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Client Outreach after the Lesson

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

During the 2013/14 season myself and my colleagues at the Vail Resort ski schools have beens spending a considerable amount of time feeding content into the new EpicMix/Academy system where we recognize student skills progress and specific accomplishments with check marks and electronic "pins" that can be shared through social media.   It has been a fairly successful attempt to expand the Social Media EpicMix into the ski school.  As instructors our input is currently paper based, which with a large class can be a big pile of paper to manage ... being a mobile phone app developer I have often been asked "There should be an app for this!" 

 

I've started working on a more general approach to addressing the need of giving quality feedback that can be shared in a social media world.  That is how can all ski instructors improve communications with and engage their clients after the lesson is over.  I"m thinking of this where a mobile app that is with you on the snow meets a powerful Client Engagement System giving a ski instructor modern tools to keep track of the activities of the day and then keep in contact with their clients after the lesson is over.  Giving the client a richer experience and brining them back to the instructor for more lessons meaning more return points and request income!  

 

It is a simple vision but will take a lot of effort to do it right.  I'm looking for feedback from my fellow instructors on what they would like to see in this type of system.  You can learn a bit more at http://snocoach.com and register an email there so I can keep in contact.  I'll also follow any discussion generated here.  So let me know what you think ...

Thank you!

 

-- Andrew Halls

info@snocoach.com

post #2 of 27
Perspective from a client's view. I do a fair amount of lessons in a year. A Whistler trip that will typically be mostly lessons each day. A PC trip that will have a couple days of lessons.

What I'd like to see from a client perspective would be progress tracking app that would give me feedback on where I am on the lesson scale. What level of skier am I. Something I could show to instructors in Whistler, PC, DV and say "Here is where I am as a skier. Here's what I need to work on" so that my lessons are linked. DV instructor can pick up where Whistler instructor left off. And it would give any instructor a baseline for where I am as a skier.

A tradeoff in the portability vs. proprietary (to Vail school) would be branding the product the "Vail Ski School App" with ads in the client end, ads that might get me to go to Canyons for lessons vs DV when in Park City but ads that would generate revenue and direct advertising for Vail ski areas from the app.
post #3 of 27

Andrew, I can see myself using this app with my learners if you could add some movement analysis features: 

  • Upload a video to youtube and share the URL to your participant(s) via email
  • Attach feedback or notes in the email
  • Link to your availability calendar or ski school booking site (allow the instructor to save the URL somewhere in the settings since it'll be different for each ski school)
  • "Email reminder" feature to contact learners a few weeks after the lesson to book another one

 

I suppose I would imagine the app automating a lot of instructor admin - these features could be built in a way that the learners wouldn't need any app on their phones. Not sure how easy it would be to get Joe Average learners to download an app just to get skiing feedback. But Joe Average probably checks his email. 

post #4 of 27
Hey, Met, look up the Coach's Eye app.

The Epic Mix Academy tool Vail is using, we're told, is to become an app to reduce the paperwork.

One of the goals expressed to us is that the returning client will show up at lineup with Epic Mix open on the phone to show the supervisor what level lesson they should be in.
post #5 of 27
I can't wait until we can upload the client's report card and lose the stickers. Beyond that the level objective seem to lead towards teaching to the report card. It's like filling out a multiple choice questionnaire where the answers don't always fit.
post #6 of 27
This is the first season for EMA. They're already working on rewriting the task descriptions for next season.
post #7 of 27

Sounds like Vail Resorts has a great approach to teaching within its universe.  

Ski schools at resorts not owned by the same company need something similar.

