Saturday, July 25, 2009

Truly Exceptional Service

We boast about exceptional service - door to door pickups, flexibility, information galore - in our Mission Statement but today we had a truly amazing example. And it was QUITE collaborative!

3:45 PMm, Saturday afternoon. Horrendous traffic throughout the area.

Jay was asked by his guest from the Silver Cloud if he knew where she could rent a wheelchair in town. He called the office. Nicole called several obvious candidates downtown but could not find anyone. I then TWITTERED the question and Ann Peavey (@SeattleMaven) at the Seattle Visitor's Center responded immediately to inform me about Access Medical Equipment. Nicole called them. They would be closing in 15 minutes, and not open again until Monday. AND they were north of Green Lake.

"No Problem!" we collectively thought.

Mark M. had just finished up another example of exceptional service by taking eight folks from the Westin up to Boeing to catch up with Andree's tour (he did this after shuttling his and another driver's guests from downtown to SeaTac after his 10 AM tour). He was on I-5 approaching Wallingford and swung over to 76th and Aurora to grab the wheelchair just as they were locking the door. He took it to Silver Cloud on Broadway; Jay charged the people at the Locks the cost of the rental.

We make it look too easy! Thank you to EVERYONE who was involved in this effort. You were generous, compassionate, energetic, and creative! Imagine the impression our company made on the guests (including others on Jay's tour), and the Silver Cloud Hotel staff.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Safe Driving

One of our chief concerns is that we provide our guests with a safe touring experience. Safety in terms of equipment and driving habits are continually discussed and worked on at Tours Northwest. We all watch safety videos each year, and we discuss practices and conditions throughout each tour day.

This year we have made an effort to clearly label all of our coaches with our new logo and telephone number. I would not say we are getting more calls, but be aware that we do get calls about driving while you are out there doing your job. We try to bring these to your attention when they happen, but its not always clear which coach was involved, and on occasion complaints are simply and clearly not valid. All are listened to, and gratitude sincerely expressed to the caller. Some are more serious than others. Lane issues - cutting off, not letting in, not signalling - are very difficult to determine what exactly happened. Complaints about speeding downtown or not yielding to pedestrians are taken very seriously, often because they come from our friends in the downtown core (e.g. our referral sources).

We try to keep a record of these calls/contacts so that we know of a pattern of behavior. One incident may not mean much; several incidents raises a red flag and will be dealt with.

This is a matter of safety AND a matter of public relations. You are representing the company; you often have a coach full of guests who are watching also.

Be Safe! Drive Defensively! Be courteous and conspicuously conscientious!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Historical Importance of the 4th of July!


Possibly stemming from a sense of patriotism, the Fourth of July is noted for many significant events in Washington history. On that date in 1889, Joseph Pearsall staked the first mining claim in Monte Cristo, which led to a brief boom for the mountain community. On July 4, 1915, Bill Boeing reportedly took his first airplane ride. That same day, Samuel Hill dedicated the Pacific Highway at Blaine. Exactly three years later, Hill was on hand to help dedicate the Stonehenge replica at Maryhill.

Seattle alone has its share of noteworthy Independence Day events. In 1854, it was the day Lake Union and Lake Washington were named, and on July 4, 1914, the Smith Tower was dedicated. Exactly three years later the first ship passed through the Lake Washington Ship Canal. And on July 4, 1965, Ivar Haglund launched the first Ivar's Fourth of July fireworks show, an annual extravaganza until this year, when it was discontinued.

Most Fourth of July events have been celebratory, but a few grim ones are worth noting. One hundred and twenty years ago, Ellensburg suffered a major fire that destroyed 200 homes and 10 business blocks, and the nineteenth century's last Fourth of July included a horrific tragedy in Tacoma. This year, wishes you a holiday both happy and safe.