Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz has admitted in an open apology letter that the recent customer service experience for many guests is unacceptable and details how the company will address the issues going forward.
There were always going to be many unknowns going into this season, and Katz admits for all they got right, there are areas where they clearly fell short. The glaring example is their call centers. Long waits experienced by guests is a huge miss for a company that prides itself on being an out-front leader within the industry. Their system crumbled under a fourfold increase in call volume, and Katz takes personal responsibility for not ensuring they were better prepared.
- Related: Vail Resorts Blames Covid-19 for $153.8-Million Loss Last Quarter | Advanced Pass Product Sales Up 20% to More Than 1.4-Million Units
Read the full letter below, and what the company is doing to alleviate these issues:
Within the next few weeks, we will have successfully opened all 34 of our North American resorts from Whistler Blackcomb to Vail to Stowe. So many of our employees across Vail Resorts have spent countless hours helping to prepare for a re-imagined mountain experience this winter, with safety as our collective priority. We developed a new enterprise-wide reservation system to ensure you have the space needed to spread out and stay safe; we implemented extensive safety protocols, including strict face covering and physical distancing requirements; and we debuted free Epic Coverage pass protection to provide a peace of mind during times of great uncertainty.
But for all we got right, I would be remiss to ignore where we clearly fell short.
Weighing heavily on my mind is the frustration I have heard from too many pass holders and guests regarding their customer service experience with our call centers. If you are included amongst those who have been unable to reach a customer service agent for help, or encountered long call center or chat wait times, I want you to know we have heard you loud and clear. And we agree. It is unacceptable, and I personally apologize to you for your experience.
Due to the pandemic, we introduced a lot of changes this season — including pass credits, a reservation system and Epic Coverage — and our call center experienced a more than fourfold increase in the number of guests needing assistance. Despite doubling our staffing and introducing new online chat functionality and other features, our infrastructure was ultimately not designed to handle the volume. It is a huge miss on our part, especially for a company that tries to be an out-front leader within our industry. This is certainly not the fault of our call center agents, who have tried their best to provide great service under difficult circumstances. It is my fault for not ensuring we were better prepared.
Here’s what I want you to know moving forward.
We are on it. From implementing new back-end systems to leveraging demand forecasting, we are committed to upgrading our customer service operation so it meets the standard of our mission to deliver an Experience of a Lifetime to our guests. I wish I could say it will all improve overnight, but candidly, this is going to take some time to get up and running.
While we work on this transformation, I want to be transparent that our call center and chat wait times may continue to be longer than normal for the immediate future. Please bear with us, and know that our hardworking team of representatives will get to you as soon as they are able. We have also created several FAQ sites with quick answers to many questions related to reservations, Epic Coverage and resort safety.
There is no doubt that 2020 has been a uniquely challenging year, but the joy of skiing and riding in fresh mountain air and wide-open spaces remains unchanged. I speak on behalf of the entire Vail Resorts team when I say we are grateful for your continued patience, loyalty and support.
Wishing you all a safe holiday season and a happy New Year.
CEO of Vail Resorts