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5 Ways to Make Return Customers Out of First-Time Visitors

Eileen Hawkins
Sep 15, 2020 9:20 AM

How do you make each guest that enters your FEC for the first time feel special? Better yet, how do you do it every time?

And, why is it so important?

Making your guests feel special is crucial to retaining them and turning them into repeat customers. Creating a one-of-a-kind guest experience keeps customers coming back for more of that same wonderful feeling (and it makes them want to tell their friends, too)!

This is why those “wow” moments are so important. When you “wow” your customers, it leads to repeat business and valuable word-of-mouth referrals for your business.

How to Make Return Customers Out of First-Time Visitors

1. Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

How do you want your customers to feel when they visit your facility? Do you want them to feel happy? Excited? Amazed?
Jot down the emotions you want your customers to feel.

Now, look at the emotions you wrote down. If you were the customer, what could an FEC owner or operator (realistically)
do to make you feel those emotions?

Create a vision for how to bring those ideas to life in order to drive customers through your doors and make them want to stay. After all, studies show that, “Emotion is what really drives the purchasing behaviors.”

Document the emotions you’re looking to evoke, but don’t forget to survey your customers to ask how they want to feel when they visit your facility, too. Combine that feedback with your vision to improve future guest experiences and manifest return customers.

2. Train Your Staff to Provide Experiences That Lead to Return Customers

It’s important to train your staff to make sure the vision you have for your FEC and the experience you want your guests to have is shown and executed the same way each and every time.

Set your employees up for success by providing a step-by-step guide on how to interact with guests and make them feel special.

Think about companies like Chick-fil-A for example. They are an example of a company that trains their staff to curate the same experience for their customers time and time again. “It’s their pleasure to serve you!

Remember: write it down, live it every day, and hire people that are passionate about carrying out your vision.

If your guests have an exceptionally memorable first-time visit,
and hear from others that they can expect this type of experience each time they come to your facility, you’ll easily be turning every first-time visitor into a return customer in no time.

3. When You Have a Return Customer, Treat Them Like V.I.P.

Repeat customers are the bread and butter of your business! Keep them happy and coming back and you’ll continually grow your business.

Meet with your staff to discuss the vision you documented and how you will make return customers feel special, just for coming back. Ask them to help identify some ideas that they might have to achieve the “wow” factor.

Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Open one hour early once a month or once a week just for individuals who aren’t visiting your facility for the first time!
  • Use the guest contact information in your facility management software to send invitations to everyone who has visited your facility before for a V.I.P./Loyal Customer Party that you host once per quarter
  • Provide “Return Customer Discounts” on certain products or party packages

4. Listen to Guest Feedback if you Want Return Customers

The best way to learn how to make customers feel special enough to want to return is to listen to them! Active listening on your part will contribute immensely to the effectiveness of this.

I also recommend putting together a survey. Ask your customers what they thought about their experience and take their thoughts and advice seriously. Doing this allows you to truly cater to your customers and make them feel valued.

Focus on asking questions about different areas of your FEC: the staff, the activities, the prices, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Asking questions—no matter how nerve-wracking it may be to receive honest customer feedback—is the best way to improve your family entertainment center and do your best to make sure every first-time visitor turns into a return customer.

Read: Your Guide to an Effective Customer Feedback Survey

5. Getting Return Customers Requires Having a Great FEC Staff

Whether or not you have quality employees at your family entertainment center can make or break your entire business.

Take time to thank your employees for working for you. Acknowledge well-performing staff in front of others when you can, especially in front of their co-workers, so your entire team knows what you expect from them in order to make guests want
to come back and visit your facility again.

When your employees feel valued, they are going to brag about working for you. They’ll tell everyone how wonderful it is working for you, and treat each customer with respect and the desire to do anything they can to improve their experience.

With many interactions between businesses and patrons becoming increasingly impersonal and "transactionary" these days, “stand-out” experiences mean a lot to first-time customers.
They make guests feel special and want to become return customers so they can have that feeling again.

Return Customers Occur When You Employ the ‘Platinum’ Rule

Many of us have heard of The Golden Rule: "Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You."

As an FEC owner or operator, you should do your best to have your business operate under 'The Platinum Rule': "Treat Others the Way They Want to be Treated."

Start right when they walk through the door! If they are a returning customer you see on a regular basis, welcome them by name as soon as they arrive. Occasionally offer them a complimentary beverage or slice of pizza to show them their constant customer loyalty doesn’t go unnoticed.

Smile and acknowledge all your customers as they walk through the door, and be sure to have your staff ask if they are a returning customer. You’ll be able to report on this over time to see how well your efforts are working.

Each interaction with a first-time customer will ultimately be the reason a guest chooses to become a returning customer or not, so it’s up to you to make as many positive ones as possible!

If you take the time to “wow” your customers, you’ll create an amazing experience for them, ensuring the first time they visit
your family entertainment center won’t be the last time.

If you're looking for more insight on how to turn first-time visitors
of your FEC into return customers, download your copy of our complimentary guide, Serving Customers: Why It Matters
& How a Service-First Approach Will Keep Customers
Coming Back
.

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