Key to successful business is quality customer service

Key to successful business is quality customer service

Key to successful business is quality customer service
by Jesse Campbell, Staff Reporter

Jefferson Post Ashe

The key to running any successful small business may rest upon the cornerstones of diligence and providing quality customer service, which has become the foundation of prosperity for 4 Seasons Vacation Rentals.

According to owner Sherrie Matthews, 4 Seasons is a property management company that focuses on maintaining and repairing approximately 55 vacation rental cabins across Ashe County. These cozy cabins, nestled picturesquely on rugged Appalachian hillsides overlooking the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains NC, serve as second homes for residents who have homes ?off the mountain?. Most of these second home owners are unable to return to their cabins regularly to make necessary repairs and that is where the services of 4 Seasons come into play.

The property management experts at the Jefferson based company use their skills in marketing and networking to allocate vendors who can provide staining, plumbing, cleaning, lawn care, and general home repair services to these primarily vacant homes.

The purpose in maintaining these seasonal dwellings rests in the fact that many of these vacation homes are also used as completely furnished rental homes for tourists. Basically, Matthews acts on the behalf of the owners to keep the homes maintained and rented out to tourists.

?It?s also a good local connection that the home owners can rely on,? Matthews said.

Having the capacity to rent out the homes can be tremendously advantageous for the home?s owners, Matthews explained. For one, home owners can use the money they incur from rentals to offset the expenses of maintaining a second home. Some second home owners have yet to make a mortgage payment on their vacation home, Matthews said, all because they have been able to use the money they have accumulated from renting to offset other costs.

Even during tough economic times when many merchants have noted a noticeable drop in the county?s tourist industry has 4 Seasons Rentals succumbed from the weight of a sagging economy. The numbers from this past November and December, for example, were still considerably higher than the numbers that were reported in 2007.

?We?re up but we are just not as high percentage wise that we are used to seeing,? Matthews explained.

Although it appears that the nation may be sinking into a deeper recession than originally expected, Matthews remains optimistic that 2009 will yield positive numbers in the tourism sector of the economy. The company is already offering discounts to encourage tourists to visit the area this summer and Matthews is also hoping that guests may also see the mountains as a reprieve from the stress associated with tough times.

?We are still anticipating a good rental year for 2009,? she said. ?What we are hearing is that a lot of people are looking to get away from the stress of the economy and spend some time with family relaxing in the mountains.?

Despite a floundering economy, 4 Seasons continues to grow and expand as a property management enterprise. Recently, the company has relocated from an upstairs office in West Jefferson to a spacious office building in Jefferson.

?We have certainly been very blessed,? Matthews said.

The expansion and success of 4 Seasons is a remarkable evolution from the company?s humble beginnings. When Matthews opened the business in December 2002, she did so from the comfort of a home office converted from a spare bedroom. Over time, the company?s customer base and solid reputation led to high percentage numbers as well as an ever expanding number of vendors.

Matthews said that the key to managing any business is to focus on the product or service that one provides and not the end result.

?The way I look at running a business is that it is my desire to provide a good quality of service to people while focusing on their individual needs,? Matthews said. ?If you are only focusing on the end result or the income that you make, then you are going to miss a lot of important things along the way.?

Matthews got her a foot in the door of the realty market while working for Blue Ridge Mountain Realty while she was still in college. She began working for the realty group in 1990 during a summer break from classes at UNC-Charlotte. While working as a receptionist and attending classes part-time at Appalachian, Matthews became immediately intrigued by the type of work that the agents conducted.

As time progressed, Matthews advanced through the realtor?s ranks and eventually achieved the title of broker in charge and oversaw the duties of the company?s agents and appraisers. To this day, Matthews credits a lot of her business sense and networking capabilities to what she learned while working with Blue Ridge Mountain Realty.

She also learned from the realty?s owners that good customer based relationships are the driving force behind any successful undertaking.

?Who you work with is everything,? Matthews said. ?A lot of what I learned from Ronnie Cope and Jimmy Miller was not so much in business but how to treat people with integrity and respect.?

4 Seasons Vacation Rentals offer cheap cabin rentals in NC!

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