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Mountain Spy July 2015 Disgruntled Pass Holders

  

 

Cover SAM Jul15



In this month’s Mountain Spy, we address a hot topic this past season—disgruntled pass holders. The responses vary, but a personable employee is always the best solution.

 



THE QUESTION: I BARELY WAS ABLE TO SKI THIS SEASON DUE TO POOR WEATHER. IS THE RESORT DOING ANYTHING FOR PASS HOLDERS TO MAKE UP FOR ALL THE DAYS LOST?

MOUNTAIN 1, CA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We are! We do have a rollover credit, and it’s actually happening until May 31st so you called right in time! We’re offering a rollover credit for people who did not use their pass more than three times this past season. We know it was a tough one, and we’d like to make up for it. If you don’t mind, let me transfer you to a different phone so I can look you up in our computer system. Give me once second…
Holding…
Staff: Hello! OK, let’s see. Do you know approximately how many days you skied?
SAM: I think I skied there twice this season.
Staff: OK. And you didn’t use any days at X or Y mountains?
SAM: Nope.
Staff: OK, let’s see. What is your last name?
Worried I would blow my cover, as I actually have a season pass to this resort, I panicked, hung up, and went on their website with high hopes. Luckily, it was clearly spelled out what my “credit” would be for purchasing next year’s pass. The policy was easy to understand, no more questions, and the credit was actually a good deal!

RATING: 8.5
COMMENT: HIGH POINTS FOR A SUPER FRIENDLY ATTITUDE AND AN EVEN MORE USER-FRIENDLY WEBSITE. SORRY ABOUT THE ABRUPT HANG-UP.

MOUNTAIN 2, NV

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Well, we’re not, because actually the season here was pretty darn good for us! Um, and it was. Yeah, yeah it was! We fared the best out of all the resorts in this area due to our high elevation. Did you not use your pass at all?
SAM: I came up there three days. I live a few hours away and have a pass to your resort because of nearby friends and, I mean, I know you guys didn’t get as much snow as some of the other resorts so it was hard to…
Staff: Oh no! We got the most snow out of all the other resorts! (That’s actually 100 percent false.) Um, I think perception has a lot to do with it, and just rumors. So no, our resort actually fared the best. We had the best conditions. As a matter of fact we had plenty of pass holders from other resorts visiting us.
SAM: Ha Ha Ha. OK. Well I guess perception is all of it. And what the conditions were when I did come up made me feel, in the end, that I didn’t get the full value out of my pass, that’s all. Especially like I did a few years ago. So I was just wondering with the worst season we’ve had on record, or pretty close to it, if the resort was doing anything for pass holders?
Staff: Yeah, I mean we didn’t do anything for anybody. We had plenty of people come up, and not to mention the fact that when your area doesn’t receive rain, people think there’s no snow in the mountains. But on the books, for us, it was pretty darn good. And we made out from some of the storms because of our higher elevation. So, um, it’s a shame we couldn’t get the word out more, because we heard this quite a bit. So, yeah.
SAM: OK, no problem.
Staff: Yeah. I mean we’re going to have our regular sale in September and hopefully you’ll return.
SAM: Sounds good, thanks.

RATING: 3
COMMENT: I GET IT. YOU THOUGHT YOUR SEASON WAS GREAT, BUT YOUR CUSTOMER DOESN’T. NOW WHAT?

MOUNTAIN 3, WA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Automated machine. [I had no choice but to listen to the recording…]
This is maybe (maybe!) one of three times that the automated recording gave me ALL the information I needed. High five to this resort! The automated recording gave detailed information on increased pass holder benefits and discounts for next year. I literally did not have a single question left after the recording.

RATING: 9
COMMENT: NICELY DONE, SUMMIT AT SNOQUALMIE!

MOUNTAIN 4, MA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Oh, well, that’s too bad to hear, but in all honesty, we had a really good season. I know it was super cold and the road closures didn’t help, but we got so much snow it was unreal.
SAM: Yeah, I guess so. Well are you guys offering anything at all for those days we missed?
Staff: Unfortunately we aren’t. Sorry. Silence…
SAM: OK, well I just thought I would ask.
Staff: Of course! Well have a good day, and we hope to see you next year!

RATING: 5
COMMENT: NO FAULT IN NOT OFFERING ANY REFUNDS, BUT THEY HAVE SO MUCH GREAT SUMMER STUFF, YOU’D THINK SHE MIGHT TALK THAT UP TO TRY AND LIFT MY SPIRITS!

