow so, um, we got a lot of feedback that despite the conditions the skiing was awesome.
SAM: Right. I understand the no-refund policy, but I was hoping for any small vouchers or coupons toward next year’s pass.
Staff: No, I mean along the way they came out with X program, which was a great deal and they ran that from February to March. Umm, and then they gave out two-for-one tickets. You know, um, and we don’t consider the season over either, you know. It is supposed to get cold again, um, and if it does they just might start making snow again, you know.
SAM: Sure, that would be great to get some spring skiing in. Definitely!
Staff: Yeah, you know and they’re forecasting snow for next Thursday so who knows!
SAM: I can’t wait! Thanks for your help.
Staff: Yeah, but, you know, that’s the situation. Some years are better than others. I hear what you’re saying, but there’s not really any refunds available.
SAM: No worries, thanks.

Rating: 7.5
Comment: Um, A for effort, you know.

Mountain 9, NJ

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: OK, yeah well, we did open December X and we usually close the second week in March anyway so the season really wasn’t any shorter than normal soooo… Silence…
SAM: Yeah, um, I just feel like the snow coverage was definitely lacking and I skied way more last year and really didn’t save as much money so I was just wondering if the resort was doing anything to help out the passholders?
Staff: Yeah, um, yeah, no. They’re not really doing anything because they did have a decent amount of open time this season. There may not have been as much natural snow, but we did make snow. So…
SAM: Sooo you’re not doing anything?
Staff: Nooo.
SAM: No worries, just thought I’d ask.
Staff: That’s fine. Have a great day!!! (Oh, now you’re chummy because I’m getting off the phone?)

Rating: 4
Comment: Sooo, any kind of positivety is always appreciated.

Mountain 10, MI

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Let me put you up to the season pass desk because I honestly don’t know. Transferred…
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Well, unfortunately, we have no control over the weather so, you know, unless you would have let us known earlier in the season. I mean, there isn’t anything that we could do regarding weather or anything. We don’t have any control over that. When did you pick up your pass?
SAM: In the Fall, I always get it early for better pricing.
Staff: Oh, OK, so you’ve had your pass since the beginning of the year so you got to ski in the whole time?
SAM: Yeah I did, but just compared to last year I got sooo many more days in so I was just wondering if the mountain was doing anything extra?
Staff: Um no, not regarding that unfortunately. Ha ha ha.
SAM: It’s all right, thanks.

Rating: 4
Comment: I know it was a tough season, but let’s put a better spin on it!

Mountain 11, PA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Right. Um, we are encouraging everyone to write a letter and
e-mail them to guest services and Betty will present those to the general manager.
SAM: Oh, that’s nice. What’s the e-mail? (Given e-mail.) Great, I can definitely do that. Have you heard anything about what might happen for us?
Staff: Um, no, not yet. We actually got an e-mail from her about two weeks for anybody calling in asking this. I’m not sure when she’s going to meeting with the GM, but we have people with X cards wondering the same thing—if they can roll over credits and things like that.
SAM: Yeah, that would be awesome! Well, it’s nice to hear there might be a chance. Thanks so much, I’ll be sure to write the e-mail today.
Staff: Great. And once you do she’ll email you backto let you know she got it.

Rating: 9
Comment: Personal feedback, and griping, encouraged. Now that’s customer service!

Mountain 12, VT

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: I haven’t heard anything like that. Um, yeah, um, I haven’t heard anything. It was just decided today about closing on April x, too. Silence…
SAM: Yeah, I was just wondering because of how much more I got to ski last year and how much more money I saved, too.
Staff: Um, I, ah, you know, I haven’t heard of anything. If something does come up, I’m sure we would send an e-mail out to passholders. Um, yeah, so yeah.
SAM: All right, well maybe something will be decided, I hope! Thanks.
Staff: Thanks for calling.

Rating: 4
Comment: Yeah, um. Maybe promote something else if you’re not sure at all what to say to me.

Mountain 13, NH

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Gosh, you know, that’s a great question, but I don’t think the mountain is doing anything like that at this time. We feel bad it wasn’t the greatest winter really, but sometimes it’s just like that.
SAM: All right, I just heard some rumors that some areas were thinking of providing credits toward next year. Or, I was thinking even vouchers for food or something like that. Just wondering...
Staff: Sure, of course. It doesn’t hurt to ask. I do know they’ve already set next year’s pass, which are the lowest price right now if you’re curious, but I never heard of offering any credits to this year’s passholders. Sorry!
SAM: No worries, it’s not your fault. Worth a shot to ask!
Staff: Absolutely! Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

Rating: 8
Comment: Hey, at least she was nice about it and apologetic.

Mountain 14, PA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: No, nope. Nope.
SAM: Um, OK. I was just wondering because I got to ski so much last season and was hoping the resort might offer vouchers for next season or even this summer?
Staff: Uh, hold on, I’m just answering the phone here. Hold on one second. Holding…
Answering Phone: A different female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: They’re not doing anything like that. They are still offering the X pass at $199 for next year.
SAM: OK.
Staff: And the Y pass is at the lowest price until March 31.
SAM: Sure, I know that’s a good deal, but I heard of some other resorts may be doing something to help out passholders so I was just wondering.
Staff: Yeah, I haven’t heard of anything at this time saying anything different, so…
SAM: OK, then, thanks.

Rating: 5
Comment: Good transfer. She mentioned the suite of discounted products, but was lacking in enthusiasm.

Mountain 15, QE­

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: OK, I will connect you with the ticket booth, one moment. Transferred…
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Sorry, wait one minute… Transferred…
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question
Staff: Yes, yes, but I don’t think so because it’s a season’s pass and it’s like if you’re going to the south and it rains all week, you don’t get anything back. It’s very sad I know. Can I have your name and I can check how many times you were with us. Because we had a good year! Starting mid-December going to last week.
SAM: Sure, I was able to visit a good amount of times. I was just wondering because it wasn’t nearly as good as last year and I didn’t save as much money, so I was just seeing if the resort was offering anything to its passholders.
Staff: Sure, I haven’t heard anything, but do you want me to take your name and number and I can ask? I know they are looking closely into all of their products and deciding what they are going to do, but I haven’t heard anything about season pass holders.
SAM: Oh that’s all right, I don’t want to bother you with that, I was just wondering if you heard of anything. (The Mountain Spy was on the verge of being discovered!)
Staff: Unfortunately, no, sorry, I haven’t.
SAM: That’s all right. It was worth a shot!
Staff: Of course! If we don’t ask we’ll never know, right!?
SAM: You bet. Well, hopefully next season will be better!

Rating: 9
Comment: Good attitude, lots of patience, even offered to go the extra step of checking and calling me back. High five!


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