Service industry professionals stand out for their approach to customer service
One Breckenridge’s latest round of service awards are in, with award winners that have stood out in one of the town’s most important industries — the service industry — through their personal approaches to customer service.
Several times each year, One Breckenridge, which is run by the Breckenridge Tourism Office, compiles nominations for service industry workers who exemplify certain standards, such as making a guest feel like Breckenridge is a “truly special place” or sparking up a conversation with a guest within 30 seconds of meeting them. For what One Breckenridge calls the value season — the period between Christmas and Presidents Day weekend — 16 individuals and one business were nominated for the awards.
Award winner Wallace Chambers, a ski technician at Alpine Sports, said his approach to customer service is to try to build relationships with people within minutes of meeting them. Chambers was nominated for giving friendly greetings at the door, his patience and making people feel welcome. Chambers said he has been working at Alpine Sports intermittently since 2018.
“In terms of interactions with people, the customer is not always right; they just need to leave feeling right. That’s pretty much my customer service motto,” Chambers said. “If a customer were to come in, for example, and say, ‘I always wear a size 10,’ I’m going to say, ‘Well, that may be true, but if you’re willing to do the system that we provide, we can guarantee that you’re going to get the best experience.”
When it comes to building relationships with customers, Chambers said it’s as simple as trying to make someone laugh or asking about their day. He joked that he’ll ask people random questions to find common ground or a conversation point, such as asking if they like bacon.
Chambers said that while he focuses on helping customers with their goal of renting skis, he tries to get them out of their heads and daily stresses at the same time through conversation. Chambers said customer service is often overcomplicated when it’s really just as simple as being yourself and treating people how you would want to be treated.
“Build that relationship, whether it’s 30 seconds or 15 minutes,” Chambers said. “You need to feel better leaving our interaction than when we started interacting. … (That) means I did something right.”
Chambers said he focuses on a glass-half-full mindset, and if a customer comes into the store in a bad mood, he can help by providing the products or services the customer is looking for as well as finding a way to connect with the customer.
Emma Lowecki works at the front desk at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center and was nominated for her “chipper mood” and optimistic mindset.
“Emma is determined to find the guest an answer, and if she doesn’t have the answer at her fingertips, Emma does the best she can to help any guest,” the nomination reads. “Emma has the ability to be hard-work(ing) and balance kindness with a passion for getting the job done.”
Lowecki moved to Summit County and started working at Beaver Run in December. Beaver Run is Lowecki’s first hotel gig, so she channels what she appreciates seeing in customer service into her work.
“When I go out, I love when someone’s really energetic and welcoming,” Lowecki said. “I feel like I’m one of the first faces that people see when they come to Beaver Run, so we have to start them off with a good start and leave them happy and make sure we can do the best we can to make their stay enjoyable.”
While Lowecki gets her fair share of guests who come in disgruntled due to travel delays or other issues, she said she tries to make them feel welcome and turn things around by asking what they’re excited to do while on their trip, getting the guest “pumped up” to be in Breckenridge.
“We do our best to address whatever situation may have happened, whether it’s with us or something that may have happened on their travel day, so I will definitely try to talk people down,” Lowecki said. “Oddly enough, it’s one of my favorite things, dealing with frustrated customers. I feel like I have a good approach to how I speak to people and can at least get them to a calmer manner, and then at that point, we do what we need to do to improve their stay or their experience overall.”
Lowecki said she also tries her best to prepare people for the limited capacities in Summit County, recommending guests make restaurant and ski reservations prior to arriving in Breckenridge. Lowecki said some people inevitably show up without ski reservations, so she works to find alternative activities and options.
Laura Hamilton, an employee at Giampietro Pasta and Pizzeria, was another service industry worker nominated for her customer service.
“Laura went above and beyond when I requested a curbside delivery so I didn’t have to navigate ice and snow on crutches,” the nomination reads.
“Laura is being recognized for Standard No. 2, (which is) in the first two minutes of our conversation, you feel like you just made a new friend, like you know a gal in Breckenridge,” Bill Wishowski, director of operations at the Breckenridge Tourism Office, said during the virtual awards ceremony for the service champions.
• Apollo Marquez, Apollo Schaffer, Will Farren, Gigi Citrin, Mike Peterson and Ozgood “Ozzie” Foelich, Breckenridge Ski Resort lift operations
• Emma Lowecki, Beaver Run Resort & Conference Cneter
• Laura Hamilton, Giampietro Pasta & Pizza
• Wallace Chambers, Alpine Sports
• Lisa Kanamu, Landen Oschner, Lauren Barends, Michael Sarges, Tracy VanAnderson, Tyler Oeschger and Nick Wilson, Breckenridge Recreation Center
• Ski Country Resorts
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