"You have to create amazing customer experiences."
If you're working towards becoming (or staying) a successful FEC owner or manager, then you've probably heard this advice at least once (read: a million times) before.
At this point, it feels like common sense. However, common sense doesn't always lead to common actions.
For example, it's common sense that smoking is bad, yet millions of people smoke. It's common sense that eating healthy is important, yet french fries and burgers are bought by the millions every day at fast food chains. So how do we take the "common sense" idea of creating fantastic customer experiences and put it into action? And, more importantly, how can you teach employees who aren't as experienced in a customer-facing position to understand and employ this concept?
Let's a page out of a book, literally. In the book Made to Stick, the authors discuss an example involving Nordstrom, the department store. The company wanted their employees to truly understand just how important customer service is. They wanted to go beyond the "burn-and-churn with a smile" model and deliver experiences that nobody else could touch. Nordstrom leadership used unexpected customer service stories from top employees (or "Nordies") to reiterate their company values.
They told stories about Nordies who ironed shirts for clients, and gift-wrapped products bought from other stores (it's true!), and warmed customers' cars during the cold winter while they shopped. Nordstrom didn't just tell these stories; they applauded them. The company wanted their employees to understand that these are the types of customer experiences that should be provided.
Now, it may sound ridiculous to gift-wrap a product that was purchased at another store, but that's the point. Nordstrom wanted to thoroughly break any preconceived ideas of how customer service should be handled, and provide a new compass for navigating the waters. A company offering to gift wrap an item purchased from another store? Now that is something you won't soon forget.
The Secret to Creating Amazing Customer Experiences
Obviously, your entertainment business isn't a department store, but you can take this concept and create your own system.
Thinking outside the box and doing unexpected things to go above and beyond for your guests are great ways to keep them coming back for years to come, and are shining examples of providing amazing customer experience for your employees to witness and emulate.
A few ways you can provide amazing customer experiences are:
Ask your party booker to give you a guest list and offer to send email or hand-written invitations for them
Dedicate one staff member specifically for the guest of honor (and their guardian, if applicable) to make sure they have everything they want/need while they're at your facility
Offer to take a group picture and print a copy for each guest. Stick it in their goodie bags, or to send home with the party booker to insert into thank-you notes.
Facilitate a short game to play during the party and offer the winner a small prize or tokens for your arcade
This list could continue on for miles, but the important thing is your actions exceed what guests would usually expect, and even more importantly, you do them without asking for anything in return. As an FEC owner or manager, if you're solely in the business of quid-pro-quo, you're in the wrong industry.
Customers remember when they have been treated exceptionally well. And when a guest has been treated well, they're much more likely to return for repeat visits and tell their friends to come too. It's one of the best compliments you can receive as an operator of a family entertainment center to hear a guest is visiting because of a friend's recommendation!
Go above and beyond to provide an amazing customer experience. You'll be pleasantly surprised at just how successful your business can become as a result.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Do you have a great story about providing an amazing customer experience at your facility? Or an example of receiving amazing customer service somewhere? We'd LOVE to hear it!