Customer Friction
This educational post was provided by CenterEdge Software.

Customer friction is defined as those points in our processes and experience that cause guests discomfort, hassle or annoyance. And that discomfort provides opportunities for guests to consider whether doing business with us is worth it.

Almost every amusement organization strives to provide amazing service and experiences that wow, but often it’s in the small details that service starts to slip. Here are five questions to help assess whether you’re on your way to friction or finesse.

1. Where are we testing guests’ patience?

People hate to wait. They don’t want to wait to check in, for food or to enter attractions. Periodically go out on the floor during the busiest times and view your facility through a guest’s eyes. Do you need someone to direct traffic at check in? More signage? A floater or manager who can jump in and help cashiers move people through lines faster? Hourly Sales and Cashier Transaction reports can help you assess staffing needs and trends and determine where additional frontline training could gain efficiency.

2. How does our facility look, feel, sound and smell?

If you’re in your facility every day, you may no longer notice some of the unpleasant traits, such as that constant burnt popcorn smell coupled with scuffed paint on the walls or overflowing trash bins but these things matter.

Ask a friend or hire a secret shopper to visit and assess your experience to see where there are gaps. Check out social media and reviews online – yours and your competitors’. You would be surprised how often guests will compare local venues in reviews.

3. Is every team member in our facility intuitive, informed and inspired?

A lot of friction occurs because unengaged team members. Are they kept apprised of promotions, packages and unavailable items? Are they trained to notice service clues and interact with guests with intention? Have you connected your team’s jobs with the very real difference they’re making every day?

Connecting through purpose helps inspire staff and can make you more money. In his book, Give and Take, Adam Grant describes a call center staff that made cold calls to solicit university alumni donations. Weekly performance was lackluster until leadership connected the team’s efforts with the results of offering more scholarships. Further, donations increased by 144% when callers had the chance to meet scholarship recipients in person.

Your staff is well-positioned to make a difference, but they often need help seeing the connection between their job and its effects on your guests.

4. How well do we handle feedback?

When used correctly, feedback empowers you to improve friction points. Review all comment cards and online reviews, responding to as many as possible, positive and negative. Creating a positive public opinion helps set up your facility as a business that cares about the service they offer. Prospective guests are forming their opinion of you before they ever visit, learning potential pain points from the reviews of strangers. The way you handle reviews tells a lot about your organization’s commitment.

5. How easy is it to do business with us overall?

Take a broader look at your entire presence. Consider processes like: party booking, deposits, event communication, coupon and gift card redemption, and your social media presence and website. Consumers expect a well laid out, themed website, with a store experience that is user-friendly and mobile responsive.

While friction can occur in many areas in your FEC, there are many more opportunities to get it right. The more care you take and show your guests, the better you connect to your community. And that’s the biggest weapon you possess to fight friction.

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