Chamber revamps Spirit pass program 

New video to teach good customer service

With a solid base of snow on local peaks and the annual Turkey Sale this weekend, most locals are already making the shift from summer to winter. For a lot of people that means buying a ski pass, and last year 4,300 locals bought discounted passes through the Whistler Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit Program.

Spirit passes go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 9 for $1,059 plus a $25 administration fee — more than $315 cheaper than the early bird price, and $680 less than the regular season pass price. You must be a member or employed by a member of the chamber for at least 20 hours a week to qualify for the pass, and attend a Spirit Program course.

Last year the chamber revamped the program into a workshop that focuses on customer service and supplying employees with general information on the resort and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

This year the program has been changed once again to emphasize proper customer service. This week a crew started filming a Whistler-specific customer service video that will be presented to employees at Spirit Program courses.

Employees who did not take the Spirit course last year must attend a workshop that includes a talk on mountain safety, a presentation on the Olympics, the new customer service film, and a discussion on customer service. The course was created to be fun and interactive for participants, and make use of the space at Millennium Place. The goal is to get everyone into a Spirit course by mid-January.

“The new film will focus on our new service philosophy, and what excellent customer service looks like,” said Julie Morris, the Whistler Service Strategy project manager for the Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve wanted to do our own film for a long time now. We’ve used old films on customer service and the fish market video from Seattle, but they aren’t as relevant. This year we bit the bullet to make it happen.”

Employees who took part in the level one Spirit course last year will be able to take the level two course this year. The level two course will be shorter, but will also include the video.

Employers who wish to purchase Spirit passes are required to attend a Spirit luncheon or breakfast with guest speaker Peter Burwash.

“Peter Burwash is an internationally renowned speaker on service, and we encourage every business owner, manager, and supervisor to come out because this is something they won’t want to miss,” said chamber president Louise Lundy. “There will also be an update on 2010 from the municipality, which is our first opportunity to speak as to what we’re doing for service in the village during the Olympics. We want businesses there to hear what the vision for service is going to be.”

According to Morris, the Spirit Program is also being incorporated into a larger resort service strategy to improve the overall level of customer service before the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Also new is a plan to recognize employees who provide exceptional customer service.

Employees will be able to purchase Spirit passes at Guest Relations on Oct. 9. Guest Relations will be closed from Oct. 10 to Oct. 28, but employees will still be able to buy passes by phone at 1-800-766-0449.

Once a pass is purchased employees are responsible for signing up for a Spirit course at www.whistlerchamber.com

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