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Mountain Spy Jan 2015 Gear Rental

 

 

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In this month's Mountain Spy, we tackle the simple act of renting gear. When a customer has doubts about going through the rental process, how easy do you make it for them?



THE QUESTION: I'M PLANNING A VISIT TO YOUR MOUNTAIN AND NEED TO RENT MY GEAR, BUT HAVE A PHOBIA OF CROWDED SPACES. I'M NERVOUS ABOUT GOING THROUGH YOUR RENTAL SHOP. ANY TIPS FOR MAKING IT GO SMOOTHLY?

MOUNTAIN 1, VT

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, well, ha ha, geeze, that’s too bad. Silence...
(Yeah, no kidding. Thanks, dude.) 
SAM: Um, yeah, it’s kind of an inconvenience, but that’s why I’m calling ahead of time...
Staff: Ummm, sure thing, of course. We can definitely help you out. If your goal is to avoid any lines, the best thing is to go on our website at abc.com and visit the rental page, where you can make your rental equipment reservation up to two days in advance. Then, when you get to the mountain, you go to the rental shop, but skip the line, and all your equipment will be ready for you. No lines, no worries!
SAM: Awesome. Just what I was hoping to hear. I wasn’t sure if I could reserve everything online.
Staff: Sure thing, no problem. And most definitely. You can do the whole process online. It’s under the “winter” tab on our website.
SAM: Great. Thanks so much!

RATING: 6.5
COMMENT: A ROCKY START, BUT A QUICK ATTITUDE CHANGE TURNED THIS CONVERSATION AROUND.

MOUNTAIN 2, MA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: OK, so, like, the easiest, the best and least amount of people is gonna be, like, first thing in the morning, or once you wait until, like, after four o'clock we can rent then for the next day for you.
SAM: OK, but do I get charged for two days or I still only get charged for one day?
Staff: Oh, no! You pick them up the night before when it’s slow and you only get charged for one day. If you were, uh, skiing the next day, you know what I mean, and then you would have them for that night.
SAM: Gotcha. That’s good, that gives me two options. OK, I can definitely do either of those.
Staff: And I would suggest not coming on, like, Martin Luther King Day or Presidents’ Day, because those are our very busiest holidays and we rent everything we have out. Ha Ha Ha.
SAM: OK. Ha Ha Ha. I can imagine! So not a holiday, got it. And then what time do you suggest if I came first thing in the morning?
Staff: Uh, we open at nine, so, I mean, if you were here first thing, then you’ll be like the first one. You know what I mean?
SAM: Right. OK, well I can definitely do that. Thank you very much!

RATING: 8.5
COMMENT: INSIDER TIPS = HIGH POINTS.

MOUNTAIN 3, CO

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, what kind of skiing do you do?
SAM: Um, I’m like intermediate to advanced.
Staff: OK. And how long are you gonna be renting for?
SAM: Um, I’m probably just gonna come up for the day. I’m just visiting a friend for a bit.
Staff: And what day are you thinking?
SAM: Um, I don’t know that yet, unfortunately. It’s going to be before Christmas, so in the next few weeks.
Staff: OK. So when you pick your days you probably want try to avoid weekends if you can.
SAM: OK. Sure.
Staff: And also when you come, if you’re doing a rental shop here at the base, don’t do the village rentals. You probably wanna do the ABC center or the rental shop on the very bottom floor of XYZ center, both of those are way less used. As well, the ABC center is higher end skis, meant for more advanced skiers, and because of that you don’t get the big crowds in there.
SAM: That’s great to know. Thank you! Yeah, I mean I’m definitely not a first-timer by any means, so that could be something that would work to my advantage. I didn’t know how many rental shops you guys had so that’s great to know.
Staff: Those are the three we have here, so there are a few choices.
SAM: Great. Well I can plan to go to one of the less crowded ones espcially if I end up coming in on the weekend. I’ll try to shoot for midweek like you said, but if I do have to come in, is it better to get there right away as it opens and try to be one of the first people there?
Staff: Yeah, I mean that’ll certainly help, or if you can catch the evening beforehand. Or if, um, if it is a weekend and you see it’s gonna be packed it might be better to just do a quick trip into town, it’s about a mile away and you can grab some nice gear from the ski shop there. No one ever goes past the resort unless they’re coming from the north, so those shops are usually never very crowded.
SAM: OK, awesome. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.

RATING: 9
COMMENT: GREAT INSIDER TIPS WITH A HEAP OF PATIENCE.