MOUNTAIN 5, CA

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: No, um, a lot of our pass holders got quite a bit of skiing in. We are doing a guarantee for next year though that, um, if you ski four days or less... Have you heard about that?
SAM: Oh, I haven’t! What’s that about?
Staff: So this is for the ’15-’16 season. Let’s say you only ski one day for whatever reason. Then you’ll get a credit back for four days. So it always equals five. So if you only ski two days you get a credit for three. And the credit is to be applied towards the following season’s pass. And it’s only offered for gold and silver season pass holders.
SAM: Oh, OK. So if I only ski two days next year then I basically have three free days in the ’16-’17 season? And I have to buy a pass?
Staff: Well you get $75 a day for silver and $100 a day for gold.
SAM: So I get money back? Or I have to buy a pass with that credit?
Staff: No, that can only be applied towards your ’16-’17 season pass.
SAM: OK, so I have to apply it towards the purchase of a season pass?
Staff: Correct. It’s called a worry-free guarantee, and it could be a great snow year, but you just weren’t able to get here.
SAM: Well, but if it’s truly “worry-free,” and I buy a pass next year, and it’s a still a totally crappy season, then I can’t get the refund you’re offering unless I buy another pass? I can’t get money back towards just a day ticket?
Staff: Correct.
SAM: Yeah. Well unfortunately I bought a bronze pass this year, so I guess there’s nothing for me? Even this summer?
Staff: No, no, I mean you can still use your pass to ride the lift in the summer like everyone else. Silence…
SAM: OK, thanks then.
Staff: Of course, have a wonderful day.

RATING: 3
COMMENT: THANKS FOR CATERING TO THE 1 PERCENT.

Mountain 6, OR

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Well no, there’s not, because we were actually only closed four days last year, and we were able to run the X and Y lifts, which we don’t normally get to do, and were able to maintain the full seven lift status that we usually have. (Touché!)
SAM: Hmm. OK. Yeah, I just feel like it was so horrible compared to recent years that I was hoping the resort might be doing something for pass holders.
Staff: No, not exactly, but they did extend your pass through the first week of June, which is an extra two weeks of skiing or riding.
SAM: OK. Well that’s something. I didn’t know that. Thanks. I’ll try to get up there in the next few weeks then.
Staff: Of course. Have a great day.

RATING: 6
COMMENT: OPENING WITH THE EXTRA TWO WEEKS WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH BETTER THAN OPENING WITH A “NO.”

Mountain 7, BC

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yeah, so what type of pass did you have?
SAM: I think I had the X pass.
Staff: Sure, no problem. So what we’re offering is, well we operated close to 84 days, but only 54 of them counted. So how our season pass guarantee works is that you would get a 54 percent discount on next year, though we didn’t feel that was enough, so we’re now offering a 80 percent discount.
SAM: Wow.
Staff: Yeah, and it’s off our already discounted spring pass prices. So for your X pass you would pay $X which is about the price of one lift ticket. If you had the Y pass, you’re going to pay $X to renew that.
SAM: Jeez. That’s awesome. I had no idea!
Staff: Yeah, of course! We posted it on our website a few months ago and sent some e-blasts out, but I’m glad you called.
SAM: Thank you! So I can just find that information on the website and renew there?
Staff: You can. Do you have your pass from this year?
SAM: I do, yeah.
Staff: OK, so you’ll need that pass number on the bottom of the card to renew online. So basically it will say, “what’s your number?” and you’ll plug that in, and it will pull your whole record, and from there you can renew.
SAM: Fantastic. Thanks so much.
Staff: You bet. See you next winter!

RATING: 8
COMMENT: TAKING CARE OF LOYAL CUSTOMERS + A SUPER PERSONABLE ATTITUDE = HIGH POINTS.

Mountain 8, MN

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, well, we started a month earlier than we normally do. So we only had a couple days that weren’t stellar and only closed four days earlier than we usually do.
SAM: Hmm, I thought you guys closed like a month earlier than normal?
Staff: Oh, nope! Actually it was just four days.
SAM: Well just because March was so warm it seemed like you closed earlier than usual.
Staff: Well our typical close date is X, and we just closed the weekend before this year so it was actually less than five days I believe.
SAM: OK, yeah, I don’t know. I just have a few friends who also have passes there, and it was just so cold in February and so warm in March that I barely got up there this year, like at all. And the conditions were not what they normally are. So we were just wondering if the resort was offering anything to make up for it?
Staff: Yeah, you know. As far as next year’s passes?
SAM: Sure, next year’s passes or any discounts on your summer stuff maybe?
Staff: OK. Um, yeah. I mean we offer the early bird special for next year’s pass, and honestly, we had more days this year than last year, and I’m a huge snowboarder and was able to get out there a lot with my kids and the conditions were actually really great. And I mean, as far as the cold days go there were only a few cold days that we had to close in the whole season. And, you know, unfortunately living in the Midwest conditions are variable, and we try to do our best, and we were among the first to open in this area and one of the last to close.
SAM: Of course. No worries, I just thought to ask.
Staff: Hey! It never hurts to ask, right!?
SAM: Exactly. Well thanks for explaining everything.
Staff: Sure thing. Hope to see you next year!

RATING: 7
COMMENT: WELL, SHE SHOWED ME. BUT WITH A FRIENDLY PERSONALITY I MIGHT ADD!

