So much of what you read about ski industry-related digital tools is directly transactional with the skiers, riders, mountain bikers, and others. And this is as it should be. The multi-touch points the ski area has with its customers are many and making that easier for the customers is logical and sound business. The ultimate goal of digital tools is to meet customer expectations and higher levels of customer satisfaction.
While much of the focus is on transactional digital tools, there are many other digital tools that maybe don’t interact with the customer but have a significant impact on customer expectations and satisfaction. Many of these tools improve a ski area’s communication and workflow.
An attribute I’d want to have in a digital tool is how it aids in providing information to the staff. This attribute is based on the overused cliché that information is power – couldn’t think of a better phrase to make the point. Ski areas have a somewhat unique challenge in that most ski areas are the cumulation of many different businesses with different digital tool requirements. Although skiers, riders, mountain bikers, and other users don’t separate the businesses and think of the ski area as one entity. If one or two of the different businesses within the ski area falter most likely the customer image is the ski area is faltering. From my experience, most hiccups are the result of faulty communications or lack of information. From faulty postings on a website, to not enough staff to operate a lift or unexplained lift closers are prime examples. All these situations could have been resolved through open engagement with staff, across-area communications, and the distribution of clear details of events.
I can hear the comments claiming that this is a stretch to relate these incidents to the use of digital tools. I fully expect such comments. However, I firmly believe that more information that can be shared with the staff can bring all staff to be more engaged, which means that if a lifty cannot make it in he/she will reach out to find a replacement or at least notify his/her supervisor well in advance of opening time. If a clear process for updating a website is in place with proofing by the author, website mistakes will not happen. When a lift goes down, as they will, clear communication as to why with a reasonable explanation will alleviate customer negative reactions.
Steep Management represents digital tools that have very specific attributes that ski areas’ mountain operations seek, but the underlying benefit, the advantage, of these tools is that they each generate pools of useful information that can be easily shared and dispatched to those who need to know. Information is power. Having information enables everyone on the hill to make better decisions and provide a better experience for customers.
No matter which digital you choose make sure that the capability exists to dispatch information that people need and the ability to manage and analyze the information for better decisions.
OK, I’ll ask you how long have you sat on hold via an automated customer support service or tried to resolve an issue with someone who is not able to communicate clearly? Is this meeting expectations or raising the bar on customer satisfaction? I am sure that the decision to install these systems or employ a third party was with the intention of meeting customer expectations and advancing customer experience.