And you may be surprised that it is higher than it’s ever been. The reason is simply that your customers have been in other establishments where management has emphasized service, managing customer complaints and exceeding customer expectations.
With the holiday season now getting into full gear, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend and your lanes were full. If they weren’t, then you need to examine what your marketing programs are, who you are targeting and how you are communicating your offers.
There is, however; one other important element that many of us take for granted and that is our
employees and their customer service skills. As more people come into the center, some for the first time since last holiday season, they will have a certain expectation of customer service level.
So what have you done to prepare your employees for “the more traffic and selling season?” “Hmm, not much”, you’re saying?
OK, think about a few of these suggestions to give your employees:
· Answer the phone by at least the third ring: “Hello and thanks for calling Happy Lanes, This is Fred, how may I help you today?
· “Yes we have lanes available and if you will give me your name I will place you on our VIP list so when you come in, your lanes will be the next available.” Oh you can’t do this? Your existing customers who have been waiting will get angry? Really? This happens to me every week. The airlines put me on their first class seating list and then when someone comes along with super platinum elite status, I get bumped back to coach! Put up signs in the center and on your website to tell people to call before they are leaving their home to give their name to your “Customer Service representative,” so they can be put on your Premium VIP list.
· Customers come to the service desk. What do you say first? The answer is not “What size shoes do you need? The answer is: “Hi I’m Fred and welcome to Happy Lanes. We’re going to do everything we can today to make sure that you have a great time today”. (Now reach across the desk and shake hands with the adults and wave to the kidlets. May I take a moment and tell you about our specials. Yes it’s corny. Yes it’s unexpected. But you know what? Customers love this and it puts them in a nice mood. During the course of this “meet and greet”, please find out if they have ever kept score before, if they feel like they need help with the scorer set up and if they need light weight house balls for their children? Don’t forget to tell them about the bumpers for the kids! And please, go down tot he lanes and find out how they are doing? You’re not a desk person, you’re the maitre’d.
· “Oh I am so sorry that happened, let me see how I can fix that to your satisfaction right now”. Invariably there will be a problem. The food will get delivered late, the kids might trip and fall, the scorers or lanes might develop a virus; and all sorts of things could happen. Your response is to FIX THE CUSTOMER’S PROBLEM NOW. Don’t wait for the boss to fix it or the M.O.D. to fix it. You fix it. Fix it the way you would want it to be fixed and fix it fast. Research says that if you fix the customers problem immediately, there is a 95% chance they will come back. If you wait a day or two, there is less than a 25% chance they will come back.
· DO you have a “quickie menu?” You know: your 5 or 6 fastest moving items that your customer service representative can offer your guests as part of the “meet and greet” process. You will get more food orders than you can imagine right there. Just be sure your operations and control systems are set up to handle that transaction and get it to the kitchen pronto!
So while you are out promoting your center, your offers and your new leagues for January, don’t forget to delight your customers NOW. You’ll be glad you did
And one last thing: ask for their names and emails. Offer them a chance to win $25 in FREE bowling and slip an entry card into their shoe rentals so they will fill it out.
And a pencil too!!