MOUNTAIN 4, WI

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, I guess maybe just see how crowded it is before you go in. Or have somebody go in first. I mean our space is pretty big, so there’s usually plenty of room to get around. If it’s a busier day I might have somebody go in and check for you to see how it is, if it’s too much for you to handle, that kind of thing. But, like, yeah, it’s a pretty roomy space.
SAM: So if you’re saying it’s pretty big, then maybe it will be OK?
Staff: Yeah you have, like, cubicle kind of bench areas so, um, where you sit down and put your boots on and everything is roomy, so you can give yourself some elbow room. Ha ha ha.
SAM: Um, OK, I guess. So I’ll kind of be by myself a little bit? Are there any times that maybe are less crowded than others?
Staff: Um, I would say it really depends on the day. If you’re looking at a weekend, it can be kind of steady all day. I wouldn’t say any time is specifically busy, but usually right when we open and then we have our night-time skiing and stuff, so I would say between 4:30 and 5:30 might be a little bit busier than, you know say 3:30 or something. But, um, it really depends on the day, you know?
SAM: Alright, well here’s hoping I get lucky and it’s not very crowded.
Staff: Alright, ha ha ha, sounds good.

RATING: 4
COMMENT: NOT VERY INSPIRING TO SAY THE LEAST.

MOUNTAIN 5, OH

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Ha Ha Ha, umm... well let’s see. I would say not come on Saturday morning, ha ha, um, lots of school clubs are here Saturday morning. Uh, would you be coming on the weekend? (I’m glad my phobia is so funny to her!)
SAM: Um, OK, I can try to avoid that.
Staff: Oh, OK.
SAM: Probably. I mean, if Sunday’s a better day, I could shoot for Sunday.
Staff: Um, my other tip would be the ABC rental shop over the XYZ rental shop here at the mountain.
SAM: OK.
Staff: Like, it’s one big room with, like, high ceilings and, you know, there’s walls where the boots are with plenty of room to grab them. That’s probably the best bet. But like I said, avoid Saturday and Sunday mornings.
SAM: OK. So could I rent something on Saturday afternoon and use it Sunday?
Staff: Uh, no. Ha ha ha. You have to rent the gear the day you plan to ski.
SAM: OK, so Sunday is maybe a little bit less crowded then?
Staff: Correct, as long as you don’t come on X Sundays. So avoid those days, which are select Sundays and you can see those on the Internet. Well, our Internet’s down right now, but usually they’re on our website. Ha ha ha.
SAM: OK. So just go check online then?
Staff: Yeah. It’s just, like, three Sundays. So, yeah, just avoid those Sundays.
SAM: Avoid those, got it. OK, well I will definitely shoot for Sunday if I can and not a Saturday morning, and I’ll avoid those X Sundays.
Staff: Uh-huh. Sounds good, and Saturday afternoons are fine, too, if that’s something that would be better for you. And, well, on Friday and Saturday nights we’re open until 1 a.m., if that helps.
SAM: Oh, OK, I can come see you at night, I didn’t know that. Well, thanks so much for your help, I appreciate it.

RATING: 3.5
COMMENT: OK INFO, BUT A LITTLE ALL OVER THE PLACE.
AND SHE KEPT LAUGHING, WHICH FELT LIKE IT WAS AT ME! :(

MOUNTAIN 6, CA

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Sure! We have our call center who can make you an advanced reservation. As well, we do actually have a rental shop here in town that will deliver to you. It’s not actually affiliated with the mountain, but it is a service that exists if that is something you think will be easier for you. It’s called XYZ Rentals. Their website is www.xyzrentals.com.
SAM: Awesome, thanks! And so they just deliver to the house that I’d be staying at?
Staff: Yup! Also, if you are interested at all in staying with us here at the mountain, I can certainly transfer you over to the call center, and they can give you more of a rundown of what sort of help they can provide when it comes to renting equipment.
SAM: Thank you, but I’m not sure exactly which day I’m coming yet, unfortunately. But if I did want to do that, do they make the reservation ahead of time and I just pick it up or how does it work?
Staff: I believe that’s how it is, but they can give you a better run-down of what the options are, which is why I figured I can at least send you over there, kind of for a fact finding mission, if you’d like.
SAM: No worries. Maybe I’ll just call back when I know I’m coming or when I know what day I’m coming, and then talk to the call center and at the same time I can look up that rental company.
Staff: Perfect. Sure, yeah, and to call the call center directly it’s just 1-800-resortname, so that’s nice and easy to remember.
SAM: Awesome, thanks!

RATING: 10
COMMENT: DETAILED INFORMATION, MULTIPLE OPTIONS, LOTS OF ENTHUSIASM = TOP NOTCH CUSTOMER SERVICE.
IDENTITY REVEALED: MAMMOTH.
AND A SHOUT OUT TO LINDSEY!

