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Mountain Spy - September 2015 Entitled Customers

  

 

SAM Sep15 Cover

In this month’s Mountain Spy, we address the trend of entitled customers. The responses vary, but a personable employee is always the best solution




THE QUESTION: I MISSED THE EARLY SEASON PASS DEADLINE. I’VE BEEN A LOYAL PASSHOLDER FOR YEARS AND WAS HOPING YOU COULD STILL HONOR THE DISCOUNTED RATE?

MOUNTAIN 1, UT

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: You know, we can’t. Um, that’s um, changed twice already.
SAM: OK. But didn’t it just expire in July? I barely missed it.
Staff: That price?
SAM: Yeah.
Staff: Yeah, but that’s the second time it went up.
SAM: Yeah, but I’ve been a passholder with you for years now. There’s nothing you can do?
Staff: Nooo, they can’t, unfortunately. I mean, if you have orders where you were stationed for deployment, then they might do that. Um, but, yeah, cuz all of that’s done online anyway, so most people, even if they’re out of town, they renew by their phone or laptop. If you’re deployed they’ll make an exception, ya know, if you’re at the war.
SAM: OK.
Staff: Yeah, I mean, all of our computers and systems have changed to the new price. Our manager has said if they are overseas they can make an exception, but not if you’re just in Vegas or something. But if you’re actually deployed to Iraq, then they would consider that. Because people there can’t really get on a computer all the time.
SAM: OK. It is what it is, just thought I would ask.
Staff: Of course! It never hurts to ask.

RATING: 6
COMMENT: PERFECTLY NICE WHILE SHE STUCK TO HER POLICY. NO HARM IN THAT.

MOUNTAIN 2, VT

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Transferred to Guest Services.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Um, I’m not too certain, but let me check for you. One second…
Hold time: one minute.
Staff: So, unfortunately the springtime is the last opportunity for that rate. (Silence…)
SAM: Um, OK. I’ve been with you guys for quite a few years now and always get a pass. There isn’t anything you can do to honor that springtime rate? I mean, how much has it gone up since then? I’m sure a lot.
Staff: Uh, what kind of pass are you looking to purchase?
SAM: Just the regular adult pass.
Staff: OK, let me see here… Well, we have the X pass at $X, the Y pass at $Y, we have the Z pass at $Z and ah –
SAM: I think the X pass.
Staff: Yeah, it’s up to $X. (Silence…)
SAM: OK. So there’s nothing you can do?
Staff: No, unfortunately not, I’m sorry. (Silence…)
SAM: OK, I guess I’ll just look into getting that then.

RATING: 4
COMMENT: NO BIG DEAL IF YOU CAN’T HONOR THE DISCOUNTED RATE, BUT A LITTLE MORE COMPASSION AND ASSISTANCE WOULD HAVE BEEN GREATLY APPRECIATED.

MOUNTAIN 3, CO

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Oh, well, let me get someone to help you out! Just one second.
Transferred...
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: There’s no way I can backdate it, but I’ve got great news for you! The price has not gone up from the spring.
SAM: Great.
Staff: Yeah, so they had a cutoff date, but all that happened after that date was that they decreased the amount of extra benefits you get, but the price did not increase at all.
SAM: OK. So just those number of benefits went down?
Staff: Yup! You’re still going to get some of them, just not all of them.
SAM: Cool. Is there a deadline for the deal?
Staff: I bet you it’s going to be around early September. Like, they won’t release that information yet. They keep it pretty locked up. Like, even I don’t know until the day before, but after five years working here I would guess around early September.
SAM: Great, thanks so much.

RATING: 8
COMMENT: LOTS OF ENTHUSIASM, AND THAT ALWAYS EARNS HIGH POINTS. GOOD INSIDER TIP ON THE LIKELY TIMING OF THE NEXT PRICE JUMP, AND NICE SEGUE TO THE BENEFITS THAT WERE STILL AVAILABLE, TOO.

