Customer Service Excellence: Horseshoe Valley Resort

11718515_sAm I nuts or are our customer service expectations a little out of whack?

Whether it be hotels, restaurants, or the corner drug store it seems the one thing that guarantees returning business has been dropped. It’s like it isn’t even expected anymore and we all seem to be adjusting, no questions asked. Maybe it’s not even intentional, sometimes more than not; we are met with no personality at all, just pushing people through the money machine as fast as they can because actual engaging could slow up the line.

I have essentially been in customer service since I was fifteen years old. Through my teenage years you can bet there were times behind the cash when I was less than enthusiastic to be there. I’ve been guilty of judging customers, feeling put out or producing a heavy sigh now and then. Let’s face it, people can be super annoying and we at times can be completely self absorbed. So I get the teen with the part time job who would rather be anywhere else but working, but it doesn’t mean its okay.

I hate to sound so negative but we’re now at a point if we are given good customer service we are actually astounded.

Case in point, we just took a trip to Barrie, Ontario for a hockey tournament. One of the group activities off the ice was to go tubing at Horseshoe Valley Resort.  We got to the front desk to get our tickets and were met with warm greetings and instant service. Without being asked they directed us to the tubing hills and told us what to expect.

What I expected was to ride up with 15 overly hyper kids, to be met by three or four annoyed teenagers whose job it was to let us know when the track was clear with a slight nod from their expressionless heads.

What we got were enthusiastic teenage boys who stood all weekend at the top of a tubing hill in freezing temperatures, pulling and spinning hundreds of pounds of people down a hill on a tube. It’s tough work. It would be easy to be moody; especially when you have an entire hockey team of sugar filled ten years olds yelling orders at you. But, they laughed, smiled and accommodated us for two hours and not once did I see an eye roll or a bad attitude.

“Hey guys, why you don’t try going backwards in a train?”

“Do want to go fast, faster or warp speed?”

“Big spin, little spin or no spin?”

Every. Time. For two hours.

Their manager was never too far away. He was involved, engaged and probably worked harder than the kids. He acknowledged you, laughed with your kids, yet his eyes and ears were open and throughout our time he helped and chatted with many people. The bottom line, he led by example and it was working.

We were so impressed we went back the next day. The kids went tubing and I decide to rent some shoeshoes and give it a try. Again we were greeted with enthusiasm. I had never snowshoed before so there was a level of anxiety around doing something new. Before I even got to a trail I had one person stop me to put them on properly (because I’m an idiot). Then a few more directed me to the trails, suggest scenic routes and generally made me feel welcome. It was a great experience.

I want to go back and try the cross-country trails and spa. The kids want to go skiing and tubing and to spend the night in the hotel. In the summer there’s golf, biking, zip lining and an adventure park.

You see how customer service works?

So in honour of spectacular customer service I thought I would write a blog, but then I thought why not write about every good customer service experience I come across? Maybe it could generate a little cosmic movement. So I’m dedicating a column to outstanding customer service. I mean the stuff that really stands out. I’m putting it where my book reviews used to be because let’s face it; it has taken a nose dive.

So if you have had a recent (or not so recent) great customer service experience, let me know in the comments, maybe I’ll take a visit (if it’s close) and add them to the list. And if you get a chance to check out Horseshoe Valley you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t believe me check out the many positive reviews here.

They’re doing something right.

The Bachelor Canada (Muffs & Pucks Edition)

This Fall The Bachelor is coming to Canada. I have to admit, I’ve never been a fan. Although, I really can’t say I’m not a fan because I’ve never watched more than a few episodes. There‘s just something about women competing for one man that just drives me bat ass crazy. I don’t get it. If he didn’t pick me up front, right out of the limo, there isn’t a chance in hell I’m sticking around to see the end.

Not up in here, stud.


Now I don’t want to make any enemies with the regulars. I’m not judging and I can’t very well take a moral high ground; being the biggest Big Brother fan ever really leaves me no room for criticism. But even though I have already determined this isn’t for me, I can’t help but think how the Canadian version will compare with its counterpart in the United States.

I can’t imagine it going over very well unless this guy is sporting some serious hockey hair and has a signed contract from the NHL in his back pocket.

Canadians aren’t exactly known for their cunning, conniving ways. How interesting will it be to tune in to a bunch of Canadian women hanging out in their Uggs and pyjama bottoms, drinking Double Doubles (that’s coffee, for the U.S. readers) while politely discussing who should be the lucky one to get a private date?

“Oh, no, you should really be the one to go, you haven’t gone yet.”

“No, I think he really likes you.”

“No, you go.”

“You really should go.”

“No, you go.”

“But I’ve already had time with him.”

“You’re so sweet, but I totally see you two together.”

“You’re so pretty.”

“I love your hair.”


Even more entertaining will be watching these snow bunnies be stripped of their Lulu Lemon and poured into some Spanks and high heels. It makes me wonder what the criteria could possibly be to be cast in this spectacle.

  1. Must love hockey.
  2. Must understand and prove she knows the rules to hockey.
  3. Must support boyfriend who plays hockey.
  4. Must love to watch hockey…Constantly.
  5. Must be prepared to put manners aside and act like a complete fool for the sake of ratings.

Wouldn’t it be fun if the rose ceremony was in a pub with beer and wings instead of wine and tapas? Also, for promotional purposes all the girls could wear Roots sweatpants with their first names spelled out across their asses.

Although I’m not holding out for a Canadian ratings winner here, I do think we could pull ahead from the U.S. version in one distinct way. Let’s face it, there hasn’t been a whole lot of romantic success for the “winning” couples from past shows, however I truly feel the couple of The Bachelor Canada will be together forever, if only because they don’t want to hurt the others feelings.

But, just for shits and giggles, if you want to try out for the Canadian cat fight I’ve put a link to the site here. At the very least you could score box seats to an NHL game on one of the dates; the stuff Canadian girls’ dreams are made of.