Mountain 9, WA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We are actually! Yeah. So all that information is on our website. Um, I can give you the gist –
SAM: Sure! Where should I go?
Staff: Oh yeah, sure! So if you just go to the main page, xxx.com and then if you go to the X page there’s a video, actually I think it’s on the main page too, but then we also give a transcript on the X page that tells what we’ll be doing next season for pass holders.
SAM: Awesome. Thanks. So I should go look there?
Staff: Yeah! So there’s no refund for this last year, but they’re doing a significant discounts for pass holders for next year.
SAM: Very cool. Thanks so much.
Staff: Sure thing. Give us a call back if you have any questions whatsoever.

RATING: 8
COMMENT: SHORT AND SWEET AND EXACT DIRECTIONS ON WHERE TO FIND THE CORRECT INFO.

Mountain 10, VT

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, so, I’m sorry, you were a season pass holder this past year?
SAM: I was, but due to the crazy weather I just don’t feel like I got my money’s worth.
Staff: Um, so, at this point, um, ah, we don’t have, I’m just a little confused. We didn’t. So, were you an X pass holder or…?
SAM: No just a regular pass holder of your area.
Staff: OK. So at this point we don’t have anything going this year for pass holders, but if you were to purchase a pass for next year, we are offering a summer lift access addition, but we don’t have anything in place for pass holders for this past season.
SAM: But you’re offering a summer lift pass for this year’s pass holders?
Staff: No. For next year’s pass holders.
SAM: Oh, OK. Was that offered last year?
Staff: I’m not sure, this is my first year.
SAM: Oh, no worries. I know it’s an awkward question. I just had a friend of mine out west tell me her resort was giving pass holders a discount for next year because of the bad season they had. But it’s cool. I can look into it.
Staff: Definitely! And I know we’re going to be releasing our prices soon. Are you within the 19-29 year old range?
SAM: I am.
Staff: Great. So we will have the X pass available as well. And that’s the all-mountain X pass for your age group, and we’ll be releasing those prices soon. Probably by July we’ll have our price options up again.
SAM: Perfect. And that will give me summer lift access?
Staff: It will! And if you follow us on Facebook as well we post a lot of our updates there first, so it’s a good way to stay on top of announcements.
SAM: Thanks so much!

RATING: 7
COMMENT: A ROCKY START, BUT A GREAT ENDING.

MOUNTAIN 11, CA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, no. Unfortunately not. (This dude basically sounded like he was trying not to be sick.)
SAM: OK. Ummm. Silence…
SAM: OK, so yeah, it’s just a shame, because I didn’t even break even on the cost of my pass, so I didn’t know if there were any discounts or specials going on for season pass holders?
Staff: Ugh. No, unfortunately not. We can’t predict the weather.
SAM: OK then.

RATING: 2
COMMENT: UNFORTUNATELY YOU NEED A BETTER
ATTITUDE, GUY!

MOUNTAIN 12, BC

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: OK! I’m going to transfer you through to guest services, and they will be able to help you. One second please…
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Yeah sure, they have extended the passes until May 15th so you can use it partially this spring. Give me one second, and I’ll look at your profile. What is your first and last name? [Gave false name with big hopes!]
SAM: Well, while you’re looking, are there any general discounts maybe for pass holders between now and next season?
Staff: Yeah! I was just about to get to those. So what they’re doing with the X passes, and they’re only doing them for one more day, so you called just in time!
SAM: Awesome.
Staff: Yeah, so they’re throwing in an annual membership pass as well, so you can use it over the summer.
SAM: Great. So like a free summer pass?
Staff: Yeah! And you’re getting a free zip line ride, and they’re also giving a $100 gift voucher as well.
SAM: That’s really great to hear. Thank you. I wasn’t aware.
Staff: Yeah, no problem! We’re glad you called!
SAM: So is the summer pass just lift rides?
Staff: It is, and more! It is rides on the X lift and then the “Y Experience” basically. [She went on to list a half dozen summer events for which I get free entrance, along with any conditional details, so there was no misunderstanding.]
SAM: Amazing. And the deadline is today?
Staff: It is, sorry! Ha Ha.
SAM: No worries. Is that something I can renew online, or do I need to renew over the phone with you?
Staff: No, you can definitely do it online! If you just go on to our mountain’s website and then click on to the Y tab and then the X tab it will give you the option to renew the pass. It will ask for your pass number and birth date and then the renew options.
SAM: Thank you!
Staff: Of course. Happy to help!

RATING: 9.5
COMMENT: PATIENT, PERSONABLE, AND MADE SURE I UNDERSTOOD ALL THE FINE PRINT. MINUS A HALF POINT FOR NOT SPELLING OUT THE WEBSITE. (WHAT IF I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO GOOGLE?!)
IDENTITY REVEALED: GROUSE MOUNTAIN

 

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