It is no secret that the object of many major amusement and theme venues is to create memories. A good feeling promotes the intent to embrace the experience while you are there, and encourage you to return. A quality product, backed by exceptional customer service, sets the stage for this type of experience. If a customer enjoys coming to your business and becomes a return buyer, you have created a comfortable shopping or entertainment environment. The subsequent positive word of mouth or shared-experience advertising is golden.
Don’t be fooled, however, creating the right environment is not always as easy as it sounds. Two factors lead the list for building a positive experience: Providing a top quality product and the best customer service you can create. Whether you are selling a commodity, form of entertainment or offering a special venue, you to have every phase of the operation under control. Is the product itself of the best quality? Is it packaged to encourage sales? Is the experience equal to or exceeding what the customer is purchasing? You may consider your on-farm retail outlet or cozy tasting room equal to creating a good experience, but when business owners and managers are asked to do a realistic audit of the surroundings or employees, the expectations do not always equal the experience.
One of the best ways to check this is to become a customer yourself. Walk through your business as if you are the customer experiencing your venue for the very first time. Are the surroundings pleasant and accessible? Is your sales staff or tasting room assistants informed, courteous and efficient? Do customers (or would you) linger, or merely look around and then leave? Such an assessment is a good way to judge your own operation, but also do the same with others in the business. Becoming a discerning customer helps you understand where others succeed, or you excel.
Good produce, nursery stock, wine, craft brews, wedding facility or a crop maze will bring people to your business, but helping customers create lasting memories that bring them back repeatedly relies on backing up the product with great service.
Customer service begins before a visitor ever steps onto your property. You set the stage for your business by your promotion, advertising, marketing research and reputation. If these elements are haphazard, potential customers are likely to research several similar operations before selecting a place they wish to visit, and yours may not be the one. How you present your operation says a great deal about the likely experience.
Today, potential customers can elect to go to many venues that offer the same products and service. You can purchase fresh berries at any number of roadside stands, u-pick operations, farmers’ markets or on-farm outlets. Customers select those venues, however, where the experience will help them create memories. Providing children’s activities, music, concessions, helpful assistants, and other “extras” is always appreciated, but if you have a more bare-bones operation, you can still provide good customer service with friendly staff, good signage, pleasant surroundings and a willingness to treat customers fairly and with respect.
Successful venues have learned that creating memories is the platform for customer satisfaction. If you are having a good experience, you will linger, purchase goods and tell your friends about your experience. Such recommendations are important to building a loyal client base and gaining new customers. Remember, the best product, however, cannot substitute for customer service.
Making memories is capturing that special moment which customers will cherish and pass along to others. And, that is what successful business owners plan for, execute and benefit from!