Service – Be the Paper Valley

Appleton WI hosts my favorite downtown area in all of the state – College Ave. It’s the hub of culture and night life in the Fox Valley (I consider the Fox Valley to be from Kaukauna south to Oshkosh). Most of College Ave is bars and restaurants save for the beautiful Performing Arts Center and the locally well-know/famous to NFL franchises – Paper Valley Hotel.

This month Slate featured an article about The Paper Valley and why NFL teams choose to go their year after year. According to Google Maps, the hotel is just a hair under 30 miles away from Lambeau Field. Why, when there are closer, more posh accommodations right in Green Bay do teams keep going there?


“We’re not as sexy as those hotels,” …To get the Vikings and Lions and Bears to keep coming back, he says, he needs to provide the best customer service in the NFL. “One of the things I preach to my staff is, we don’t take anything for granted”

You can read more from Slate on the amenities, but I can tell you from experience it’s a decent hotel, but nothing special. Their service to NFL teams is what keeps them coming back – and that service was recognized by the NFL as the Most Valuable Property award in 2009.

The topic of service isn’t one that is currently catching much attention in the national Ed Tech spotlight. In my opinion softer terms are getting thrown out there that are easy to fake. Service is something tangible that impacts your organization on a cultural level – your issue is important and we’re working on it.  A new LMS, shiny new Macbooks, the initiative dujour will never touch building culture like service does.

I’m fine with not being flashy (as I type this in my storage room office), but I want to continue to be and continue to strive to be like The Paper Valley. The team I work on it told frequently that our service blows other IT service experiences out of the water. The feedback is great, but improving service is constant endeavor and the process is the reward. I often think of Wisconsin’s patron football saint Vince Lombardi when reflecting on service and continuous improvement –

We are going to relentlessly chase perfection knowing full well we will not catch it because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it because in the process we will catch excellence.

Are we going to make everyone happy all the time…solve every problem that same day? Nope. But we’re going to try to.

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