MOUNTAIN 7, NH

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, you can certainly get the rentals ahead of time by using our online reservation system. That way all you have to do is go in there and let them know your name, and they can actually bring the rentals right out to you, and you can totally avoid any lines or crowds.
SAM: Oh, OK. Well that's fantastic. And that's through your website?
Staff: Yep, right on our website. You just have to know which day you're coming so they can give you the rentals with all of your sizes all together. They'll even be able to print out your ticket, um, there might be a place to put some notes in there, I'm not sure. But if not, you can also give ’em a call and just make sure that they bring them out to you in the lobby so you don't have to go through the entire rental shop.
SAM: OK, awesome. Thank you so much. And then, like, boot sizes and boot fittings, they just go off the size I put on the form?
Staff: Yeah whatever you put in there, if you have to get it adjusted you can just let them know, they'll go grab you a different pair of boots in a different size if needed.
SAM: OK, so I can try it on in the lobby if I need to. And they bring it out, and in case it doesn't fit they can help get a different pair?
Staff: Yeah, absolutely. Just let ’em know that you'd rather not go through the hallway or the, um, rental line, I guess, where they go through all the stations, Ha Ha, and they'll definitely help you out with that.
SAM: OK, great. Thanks so much, I really appreciate it. So it's just on your website right?
Staff: You're welcome. It's on the website under “shop,” yes. Uh, I think it was rental equipment and packages, and then there's a bunch of different options under that. There's a lift and lesson, or, lift and, um, rental package that you can do as well, so that way you get the lift ticket out of the way as well, or you can just do the rentals.
SAM: OK, perfect. Thanks so much. I really appreciate your help.
Staff: You’re welcome!

RATING: 9
COMMENT: IT’S JUST THAT EASY. ONLINE SIGN UP, PERSONAL ASSISTANCE IF NEEDED. MINUS ONE FOR NOT SPELLING OUT THE WEBSITE.

MOUNTAIN 8, ME

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Mm-hm. OK. Um, part of what you could do is the forms that you have to fill out in order to rent, you can fill out ahead of time online.
SAM: Awesome. OK.
Staff: That can definitely smooth things out a little bit. The other thing is, if you don't come at peak hours, you know, so if you're here very first thing in the morning or if you can come midweek, um, rather than on the weekend if possible. Or even if you do come on the weekend, if you wait until after we open the rental shop at 8 so if, um, if you can wait until like 10 or so when things have kind of cleared out and calmed down a little bit, that would definitely be a recommendation.
SAM: OK. Yeah. And I can definitely fill out the form online. I didn't know I could do that, so thank you. And then I can plan to come a little bit later. I'll probably be coming on a weekend. I could try to come midweek, I just don't know if I can get off work. But if I come on the weekend, I guess I'll just wait then until, yeah, like after 10.
Staff: Yeah, that would be better for you. I mean, they tend to get a rush right as soon as they open. So if you can wait a little while and let it go a little bit, it will slow down. I would try and avoid, like, school holidays as well, that sort of thing. Um, but, Ha Ha, but other than that it's usually pretty good, OK?
SAM: Great, thanks. I'll be sure to fill out the form online and then just, yeah, give it a little while on the weekend. Thanks so much for your help, I really appreciate it.
Staff: You're welcome. You have a good day.

RATING: 7
COMMENT: HIGH POINTS FOR RECOMMENDING ONLINE RESERVATIONS, BUT OTHER THAN THAT IT LOOKS LIKE I’M ON MY OWN WITH NO OTHER CHOICES.

MOUNTAIN 9, CA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Wait, sorry, so, um, oh, gotcha, it's just registered. Ha Ha Ha.
SAM: No worries.
Staff: So yeah, you know what, I'm gonna put you on hold for a moment and see if anyone has information better than I do, hold on...
SAM: Thank you so much.
Staff: You're welcome. (Holding...)
Staff: Hang on for just another minute, I'm just waiting for someone to become available.
SAM: That's OK. Thank you. I appreciate it.
Staff: So one thing I do know there are, um, rental delivery services which would completely eliminate having to go there at all. X Rentals is a resort sport shop that is here in the village. Um, so I'm on there right now, I'm just kind of looking... I haven't looked at this website before. I'm new to the call center. Ha Ha Ha!
SAM: You're fine. So that's part of the resort?
Staff: Yes. Uh, we're a separate system, so we can't book anything. Um, I mean, I can, let's see, it’s got free delivery, where are you staying? Do you know yet?
SAM: I'll be staying with a friend in X city down the road.
Staff: OK. Hold on just a minute...
SAM: No worries.
Staff: All right, so as far as this rental place goes, they only deliver to resort properties, however, if you're staying in X city like you said, the main store location is there that you could go to. Um, Y rentals is another one in X city. So I think if you Google ski rental delivery in X city, you’ll have a few options to choose from, though if you decided to do a demo rental here at the resort, it tends to not be as busy.
SAM: Great, thanks for all of that. I assume you guys get a ton of people, so your rental shops are just pretty crowded all the time?
Staff: Yeah. It honestly depends on when you're coming like right now, probably not too busy. And you know, usually people are getting here first thing in the morning so everyone's there all at the same time. So if you came at like 10, it may not be as crowded. And you can always call them and see how busy it is when you’re planning to come up.
SAM: OK, thanks. I can do that. And I'll check around these delivery places and then when I know the exact day I'm coming, maybe I'll give you guys a call and see about how busy it is and go from there.
Staff: Absolutely. That sounds good. Have a great day!

