Tag Archives: customer retention

Ski School

I recently had a close friend who experienced extraordinary customer service and the lessons we could all learn from it are too great not to share:

Loyalty Factor

“Several weeks ago I visited a local ski resort with my three children.  I opted to sign my nine year old up for an alpine ski lesson on the last day to improve his seemingly ‘stuck’ form.  Upon delivering him, I requested they put him in a group where he could work on the transition from the pizza wedge to a parallel skier.  His lesson was two hours and when I went to pick him up, his instructor told me he had spent the day in the woods and explained what he “would have taught him”, but “today we just played.”

I was very upset.  I recognized the need for ski school to be fun, but felt they fell short of meeting any educational objectives.  Upon returning from our trip, I sent a note to the ski school director and touched on two points:

1. My disappointment that no instruction or advancing happened during my son’s lesson despite me explicitly stating my goals when dropping off.

2. My concerns about him being led in the woods, the risks, and the repercussions had he encountered a tree during these escapades.

I also requested a refund of the lesson fee I had paid.

Within just 24 hours I received a response acknowledging my e-mail, stating he was in the process of gathering information from his staff, and requesting a telephone call for the following day.  True to his word, I received a call from the ski school the director the following day.  He gathered clarifying information, expressed his disappointment that his school had failed in an attempt to meet our goals, and shared with me the changes he was implementing to prevent issues like this going forward.

Once the director acknowledged their short comings, he expressed that he believed the best response would be for them to ‘try again’ to meet my expressed objectives.  His resolution was to offer my son a private 1.5 hour lesson with a hand-picked instructor.

Here we are, back from the lesson and I am literally dazzled by how my frustrations were handled.  I am not in awe of their process and the transformation of my little skier in just 1.5 hours is remarkable.  More importantly, I am grateful that my feelings were heard.  It would have been very simple for the director to refund my fee.  Instead, he responded by offering a solution that was valued at almost 2 times the amount I originally spent.

His customer focus was perfection. He listened, he heard, he responded.  For him it wasn’t about the money earned or the money lost, it was about my happiness.  They met my goals, they made me happy, they earned a customer for life.  We can’t wait to go back!”


Loyalty Factor specializes in guiding leaders as they transition to Relationship Era marketing and seek to develop long-term relationships founded in trust.  To learn more about our programs and mentoring, visit www.loyaltyfactor.com or call 603.334.3401.



Dianne Durkin is president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a specialized consulting and training company that enhances employee, customer and brand loyalty for some of the nation’s most prominent corporations and many smaller businesses. Durkin has over 25 years experience in finance, direct sales, international marketing and training and development.

Dianne’s proven expertise lies in helping companies quickly get to the core issues and outlining their impact on the organization’s profits, productivity and people. She authored “The Loyalty Factor: Building Employee, Customer and Brand Loyalty,” and the newly released “The Power of Magnetic Leadership”.

Information Exchange: Customer Service is Never Ending. You’ve always got to prove yourself.

Welcome to the Loyalty Factor Information Exchange, a bi-weekly service providing summaries of major publications and books on various management and customer relationship topics. 

 Loyalty Factor has been instrumental in helping companies:

  • Increase Customer Satisfaction by 20 – 33%
  • Increase Revenues by 50% in 18 months
  • Increase Manufacturing Production by 200% in 18 months
  • Simplifying mergers and acquisitions

This weeks InfoExchange highlights some excerpts from an interview with Home Depot CEO Frank Blake, in the recent issue of Fortune Magazine.


The Oct 7, 2013 issue of Fortune Magazine had an interview with Frank Blake, the CEO of Home Depot.  Excerpts from the article are as follows:

In the last quarter Home Depot blew away the analyst estimates.  When asked about customer service, Blake responded, “It’s never ending. You’ve always got to prove yourself but, it starts by taking care of your associates.”

He says that as a company you have to show that you care about your people and that you have the people’s well-being at heart. This is precisely why even in the housing downturn, the company maintained salary increases, 401K match, and increased bonuses.  Once you show that the company cares, you can then provide training.  The training is focused on helping the associates answer customer questions.

Mr. Blake mostly talked about Home Depot’s core competencies.  He stated it is all about aligning around a few things.  With over 2000 stores and 40,000 associates, he claims it is the ability to very clearly define what the organization wants to do and have everyone align around that purpose.   It is about focus, focus, focus and concentrating on the things that really make a difference.  He stated “Today’s top focus is having as seamless an experience as possible for the consumer whether they are interacting online or in the store.”

Dianne Durkin of Loyalty Factor has a proven track record in guiding leaders through defining their corporate vision.  To schedule a personalized coaching session, contact Dianne today at 603.334.3401.