MOUNTAIN 4, MT

First contact: Automated machine. Chose Guest Services.
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, well, yeah, probably not.
SAM: OK. Are you sure? I’ve been a passholder for a long time. There’s nothing you can do?
Staff: Yeaaah, I don’t think so. Sorry. The next set of prices, however, doesn’t expire until the end of September, so you’ve got some time.
SAM: Hmm, yeah. I guess.
(Silence…)
Staff: Anything else I can help you with?
SAM: Guess not.

RATING: 4
COMMENT: WELL, THAT WAS A DUD.

MOUNTAIN 5, AZ

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, well, we’re currently in the summer sale. The prices went up a little bit, but just a tiny little bit. $10, $20 maybe $30 tops. Unfortunately the spring rates are currently not available, but you can still lock in the summer rates, which will go up on August 8. Did you prepay the fee to lock in the spring rate, by any chance?
SAM: I didn’t. That’s the part I missed.
Staff: Gotcha. What pass were you interested in?
SAM: The standard adult full-time pass.
Staff: Well from $XX it actually only went up by $30. You can still either pay in full or you can pay $99 to lock into this price before it goes up to the full price. And with that lock-in down payment, you can complete your discounted payment by September 30. So it kind of extends that deadline a bit for you.
SAM: Right. So the spring price only went up by $30?
Staff: Correct. So now it’s available at $Y. So you have the two options to either lock in or pay in full.
SAM: Cool. What’s the deadline for those options?
Staff: For the price lock it is August 7, and the deadline to complete the purchase is September 30.
SAM: Great. Well, $30 isn’t bad. Thanks!

RATING: 7.5
COMMENT: GLAD SHE TOOK THE TIME TO EXPLAIN EVERYTHING IN DETAIL SO I WOULDN’T MISS IT AGAIN!

MOUNTAIN 6, ME

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: What kind of pass are you talking about?
SAM: Just the standard full-time adult pass.
Staff: Uh, the adult pass is currently at, ah, $XX, which is still the beginning rate, so if you can buy it before two weeks from now, that will be the best rate for the ski season. We can’t go back and honor previous rates, but that rate hasn’t actually changed, so you’re still getting the early bird rate.
SAM: Hmm, OK. That’s really the same rate from the spring?
Staff: Well, it isn’t the one that was back in March, but like I said, we can’t go back and back date now, anyway. So sorry. So um, the $XX is um, the middle release between the end of the season and what will be the summer rate. OK?
SAM: Sounds good, I guess. I’ll try to buy it in the next two weeks.
Staff: OK! Sorry about that! Thanks for calling.

RATING: 5
COMMENT: PATIENT AND NICE, BUT DETAILS ON WHERE TO BUY THE PASS WOULD HAVE BUMPED UP THE SCORE.

MOUNTAIN 7, VT

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Not the early rate. We have a different rate. It’s not the highest rate. It’s the middle rate. Which pass are you looking for?
SAM: Just the standard full-time adult pass.
Staff: It’s ah, $XX. And that’s available through October 15. (Silence…) SAM: Hmm, OK. So, like, I’ve been a passholder for years now, and I just accidently missed the deadline. There’s no way you can still give me the lower rate?
Staff: Nooo, not this late. If you had called a few days after it expired, then maybe, but that was way back in May. (Silence…)
SAM: OK then.

RATING: 2
COMMENT: I GET IT, BUT FEEL FREE TO ADD JUST A TOUCH OF UNDERSTANDING AND SYMPATHY. I PAY YOUR WAGE, AFTER ALL.

MOUNTAIN 8, CA

First contact: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Actually, the price hasn’t changed since the spring! What has changed is the extra benefits we offered as an incentive to buy early, where now those ticket benefits have gone away since that spring deadline, but that’s it!
SAM: Oh, OK. So that $XX price is still valid?
Staff: Right, for the X pass, that’s correct!
SAM: Cool. And is there a deadline on that price?
Staff: Ahhh, yes, it will go up. Traditionally around Labor Day, or right after, but we’re never given a firm date of when they may go up. So it’s always best to renew as early as possible.
SAM: Oh, OK. Well, I’m glad I called to check. Those incentives are nice, but it’s not the end of the world.
Staff: Correct. You still get those benefits that give you a 15 percent discount on those extra tickets, it’s just not as good as that same offer was back in the spring.
SAM: Gotcha. Was the original benefit that those tickets were free?
Staff: Well, it was just a much higher discount, at almost 40 percent off each ticket.
SAM: No worries. Well, thanks for your help. I’ll make sure I hurry up and buy the pass. Great to hear the price is the same.
Staff: Exactly! And you can do that all online, and you’ll be all set. You’ll see links to the season pass page where you can purchase it.

