Every year attractions sites across the country gear up to create the best experience for the millions of guests coming to their locations. So what are the best practices to ensure a successful season? How do you energize your staff? How do you keep the same positive energy and deliver excellent service from May through September?
At DEK Leadership, our mission is to help teams deliver excellent guest service and boost revenue through guest engagement. We also know how hard it can be to sustain performance through an entire season or year-round.
We work with thousands of people across the country and find time and again that these three key areas can make the difference in getting your staff engaged and on board. Here are some of our favorite best practices to help optimize your team performances as well as sustain your results long after training:
HIRE FOR PERFORMANCE…NOT EXPERIENCE
Many family entertainment centers have learned this valuable lesson: You can teach anyone a task, but you cannot teach enthusiasm.
When recruiting, look for the traits in people that will best serve your organization. The most valuable employees are the ones that are self-motivated, have a positive attitude, and are attentive. Being able to rely on your staff to do their job is critical.
Hiring positive and engaging people adds that extra layer of what you need to deliver excellent guest service at every point of engagement… from your front gate through all your experiences.
Social media posts are driven more from the experience guests have with your people than with your product. It’s the experience that matters.
**Be on the lookout for our upcoming Blog on Best Practices for Hiring!
HIT ‘RESET’ ON PEFORMANCE EXPECTATIONS
Top performing teams not only train new staff- they hit the ‘reset’ for everyone each season. We all spend a lot of time in our routines and may not have a fresh perspective on how things are going. Take the time to look around your business and see what needs your attention.
Take a blank-slate approach on your customer service. Revisit everything from your mission, job descriptions, customer service standards, messaging, to how you deliver training. Don’t be afraid to keep what works. If your messaging is good, there is no need to re-invent a working wheel. Measure the success of past practices that get your team engaged and on board, and if your messaging is working.
Make the most of your reset opportunity.
Use your seasonal opening as an opportunity to make changes before staff performance habits set in. When you hit the reset as a team, it reinvigorates existing staff while simultaneously getting your new staff on board quickly. With everyone on the same page it is easier to expect strong performance across the board, and much easier to identify where your team is…and isn’t… hitting the mark.
Take this opportunity to also ‘clean house’ on the issues that are nagging you daily. For example, a common ‘clean house’ issue is grooming standards. If it’s time to get rid of those droopy pants and put back those name tags, send this message out with your reset. If you send a strong, clear message that it’s time to clean up and keep your messaging in place you will see results.
To get your staff to deliver the performance you expect, let them know how important their role is to the big picture. When staff understand how important they are, the more they care about their performance.
The key to a successful reset: you have to reset daily.
Daily messaging matters. Your staff does not go home at night and think about how to deliver excellent service to your guests. Remember that even the best people on your team need the structure of a daily reset to get refocused and engaged.
The top performing teams reset daily with consistent morning or pre-shift meetings. While specific content varies per site, the basic elements to a strong meeting are the same. Celebrate the WINs of your team, resend key messages and refocus on your mission. Talk about the goals of your organization for sales and service. Share how your business is doing.
Resetting daily will reinforce your team’s expectations and help your people perform with greater confidence.
**Be on the lookout for our upcoming Blog: Successful Morning Meetings!
TRAIN FOR PERFORMANCE RESULTS
Training starts from day one, but how do you make sure it sticks? If your mission is delivering excellent guest service, here are some insider tips on how to make your training not only successful, but sustainable.
Keep in mind that when your staff first starts, they can’t hear you!
Every one of us can think back to a time when we first started a job. Sometimes just learning the basics can be overwhelming. This is especially true for a majority of seasonal staff who are young and probably at their very first job. The simple things such as “Where do I get my uniform?” or “How do I clock in to get paid?” can seem like a lot.
Remember this when preparing your training. Organize the steps through your training process to optimize how and when training will actually sink in. Start with a thorough checklist to get the basics out of the way before moving on to more technical and conceptual expectations.
The timing of your messaging is critical.
While it may not stick right away, setting the tone from the start is critical to setting the bar.
No matter what, always start training with your mission and/or message. Regardless of whether or not your staff is ready to retain your message, they should know up front what is important.
Training is building people with confidence, so take it one step at a time.
The more your staff get comfortable, the more you can expect in their performance.
Building confidence gets results. Take every opportunity to celebrate what people are doing well and highlight the performances that exemplify what you want. The most energized teams are found where staff know they are doing a great job and make great performances a habit.
Keep your message clear and consistent.
There are so many great customer service messages that many of our teams use. The difference between a great message and a great message being used effectively has to do with just how many times you use it. If you deliver a message once or twice, don’t expect it to stick.
Do not over message.
One common mistake when messaging staff on delivering excellent service (and problem solving with guests) is giving too many messages. While incorporating different tools and techniques is important, there needs to be a clear, overall message for people to follow.
If you have too many messages, you may as well have none.
Delivering excellent service throughout the season, how can you keep your message fresh and keep your staff motivated?
This is never easy. In fact, this is even more difficult than getting your message across to staff in the first place. There is so much to this topic, it is turning into its own upcoming Blog.
The short answer: keep turning back to the basics. Keep reminding your staff what it is you are expecting (delivering excellent service) and why it is so important. Keep the bottom line of your organization at the top of your conversations. Make sure that every day the ‘daily reset’ has a purpose and some meaning- either relating to the importance of your customer service or to your staff in making that happen.
As with hitting the reset for a season, hitting the reset in motivating teams comes from the same blank-slate approach. Consistently evaluate where you team is at and what it is they need from you. If you’re not sure- ask. Having staff involved in the daily reset not only keeps them accountable, it builds a better team.
**Be on the lookout for our upcoming Blog: “The Endless Season on Delivering Endless Service!”