 

PSIA, where are you on this?  It's something you could SELL.

post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

Andrew, I can see myself using this app with my learners if you could add some movement analysis features: 

  • Upload a video to youtube and share the URL to your participant(s) via email
  • Attach feedback or notes in the email
  • Link to your availability calendar or ski school booking site (allow the instructor to save the URL somewhere in the settings since it'll be different for each ski school)
  • "Email reminder" feature to contact learners a few weeks after the lesson to book another one

 

I suppose I would imagine the app automating a lot of instructor admin - these features could be built in a way that the learners wouldn't need any app on their phones. Not sure how easy it would be to get Joe Average learners to download an app just to get skiing feedback. But Joe Average probably checks his email. 

In the past I setup my own Instructor website/bog where I published Videos of students in my lessons, generated some info posts for clients, and linked to interesting resources ... I did get a few clients through those efforts but I found that it wasn't active enough to make it worth the effort.   The little action I did get, came through linking it with direct emails and Facebook activity generate the little interest I got.  Working on the hope that Google will bring the masses didn't work ;-) 

 

I'm really focusing on tools and processes that balance the effort/reward equation.  I wouldn't try to re-implement an app like  Coach's Eye App.  Which looks great.  But I would like to partner/integrate with tools like that so that when you did capture and analyze video with that app (or one like it)  That asset would find a link on the instructor's snocoach.com and it would be used in the outreach with emails.  Just as you described Metaphor_.  
 

Just to echo back what you said ... my vision for snocoach would be the video (and pictures, etc) could be upload through your snocoach website account, with a click of a button you associate it with a specific lesson, and another click of a button an email drip campaign would be initiated to your client.  The link to the video would be combined with the other details of the lesson captured with the app during the day.  So that the outreach campaign would consist of a notification email immediately would go out,   a few weeks later a reminder email will go out,   in the summer remember the great lesson we had email would go out,  in the fall lets book another lesson together email would go out.   Snocoach would manage the campaign and implement all the necessary anti spam good practices.  If the client clicks the never email me again, it would record that and stop the campaign.   I've communicated with clients and potential clients via Facebook posts and Tweets as well so other social media actions could be included in the engagement campaign. 


At this point the exact feature set is still on the white board easy change to respond to input such as this.  Thanks for thinking a bit about this and sharing  your ideas!

-- A

 

post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Sounds like Vail Resorts has a great approach to teaching within its universe.  

Ski schools at resorts not owned by the same company need something similar.

 

PSIA, where are you on this?  It's something you could SELL.

The  Instructors Handbook was developed over the years by Vail Resorts and they worked recently with PSIA to publish it so all instructors would have access to it ... the handbook is the basis for the levels, tasks and pins used in the EpicMix/Academy.  EpicMix makes all that visible to clients and their friends on the web so they can share it with social media, bring it to their next lesson for continuity, etc ...   Although there are issues such as the paper work wrangling  and its easy to fall in the trap of "teaching to the test", Ema pointed out,  I found that it has been generally well received.  I would be interested to hear if Instructors found that it increased there business, was the effort rewarding to you?

So in some sense the content side is already being sold by PSIA.  Are you suggesting that PSIA get involved in developing computer applications?

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Hey, Met, look up the Coach's Eye app.

The Epic Mix Academy tool Vail is using, we're told, is to become an app to reduce the paperwork.

One of the goals expressed to us is that the returning client will show up at lineup with Epic Mix open on the phone to show the supervisor what level lesson they should be in.

Hmmm I haven't seen Vail invest very much on internally facing systems, the stuff  used by ski instructors and supervisors for example ...  I have had clients come to kids group lessons and show me their EpicMix/Acadmey web page on their smart phone.  So they have already have achieved that part of the goal.    I'm going to follow up on this and see if the powers to be will tell me more.  Reduced paperwork wrangling during the day is an important part of the vision for SnoCoach.

post #11 of 27

If all instructors have NFC capable phones you could link it to the lift key card (assuming it is NFC)

post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post
 

If all instructors have NFC capable phones you could link it to the lift key card (assuming it is NFC)

Thanks ... Yes the Android version should use the NFC reader if available, also a barcode reader for those that are iPhone impaired (like me :-)  and paper tickets.  Why retype a clients email if you can just scan their pass and get it again.  Don't think there will be an interface to the resort's system so you will have to type it in the first time. 

post #13 of 27
The upside is the ability to plug a student in with any coach. It's also the down side.
post #14 of 27

Oh.  Got it.

post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

The upside is the ability to plug a student in with any coach. It's also the down side.

