Crested Butte holiday stay spotlights customer service peaks, valleys, continued
Kudos and Kudon’ts of 4 days in a glorious natural setting
Part 4, Exploring: Events & Attractions
Crested Butte is a treasure. As a Denver native, I don’t know why I waited this long to explore it. Expecting a long, winding climb through thickly-forested pathways from Gunnison to 9,000 feet elevation, I was very pleasantly surprised at an easily-navigated road that shows an expansive, open valley. It certainly didn’t fit my stereotypical drive to that height.
We settled into a comfortable, doable exploration plan that included a drive on the less-traveled roads, checking out the Main Street weekend craft fair, and discovering the treasures at the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum.
The drive was scenic and sane. Nobody barreling down the road, acting distracted, or stupid. It was just a nice sightseeing tour. (I’m told that some of the best aspen viewing anywhere is on the road leading away from the ski area on the road less traveled versus the main road back to Gunnison.)
As for the craft fair, there were local vendors mixed in with the traveling troupes. While we purchased a couple items, this was mostly a “window shopping” experience. I was struck by the uncongested nature of both traffic and fair pedestrians. It could have been decades ago, when crowds and congestion were manageable—enough people to give the event life, but not so many as to make it a drudgery. Kudos for Crested Butte!
No big kudon’ts here, except for a vendor from whom I purchased one item. When I asked if she took credit cards, she acknowledged that she did—and that she would charge extra to use one. Strike 1. (I’m a strong believer in building the cost into the price or just eating it as a cost of doing business. I get the reason; I just believe that sellers likely lose business because of this. Wouldn’t you rather have 97% of something than 100% of zero?)
Anyway, she talked about charging 9% percent extra. When I asked why, she said something about 3% for the credit card company, and then mentioned needing to pay the show sponsor 10%. So, I’m paying in part for two parts of her cost of business? (What it also implied was that she wasn’t necessarily declaring cash to the sponsor as part of her sales, whereas she had to with credit cards.) Strike 2.
The only reason we didn’t get to Strike 3, you’re out was because I had cash and the items were well priced. In most cases, however, I would have walked. (She easily could have charged a bit more to cover her costs and I wouldn’t have squawked.) Sometimes, presentation is everything when it comes to customer service.
The best “retail” treasure turned out to the Museum. The real treasures were the two women running the place, who were knowledgeable and delightful. Nancy and I ended up engaged in a lengthy conversation about Crested Butte’s history and roots, famous people and places, the coming specter of corporate gentrification, and the like. Kudos all around!
We wound up buying a bunch of commemorative pint glasses for a ridiculously low price, and they didn’t charge extra for our credit cards!
Takeaways from our exploration:
- Sincerity sells and is one of the best forms of customer service. The refreshing, heartfelt dialogue and no-pressure approach at the Museum just made it easy and natural to buy desired items. And, of course, the low price didn’t hurt!
- Just engage with and “enroll” people instead of appearing driven to sell. In many cases, it will result in sales made in the present, and relationships built for the future.
Overall score on a scale of 1 (lowest)-10 (highest) for Exploring Crested Butte: 9.0.
Mark Lusky is a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience. He is the author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage. AKA The Happy Curmudgeon, Mark is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm celebrating 36 years in business in 2018.