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July 30, 2014

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Originally published: 2014-03-08 16:01:52
Last modified: 2014-03-08 16:06:14

Rock Solid Hometown Hospitality

Blowing Rock is known as a great place to visit, live and work and town employees are striving to make it even better by focusing on customer service.

As directed by the Blowing Rock Town Council, the town has embarked on an initiative to improve customer service and teamwork in all town activities.

The program is gaining momentum, as town employees embrace and build on the concept more and more every day, according to Blowing Rock officials.

Modeled after successful customer service initiatives in other communities, the program has been built specifically for Blowing Rock by its employees based on stakeholder input, officials said.

“From the start, the staff understood it was important for the community to be involved for the effort to work and grow. Focus groups made up of citizens, nonprofits and the business community were invited to share their experiences. While some opportunities for improvement were identified, many compliments on staff friendliness and examples of professionalism were given, as well. Input included comments such as, ‘Everyone is friendly and always there to help,’ ‘Very professional — quick to respond,’ ‘Every department (from the office staff to the sanitation crew) are helpful and friendly always,’” officials said.
 
Citizen input cited examples such as the police department checking on the elderly; getting someone by phone that answers questions with a friendly attitude and public works helping with frozen pipes at night.

Blowing Rock’s employees used this input from the community, as well as needs identified by town staff, to develop a better understanding of what excellent customer service should look like in Blowing Rock, officials said.

The employees saw hometown service as expressing the initiative’s goal and adopted it into the program’s slogan, “Rock Solid Hometown Hospitality,” capturing what is unique and special about the Blowing Rock community, they said.

“You may see town staff proudly displaying this slogan on their shirts around town. From there, each town employee attended a Rock Solid Hometown Hospitality workshop. Additional meetings are ongoing, and employees are kept in the loop with a bimonthly employee newsletter focusing on service and teamwork. A recognition process, based on delivering great service, has also been established, according to officials.

Each year, an employee or employees will be selected from town staff to receive the Service Excellence Award presented at the town’s annual employee Christmas reception.

This year’s award was presented to Barry Ford of public works and Deyton Turpin of the police department .

Ford has served the town for more than 23 years and Turpin has been with the town for more than one year, showing how new and veteran employees believe strongly in the program and are displaying excellence in service every day, officials said.

All town of Blowing Rock employees are committed to taking customer service to the next level and this commitment is showing, according to the town.

Staff members have collaborated on a series of Service days, coming together to clean up the town in May and June targeting Main Street, making it “pop” for visitors and Woodlawn Cemetery, taking on a large cleanup project to show that the employees really care and take pride in the town, they said.

These projects also underscore the value of a strong partnership between town staff and the citizens of Blowing Rock, which is a real key for the program’s success, officials said.

Quarterly Customer Appreciation days sponsored by each individual department will be coming soon, with the first day to be March 11, in the hour preceding the 5 p.m. regular town council meeting.

Citizens and visitors of the town are invited on this day to stop by town hall and allow a department of the town to show their appreciation to patrons of Blowing Rock.

The Service Excellence initiative will continue to grow under the guidance of Blowing Rock’s new town manager, Scott Fogleman. He believes very strongly in this program and is proud of all that has been accomplished already, officials said. The staff is looking forward to working with Fogleman and his leadership, as both an employee and new resident of Blowing Rock.

The town of Blowing Rock welcomes and encourages ongoing community input to serve more effectively, officials said. Feedback and suggestions for continuing to grow and improve the new customer service initiative are encouraged.

Comment cards and drop boxes are located at town hall, the police department, recreation center, visitor center and fire station.
 
Area residents and visitors may also find a “Comment” link on the town’s website ( http://www.townofblowingrock.com/) or email their comments to (townofbr@bellsouth.net)
“Let them know what you think about how they can continue improving Rock Solid Hometown Hospitality,” officials said.

 - From the town of Blowing Rock


 
For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.


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