Yes, one of the hopeful expectations is that instructors who inappropriately use "you should go to the next level in your next lesson" in an attempt to encourage tipping will be discouraged from this behavior.
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahalls View Post

 I wouldn't try to re-implement an app like  Coach's Eye App.  Which looks great.  But I would like to partner/integrate with tools like that so that when you did capture and analyze video with that app (or one like it)  That asset would find a link on the instructor's snocoach.com and it would be used in the outreach with emails.  Just as you described Metaphor_.  

 

 

Coach's eye includes the ability to email the video and the analysis (marking up) to the client. It is necessary, of course, to obtain the client's information. The EMA process so far does not allow the instructor automatic access to the client's information.
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 

EMA ?  oh  EpicMix/Academy I thought you meant Emma ;-) ... yes the Vail Resorts POS and EpicMix/Academy systems are closed systems.   Would be nice if they had an open API so apps could integrate with them.  I don't think its in the cards for Vail Resorts to buy all their ski instructors smart phones so some kind of BYOD  (not bottle but  'D' as in device)  strategy with open api's has potential ... the api would be protected with  a modern credential system ... like how we can access our paystubs etc, now how we get into the scheduling system ... all would be cool.

 

After conversations with a few others about the realities of Social Media ... I pivoted on my idea a bit and don't see SnoCoach trying to recreate any successful platform but be a hub where the ski instructor can manage and feed their  Twitter feed, Yelp Reviews, Facebook Page, Youtube channel, EpicMix/Academy, EpicSki.com.  Also such sports coaching specialty applications as Coach's Eye.

post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 

I'm in the process of producing a series of blog posts at http://snocoach.com  the next one is about using email to reach out to your guests.

post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 

I've spent the last 9 months reaching out to other ski instructors and digging into the literature in developing client based business like career coaching and consulting services.  The results:

 

I've put together a free 10 point guide to help ski instructors improve their return rate and get more request bookings which will lead to a bigger bottom line. 

 

One Gem:  Many of our guests are under the misconception that we would rather be doing something else then ski and ride with them.  Make an effort to let your client know how much you like what your doing and it will open the doors to more effective engagement. 

I'm interested in your feedback on what instructors can do to build their business.

 

To receive the guild register at: http://snocoach.com/signup

 

Andrew Founder at SnoCoach.com 

post #20 of 27

If I can play devil's advocate for a moment...

 

From the standpoint of good will, client centered teaching, promotion, etc post lesson client outreach is an excellent idea. However, should something like this become a reality in any form, how much of it will turn into unpaid labor?    

post #21 of 27
I give clients my business card with my email and phone number printed on it and invite them to email me if they have any questions about what we did/what they should do. I try always to express my happiness about skiing and about skiing with them. I do not ask for their contact information, but promise to respond if they reach out to me.
post #22 of 27
E mail is a gteat way to invite past clients to return but IMO it is an even better way to invite friends to come out to visit.
post #23 of 27
My goal is to provide a lesson that will make them want to come for more. The card with email address is only to make that process easier if I've done my job.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Hey, Met, look up the Coach's Eye app.

The Epic Mix Academy tool Vail is using, we're told, is to become an app to reduce the paperwork.

One of the goals expressed to us is that the returning client will show up at lineup with Epic Mix open on the phone to show the supervisor what level lesson they should be in.

