If you look up the word experience in the dictionary, you’ll see definitions like:
1. Direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge.
2. The fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation.
When it comes to entertainment, the definition above doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. However the definition that states that experience is: “The conscious events that make up an individual life or the events that make up the conscious past of a community or nation or humankind…” Well, I get that.
It is so clear to me that in the family entertainment (or just the entertainment world in general) we only sell experience. Interesting right? How much does experience cost? Do your marketing materials reflect the experience in your center or are they all about the stuff?
We spend a lot of time determining the price of skate rental, a game of bowling, a session of laser tag, or the price of an arcade game. And yet, at the end of the day, the only real thing that a guest will remember and really take home is the memory of the experience they had at your facility.
Are we training our staff how to deliver the product called experience? The experience that you deliver in your facility with your parties, group events and individual walk in guests is precisely what can set you apart from the competition and create great wealth for your business.
You have to start with a vision of what you want your “experience culture” to be. You have to be able to articulate it in a way that your staff and your guests understand. So I don’t believe it can be a long complicated mission statement that no one can remember. If you have a mission statement or core values it would be interesting to go through your staff and see if they know what those values are.
Culture runs deeper than a mission statement. Culture says: This is the way we are. Here’s what we stand for. When this happens, we do this. Here’s a simple example. When the guest walks through the door, we speak to them within the first10 steps of them coming into the building. We greet them with, “Welcome to...” or “Come on in.” The core cultural value for this example could be a value of awareness. Lots of examples of how to help teach awareness should be coming to mind.
In my company, we have a core vision: “To help people grow their business by growing their people and their revenue.”
Our cultural values surrounding that core vision are:
1. To provide fun training
2. To produce serious results
3. To stay relevant
4. To always be learning
We cannot be a great training company without staying involved in learning on a daily basis.
I encourage you to have a team meeting sooner than later. Talk with your team about what they think guests want. Ask them what they want when they go someplace for fun. Find out how they think you all are doing at your center. Get them to write everything down on a sheet of paper. Then have the discussion. More people will be able to speak their own mind rather than being influenced by what others think is most important.
It is a great exercise and a wonderful way to begin to build your culture of amazing experience. Remember, with the exception of a redemption prize, the guest is only taking home the memory of what your facility created in way of experience. You and your staff can create that spirit of amazement or not!
If you decide to do this exercise, I’d love to know what your experience is and what you decided your cultural values are. Email me at beth@ trainertainment.net.
Beth Standlee is the CSO and founder of Trainertainment, a sales training company dedicated to great guest service, party development, and ultimately bringing more money to your bottom line. Beth can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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