What sets your venue apart from others in the area? Is it the carpet design or comfortable chairs you just bought? These do help to make a venue more modern and inviting but are not one of the key factors that drive people through the door. It’s the experience you create for consumers—how you meet their needs and entrench your venue in their personal identity.
Without elements in place to deliver pleasurable customer experiences, a consumer can (and will) choose any number of competitors who create a better experience. Customer connection must be part of your mission, and building those connections is no longer just the domain of Marketing brochures or Management presentations.
FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD IMPRESSIONS MATTER
If you think of every employee as a venue ambassador, you can increase your marketing and customer outreach efforts exponentially. However, in order to turn employees into true venue ambassadors, existing walls and hierarchies must fall. On most surveys around hospitality globally, cleanliness comes out at or near the top – this is something everyone can contribute to and be aware of, from the CEO downwards. Be proud of your venue and the services you provide because patrons pick up on that.
INTEGRATE THE EXPERIENCE INTO EVERY LEVEL OF THE CLUB
The customer journey starts when they enter the property and, ideally, winds up in a positive feedback loop of relationship maintenance. Along the way, everyone in your venue has an opportunity to do something if you allow them to do so. A machine attendant may have a fantastic idea about a customer process that improves their experience, office staff may have had a great experience at another venue that you could adopt. The list is endless, and the point is communication allows for everyone to be included, your venue will be better for it.
Everyone should have the ability to take ownership of their positions and add value to the customer experience. They may not work the gaming floor or restaurant, or send out the monthly newsletter, but they should be able to connect the dots between their work and a customer outcome.
Prioritise the following practices to become more customer-centric:
- Encourage employees across all departments to make customer service their individual mission. Allow employees to engage in interdepartmental meetings and crowdsource ideas on a regular basis. Innovation can come from anywhere. Plus, engaging employees in this manner creates a feeling of accountability and can improve job satisfaction and productivity levels.
- Try new ideas. Successful venues aren’t afraid of trying new ideas to stay in front of their customers in exciting ways. Some work and some don’t. The key is to maintain an internal alacrity that allows you to roll with the punches and come out on the other side. If you wait too long, you’ll end up with a customer experience that appears to come as an afterthought, rather than a cohesive approach.
- If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Make data a priority by interpreting it rather than just producing it. Track the customer journey, measure key group trends, and identify pain points on a regular basis. Use personal feedback from employees and customers to supplement the data reports you receive. Avoid using the same tactics repeatedly. If they aren’t working, move on—and do it quickly.
ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS AND KEEP GOING
The beauty of a customer-centric approach is that it forces companies to prioritize flexibility. If you’re constantly following your member’s evolving needs, you don’t have time to get stuck in the ‘that’s the way we have always done it’ hole. The hardest part is starting that positive feedback loop. Once you find what makes your employees and your customers tick, you can continue to build upon that success.