 

As a frequent offender (Breck lesson club member), the Academy is fun. I like that it lists the instructor's full name, so I can easily seek them out. Unfortunately it's also incredibly generic. I hope they add a lot more checkmarks, or even better, space for free-form comments. I notice that hop turns, which were listed last season for level 9, aren't on there anymore. But on the other hand, I'm apparently an ambassador of ski culture, so there's that ;-)

 

I don't even know what "using poles to stabilize upper body in off-piste/steep terrain" means. I picture leaning on a pole while trying to get my boot back in the binding ;-) Given that a skier might reasonably expect to spend a day or two at level 1, but a year or more at level 7 or 8, and definitionally forever at level 9, it would be nice to see a whole lot more checkboxes at the upper levels. Then again maybe the only people who typically take level 8 or 9 classes are the lesson club people? Husband and I had at least three instructors and supervisors vet us when we stood in the 9s lineup. The skepticism was understandable, but got a bit ridiculous. We had to start name-dropping who we've skied with to establish our bona fides. Ended up with Gary Beresford, who was a load of fun. But I got the strong feeling they were trying to stick us with a level 7 group, or at least wanted to send us out with an instructor who isn't supposed to teach 9s.

post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by bounceswoosh View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Hey, Met, look up the Coach's Eye app.

The Epic Mix Academy tool Vail is using, we're told, is to become an app to reduce the paperwork.

One of the goals expressed to us is that the returning client will show up at lineup with Epic Mix open on the phone to show the supervisor what level lesson they should be in.

 

As a frequent offender (Breck lesson club member), the Academy is fun. I like that it lists the instructor's full name, so I can easily seek them out. Unfortunately it's also incredibly generic. I hope they add a lot more checkmarks, or even better, space for free-form comments. I notice that hop turns, which were listed last season for level 9, aren't on there anymore. But on the other hand, I'm apparently an ambassador of ski culture, so there's that ;-)

 

I don't even know what "using poles to stabilize upper body in off-piste/steep terrain" means. I picture leaning on a pole while trying to get my boot back in the binding ;-) Given that a skier might reasonably expect to spend a day or two at level 1, but a year or more at level 7 or 8, and definitionally forever at level 9, it would be nice to see a whole lot more checkboxes at the upper levels. Then again maybe the only people who typically take level 8 or 9 classes are the lesson club people? Husband and I had at least three instructors and supervisors vet us when we stood in the 9s lineup. The skepticism was understandable, but got a bit ridiculous. We had to start name-dropping who we've skied with to establish our bona fides. Ended up with Gary Beresford, who was a load of fun. But I got the strong feeling they were trying to stick us with a level 7 group, or at least wanted to send us out with an instructor who isn't supposed to teach 9s.

 

Erp, quoting myself. I just ... I wish that the checkboxes lined up more clearly with what the instructors are teaching.

post #26 of 27
As you've noted, the list of accomplishments in the Epic Academy progress report has changed some. It's a work in progress and future adjustments are part of that work.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vindibona1 View Post
 

If I can play devil's advocate for a moment...

 

From the standpoint of good will, client centered teaching, promotion, etc post lesson client outreach is an excellent idea. However, should something like this become a reality in any form, how much of it will turn into unpaid labor?    


As a Ski Instructor there is a tension between being an employee and taking responsibility for your success.  For me personally if the extra effort is effective I will see higher return rates and more private bookings where I get paid more.  So the extra effort is rewarded. There is this same tension in any job that offers commissions and other variable compensations schemes.  I also know that at the highest levels of our profession the instructors are negotiating even higher compensation rates then what is offered to the typical instructor.  So there is some opportunity to build a business.  But because of the terms of the permits with the National Forests and all the fine print you sign away when you accept a lift pass, the Resorts, at least here in the US, have exclusive commercial rights on the mountain so we must work within their rules. 

Not everything I have tried has been worth the effort monetarily, so I'm constantly refining my own practices.  For example, I use to take a lot an effort to create videos for my guests.  I found that the return wasn't worth it.  I now only do that for guests where there is a strong likely hood that they will come back year over year.  Each of us will need to make our own tradeoffs.  

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