Part of being a business owner and home educator is giving myself permission to take breaks, like escaping to the beach on occasion. There is, of course, great value to this, as I come back well-rested and refreshed, sometimes with new ideas for ways to serve my customers better. When I can experience the epitome of excellent customer service in the search for a much-needed break, all the better.
I first encountered Garison online. No, it wasn’t at any place sordid – no Ashley Madison dot com or match dot com-type places. I first became aware of Garison through Trip Advisor. Garison is the Customer Service Manager for The Winds Resort at Ocean Isle Beach, where Mary and I enjoyed a very relaxing weekend away this past weekend.
So, what made this guy stand out? Simply put, it was how he handled all reviews, both positive and negative. While Garison hasn’t been at The Winds very long (18 months or so), he made an effort to address reviews that predate the start of his tenure at the resort. Dealing with complaints from what a predecessor did takes some integrity, and I admire integrity. To reviews that end with, “I’m never coming back!” he replies with a smooth, “Even if you don’t stay with us, we hope you’ll come back to Ocean Isle Beach for your next vacation.” A 5-star review got a response of, “Navigating The Winds’ many pathways can indeed be challenging. (There’s a reason we hand out maps! <g> ).” There are winding paths around the property, so the maps are quite helpful. To another 5-star review, there was this comment, which I found amusing, given that it was overcast and lightly raining until the morning we had to leave: “I do apologize, however, that we failed to maintain sufficient control of the weather for you. I will speak with our staff about that and see if we can’t do better for your next visit.” Garison did more than just blow off the reviews with a “Thanks for staying with us and we look forward to seeing you again soon”; he took the time to read each and every review, and he went so far as to accept responsibility on behalf of the resort for things that truly were their fault or failing and using well-placed humor on issues that weren’t.
My daughter and I were already looking forward to the trip, but looking at the online reviews (interesting to note that there’s only been one bad review in the past year) and reading what people were saying, as well as Garison’s responses, just heightened our anticipation and made me want to meet this guy. As a business owner and one who wants to make sure every customer is happy (not just satisfied), I respect and admire that same quality in others in the customer service sector. Garison helped at check-in, and he was willing to let me get a picture with him. On top of that, he was extremely patient with Mary’s efforts to get a clear picture, even though it was time for him to go home for the rest of the weekend.
I have great respect and admiration for all that Garison has done as Customer Service Manager at The Winds – guest services, managing the staff (and giving them their due for good work), and also taking the time to deal with online comments. The pleasure Mary and I had as we enjoyed our mom/daughter weekend led us both to declare, “We’re definitely coming back here!” Garison and his top-notch staff sealed the deal on that.
When’s the last time you took a break from the hustle and bustle of your daily life? What did you do?