RATING: 9
COMMENT: SHORT AND SWEET; A GOOD ATTITUDE AND SOME EXTRA DETAILS CAN GO A LONG WAY. AND GOOD TO KNOW I STILL GET SOME OF THE EARLY-DEADLINE BENEFITS.
IDENTITY REVEALED: NORTHSTAR CALIFORNIA 

Mountain 9, OR

First contact: Automated machine.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Nooo, we’re not able to. They’re still on sale at the discount rate, just the benefits went away for discounted friend tickets.
SAM: Oh, OK. But I can still do the down payment plan?
Staff: No, the payment plan is over as well, so the pass is just for sale in full, but it’s still the same discounted price as this spring. I’m hearing we might be bringing a payment plan back, which will probably start around September, but right now they’re just for sale in full.
SAM: OK. Is the price going to go up in September?
Staff: No, um, well it will stay at $XX price until November 9, and then it will go up to the full price.
SAM: OK, so even though I’ve been a loyal pass holder for a few years now, there’s nothing you can do to honor that spring price?
Staff: Yeah, I definitely apologize, just because it’s so far past the deadline. It’s just not a product anymore. But our payment plan will be reinstated in September, if that’s something that will help you.
SAM: OK, thanks. Just thought I would ask.

RATING: 7
COMMENT: GAVE ME ALL THE CHOICES FOR WHAT’S TO COME, WHICH IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED.

Mountain 10, VT

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator. Transferred to season pass office.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: I cannot. That was four months ago.
SAM: Oh. OK. So it ended in April?
Staff: Yea it was April 30.
SAM: How much has it gone up since then?
Staff: Which pass were you looking at?
SAM: Just a standard adult pass.
Staff: No blackouts?
SAM: Right.
Staff: It went up $XX.
SAM: So there’s nothing you can do? I’ve been a loyal pass holder since like, forever. There’s nothing you can do to honor that discount?
Staff: No. I mean, I offered it to people who called in May, but this many months later, I can’t do that. (Silence…)
SAM: Well, hmm, I guess I have no choice.
Staff: OK. Sorry about that. Bye.

RATING: 4
COMMENT: NO CHOICE, AND NOT MUCH PERSONALITY, EITHER.

Mountain 11, CA

First contact: Automated machine. Chose season passes.
Answering phone: MALE OR FEMALE? ANIMAL, MINERAL, OR VEGETABLE?
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Sorry, I apologize, but that deal is long gone. It expired on June 1, but there’s only been a $20 increase since then.
SAM: Hmm, OK. Well twenty bucks isn’t too tragic.
Staff: Right?! Not too bad.
SAM: Agreed. Is there an expiration date on that price?
Staff: Yes. So October 31 it will go up again. 
SAM: Sounds good. I’ll get on it. Thanks!

RATING: 7
COMMENT: WELL HANDLED. LEFT NO DOUBT ABOUT THE PRICE, BUT TOOK THE STING OUT OF THE SMALL INCREASE. A WEBSITE MENTION WILL ALWAYS EARN YOU BONUS POINTS, HOWEVER. 

Mountain 12, CO

First contact: Automated machine. Chose guest services. 
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question. 
Staff: Um, the best rate of the season is currently available online, so if you go there you’ll probably find what you’re looking for!
SAM: OK, but wasn’t it much cheaper in the spring?
Staff: Um, let me tell you, one second … the X pass is $XX at the moment, so it has not gone up yet.
SAM: Fantastic. Is there an expiration date for that price?
Staff: We honestly don’t know that yet, as it all depends on pass sales and that sort of thing, but I would suggest the sooner the better.
SAM: Well, OK then. Thanks.

RATING: 7
COMMENT: TOOK A SECOND TO MAKE SURE HER INFORMATION WAS CORRECT. THAT’S ALWAYS APPRECIATED.

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