Having worked in shops and what not, I'd say the one thing I'd look for in a shop that I have never seen anywhere
would be a solid QC program in effect. One of the reasons why I no longer work in the industry is that I got very, very frustrated with the fact that no one was willing to take quality seriously. "Process control" is a foreign concept. Some customers get better treatment than others, all customers occasionally get lousy treatment due to poor implementation of best practices. True at every shop I've ever seen.
The other thing that would be nice to see (and something that some shops do quite well) would be a workflow organized so that all work is done in a short and reasonable timeframe like 24-48 hours, while enough warm bodies and machines are available during the day for "emergency/quick" jobs in order to please customers. This means the shop owner needs to delegate and usually means the shop needs to remain open after the retail store closes...but I've seen it done beautifully.
Keeping track of the individual preferences of each skier with a computer is a great idea, but the problem there is the bottleneck it proves to be upfront. Much like computerized rental/work forms, it works great until the morning when 25 new customers walk through the door. I think a clever person could put some hybrid system into effect there which could track skis/customers preferences and settings as a secondary administrative task in addition to the traditional workflow and greatly improve the customer experience.
The biggest issue: Very, very few customers can tell you why
they do or do not like a tune. A small difference in your process will ruin their day and you might not be able to determine exactly why without time consuming and frustrating trial and error, something both customer and shop hate. At the same time, trying to implement a one-size-fits-all process will make a third or more of your customers less than elated.
|Example: Beginner/intermediate skiers who get their skis waxed every time they go out....no matter if they ski one run or 3 hours....These folks complain to me about the high cost of skiing...duh.
Hmm. I wax my skis every time I go out even if I only ski a few runs. This is a widely accepted best practice. The key is that the shop should explain that best practice to the customer, admit that it is expensive/time consuming to have the shop do that sort of routine maintenance, and offer free clinics and low priced beginner supplies to get the customer involved in their maintenance experience. This is a winning situation all around, the customer learns more about the gear and when to get it serviced, the customer has more fun on the hill, and the shop sells an iron and builds a relationship.
(and Phil is right on about the back door. Nothing like a liquid tip.