RATING: 7
COMMENT: GOOD INFORMATION FOR A NEWBIE. TOOK THE TIME TO FIND ALL MY OPTIONS, EVEN IF IT WASN’T PERFECT.

MOUNTAIN 10, MI

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: OK, if you're nervous around crowds our X location has a limited amount of rentals and our Y location also has a limited amount of rentals. I would highly recommend stopping at the X location. It's a smaller facility. We don't get as much traffic for the rentals through that building for the simple fact that we have a smaller hill over there. So that would probably be your best bet for getting your rentals.
SAM: OK, great. So you have two rental shops at your area?
Staff: Yes, now when will you be coming?
SAM: Um, I'm not entirely sure, probably before Christmas.
Staff: Well, before Christmas the Y location might be your only option then. I don't know if the X location is going to be open yet by then.
SAM: OK... I haven’t completely decided yet since I’m just driving in.
Staff: OK, if it's before Christmas, our A Hill isn't gonna be open, so that probably wouldn't be an option. Um, but your best bet would be to come earlier in the day, probably, rather than in the evening. Either that or late in the evening the day before, close to closing time. Does that make sense?
SAM: Yeah it does, but would I be charged for that extra day?
Staff: No, no, no, you can get your rentals the day before if you go within an hour of closing time. And it's usually not as crowded at that time. So if you do end up coming before Christmas and do have to go to the Y location, go the night before you're gonna ski, an hour before close. And let them know you'd like to get your rentals for tomorrow, and they won't charge you for that night.
SAM: Perfect. Thanks!

STAFF: WONDERFUL, NO PROBLEM AT ALL!
RATING: 8.5
COMMENT: LOADS OF PATIENCE AND A GREAT TIP TO COME THE NIGHT BEFORE. SO SIMPLE!

MOUNTAIN 11, UT

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, sure there's a company actually that will deliver your skis. Let me put you in touch with their reservations department and they might have its phone number. Just a moment.
Transferred...
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question and explained the delivery service recommendation.
Staff: Yes, uh-huh. Absolutely. Yeah. Um, there's actually two that can deliver to you. They're pretty competitive. One of them is called X rentals, a very cool company actually. Both of these are really nice. Nice people, nice companies to work with. I've got their number for you, if you like.
SAM: Um, yeah, that would be great. And if I'm staying at my friend's house they just deliver to a house?
Staff: Yeah. Absolutely!
SAM: Awesome. What is their number?
Staff: Umm, their number is 555-5555, and then the other one is Y rentals and their number is 555-4444.
SAM: OK, awesome.
Staff: They're both really nice and they'll just come right to your house with the rentals. You can go online at either company’s website [given both web addresses] and check out their inventory. And then there are forms that you can fill out online, and then they usually bring a couple of extra pairs of boots and some skis just to make sure they get the right fit for you. It’s great!
SAM: Oh, that's awesome. Thank you so much. So is your rental shop just always so crowded, or do these people work with the resort?
Staff: They’re private companies. We do have a resort rental shop that’s very nice, but if you want to avoid any crowd whatsoever, these private deliveries can offer you that.
SAM: Well thanks so much, I really appreciate the recommendations.
Staff: Anytime, have a great day!

RATING: 8.5
COMMENT: PHONE NUMBERS, WEB ADDRESSES, DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS. THE RECIPE FOR EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE!

MOUNTAIN 12, NY

First Contact: Female
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Oh gosh, I’m sorry to hear that, but thanks for calling. I’m happy to help you. Just one minute...
Holding...
Staff: Sooo, like, I’m pretty sure if you came very first thing in the morning when the shop opens, that would probably be easier for you. Um, yeah, I think it would be. (Try not to sound too confident!)
SAM: OK. I assume the lines aren’t too long then?
Staff: Yeah, like very first thing is when it’s a little bit quieter. The shop opens at 8:30 a.m. on the weekdays and 7:30 a.m. on the weekends. Even if you got there a few minutes before they open that might be better. Maybe, yeah.
SAM: OK. I can plan for that. Seems easy enough. Are there any days that are more crowded than others?
Staff: Ummm, like holidays are super busy. And I guess Saturdays too. Midweek is probably your best bet if you can come then. Silence...
SAM: OK then, thanks.

RATING: 5
COMMENT: LIKE, MAYBE. YEAH. AT LEAST SHE WAS CLEAR ON WHEN THE SHOP OPENS.

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