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 critical to retaining 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!
5 Ways to Make Return Customers Out of First-Time Visitors
Let's jump in!
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.
Ask yourself: 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 you and your team can bring those ideas to life. After all, studies show that “Emotion really drives purchasing behaviors.”
Document the emotions you’re looking to evoke, but don’t forget to survey your customers and 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 Great Guest Experiences
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 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 a great example of a company that trains their staff to curate the same experience for their customers, time and time again. “It’s our 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 turn every first-time visitor into a return customer.
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
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, activities, 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.
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.
These experiences make guests feel special!
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 of 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.
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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.