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Jim Clark: Personal interactions make all the difference

Jim Clark
Courtesy Photo

A few Saturdays ago I took the dog for a training hike up the Mad Creek trail (I’m not sure who’s in training, me or the dog). It was busy in the parking lot, and lots of people and dogs were on the trail.

As we neared the Mad Creek Barn, I saw some lost-looking folks with nametags on. As it turns out, they weren’t lost at all, but meeting another group coming up from the Red Dirt trailhead. Engaging in conversation, I discovered they were visiting with the National Rock Garden Society Annual Meeting.

Through the next hour, I had a fascinating experience learning about the many varieties of wildflowers on the trail and the geology of the area. This also was an international gathering, as I met people from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland on the hike. Of all the chance encounters I’ve had on trails, this was one of the most pleasant surprises. I’d forgotten that this meeting, hosted by the Yampa River Botanic Park, was in town.



A few days later, I went to City Market to pick up a few things for the kitchen. Standing at the checkout line, the grocery bagger looked at me and asked my name. As I told him, he recognized me, what I do for a living and gave me a wonderful compliment. I had a warm feeling all the way home.

During the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, I stood in the Meadows Parking Lot on Saturday and collected donations for the event. It’s a free event, so every little bit helps keep it going. Many people, including locals, thanked me for putting such a great event on for the community to enjoy.



When we interact with a business or service, what do we remember the most? Certainly, in a hotel, I remember if the bed was comfortable or the room was clean. But more than anything, I remember the interactions I have with people. These are the make-or-break moments that determine whether I come back or whether I recommend that place, product, restaurant or other experience to others.

You know that, here at the Chamber, we have followed the lead of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. in working to improve our Net Promoter Score as a community, the measure that tells us if a visitor is likely to recommend us to their friends and family.

But visitors are only part of the equation. How we interact with everyone — visitors, residents, customers or vendors — is an important part of the overall experience we create for each other. Many of you probably know the person I mentioned at City Market. His name is Bill, and his attitude is contagious. You also may know Bob and Audrey Enever, founders of the Yampa Valley Botanic Park. Hosting the National Rock Garden Society meeting represents the hospitality we’re known for.

If your organization or business is interested in learning more about our Service Excellence program, let us know. One personal interaction can make all the difference in the world to a customer, a coworker or a business relationship.

My personal thanks to those who take the time and effort to everyone who makes the experience here better for all of us, visitors and residents alike.

Jim Clark is CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.


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