Elevating the Guest Experience
Happy Guests, Operational Excellence, and the Three-Legged Stool
(Volume 3, Issue 30)
We want our visiting guests to have a wonderful experience. After all, happy guests spend more money, tell their friends, and return themselves, time and time again. As organizational leaders, we understand the important role that we play in creating happy guests. Sometimes though, we end up placing too much emphasis on one aspect of the operation while neglecting other important areas. As a result, we fall out of balance, creating a snowball effect that impacts profits, operations, and the Guest Experience.
In order to provide a wonderful Guest Experience, leaders must apply an equal focus to three distinct areas. These three focus areas are like the three legs of a stool. Without all three legs, the stool cannot stand upright. All three legs are essential. To ensure operational excellence, we must apply a similar balance to the following three areas:
Successful organizational leaders understand that before they can elevate the Guest Experience, they must address employee engagement. From the ticket seller to the custodian who cleans the restrooms and from the ride operator to the popcorn vendor, service begins with happy, engaged employees. The more that employees understand their role, enjoy their job, and feel committed to performing it with pleasure, the higher their engagement level. These individuals must love what they do and passionately perform their duties every single day. When they do, they will create more happy guests.
Second, leaders want their guests to become raving fans. Guests who do not enjoy their experience have no problem letting you know that. They will tweet and text about it to no end while spending less and vowing not to return. Conversely, when guests enjoy themselves, they spend more money on food, drinks, and retail, while promising to return soon.
To elevate guest satisfaction levels, everyone from the cotton candy attendant to the CEO must commit to providing the highest level of quality, value, and excellent service. Creating raving fans sounds like a lot of work and sometimes it is. Employees don't always know what great service is. Some leaders don't know either. As a result, we must define great service and then teach our employees to provide it. When our employees engage in the simple things that surprise and delight, the result is a great deal of happy guests.
Finally, an organization’s leaders must also focus on their financial success. When leaders apply a balance of attention to the first two focus areas, financial success should be relatively easy. However, it also is not automatic. Leaders must be disciplined, managing labor costs and other expenses responsibly and creatively managing revenue.