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Customer Service

April 3, 2014

We’re betting Mammoth Mountain Ski Area employees learned a lot this week.

It’s the same lesson a lot of people in Washington D.C. learned this year with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

That is, when you’re going to throw a good deal someone’s way, and it’s with an online transaction, you’d better add plenty of muscle to the back end if you want to avoid a Noah Moment.

Floods, whether in fact or in technology, aren’t any fun, even if everything turns out well in the end.

So it was on “MVP Monday.”

It was the first time the mountain offered a credit to most MMSA properties to MVP passholders who renewed their passes on Monday, March 31.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, $200 in credit is quite a bit of money, we think.

We were up early Monday morning, waiting at our computer to renew our passes.

We even made sure we had our login, password, and credit card information ready to go, anticipating the rush of people flooding the website to be one of the first to get the $200.

At 8 a.m. we refreshed the page, clicked on the “Buy now” button, and went through the process.

Mammoth Mountain Pass? Check. Tamarack pass? Check. Mountain biking pass? Check. Donation to Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation? Check.

Credit for $200? Check.

After only 12 minutes, we were done.

Unfortunately, our experience was unique.

At 10:15 a.m. on Monday, we received some emails.

One email read: “I am certain you will do a follow up story to this MESS of a situation with the early morning ‘secret’ MVP passes. I have been on hold for over two hours without success. This is worse than Obamacare. (ObamaDON’Tcare) and it seems like MMSA is in the same boat. Why offer something if your website and phone operators can’t handle it?”

It was not a good morning for whoever handles MMSA’s Facebook account, either.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people posted their disgruntles at MMSA for the website crashing, clogged phone lines, and not being able to renew in person.

One person commented: “I felt like I was in 1990 trying to buy Nirvana tickets over the phone.”

The mountain received an estimated 7,000 voicemail messages.

We might not know all the details to how the Mountain went about fixing everything, but one thing is for certain: it nailed it in terms of customer service.

After realizing that the website could not handle the amount of visitors, MMSA officials decided to increase the limit of $200 credits offered.

They also decided to accept in-person renewals for those who live locally, and despite waiting 45 minutes in a line, those who renewed their pass face-to-face also received the $200 credit.

Facebook posts were replied to (even the nasty ones), and slowly, mountain employees were returning calls left by frustrated customers.

We have a pretty good hunch that those who complained received the $200 and are (or at least should be) quite happy, despite the frustrating morning.

Although we do believe Mountain officials should have been prepared to take the volume of visitors to their site (shame on them), we can’t help but commend them for stepping it up and providing something we don’t see as much as we should in a small, resort town: excellent customer service.

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