Customer Satisfaction will never be a 10x or even 2x Advantage
Part 5 (a side step)
As I said in my last post, I’m going to take a little side step and talk about why customer service can’t be a 10x or even a 2x advantage.
But first, I have to fix the mistake I made in the above sentence. I used the words ‘customer service’ when I should have typed ‘customer satisfaction’.
It’s interesting, because most surveys on customer service, or more correctly customer satisfaction, often use the words ‘customer service’ and ‘customer satisfaction’ as if they describe the same thing.
At the core of a guest visit, it is not just about the interactions of our staff with our guests. It’s about the entire customer journey from beginning to end and then starting the journey all over again – at least that’s the goal (i.e. getting our guests to come back again and again).
The narrow view of ‘customer service’ as being our staff’s interactions with our guests is really just one factor and usually isn’t much of a differentiating factor between us and our competitors.
We must recognize that there are multiple factors that are critical to providing our guests with a quality guest experience – so let’s start by listing a few that are important to an entertainment center’s success but often get less attention than they should.
Well maintained and clean bathrooms, arcade games that are clean and work exactly as intended, attractions that are clean, maintained at a high level and work exactly as intended, food that consistently tastes great and is delivered quickly out of an efficient and spotless kitchen, service processes that work effectively for our guests and staff, websites that provide our guests with the information they need as well as tools to maximize their visit to our center. For example, online player reservations, ability to book parties online, contact info, pricing, etc. These are just a few of the things that have to work at a high level to actually provide our guests with what they think they are paying us for.
Are we giving our guests exactly what they believe they should receive for the money they pay us?
The above question is actually the most important factor to providing our guests with a great guest experience. If we actually do give our guests exactly what they were expecting, then they will be very satisfied.
Below are the Top 10 companies who achieved the best customer satisfaction ratings for 2018. The study was done by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). This report was put together for Forbes magazine and it is based on the three year customer satisfaction average for hundreds of businesses over a wide range of industries.
- Chick-fil-A 86
- Trader Joe’s 85.4
- Aldi 85
- Amazon (Internet) 84.8
- Lexus 84.6
- Costco 84.4
- HEB Grocery 84.4
- Toyota 84.4
- Publix 84.3
- Wegmans 84.2
If you look at the very top headline for the article, it perfectly illustrates the same mistake I made at the beginning of my post and the problem I have with our over infatuation with ‘customer service’ as opposed to making sure we actually provide our guests with exactly what they believe they paid us for.
At the top of the article, it says, “These companies have the best customer service ratings,” but that’s not what the survey is about. The survey is about, ‘Customer Satisfaction.’ Customer satisfaction is about the customers’ perception of what they actually received from the product or service they purchased.
What’s interesting about many of the highest ranked businesses is that their customers often have a limited or even no interaction with employees (i.e. Amazon #4). Looking at it another way, the more interactions a company has between employees and their customers, the lower the customer satisfaction ranking is likely to be.
Why do these companies rank so high? I think the answer is that these companies are giving their customers exactly what they want fairly consistently – between 84% and 86% of the time, but not 100%.
To score high in any satisfaction survey, it is more about giving customers exactly what they believe they are paying us for, rather than the typical idea of what we think customer service is all about. It really is about customer satisfaction and customer service is just a part of the customer experience.
But wait a minute Jim, there are all these books about ‘delighting customers’ and providing ‘remarkable customer service’. If we successfully pull off delighting our guests, then we will be 10x better than our competitors. NO, we freaking won’t!!!
We can’t even think about delighting our customers until we make sure every attraction and service experience in our center is working as close to 100% as possible. Are our bathrooms spotless? Does our food taste consistently great and is it served quickly (or just on busy well staffed nights, but not too busy)? Is our staff fully trained or did we just hire five new staff members who need to be trained because we lost eight who left for college?
Just getting the basics right is a huge challenge and then we want to toss in achieving REMARKABLE???
Remarkable is only possible on top of getting the basics right. And to be very clear, none of us get the basics right even remotely close to 100% of the time!!!
In fact, look at the data in the Customer Satisfaction ratings above. Chick-fil-A only scored an 86, which is a B+. In other words, they are not remarkable and they did not delight most of their customers. Do they delight a few? Sure, but not more than a small percentage. Most of their customers got exactly what they expected to receive for their money and that IS somewhat remarkable.
The main thing these 10 companies do successfully is to provide their customers with exactly what they paid them for most of the time (i.e. a consistently prepared chicken sandwich that tastes exactly the same as the last one they purchased).
And again, Chick-fil-A is not anywhere near close to 100% perfect. They only achieved a score of 86 or a B+.
Now, here’s why striving for remarkable is insane for an entertainment center. Remember, Chick-fil-A is ONLY a fast food (i.e. highly automated) restaurant…
Do we operate a restaurant in our center (sit down, fast casual, or even both)? Do we operate a bowling business? Do we operate a laser tag business? Do we operate a go-kart business? Do we operate an arcade business? Do we operate a catering business for parties and groups? Do we have to promote and market all the businesses described above instead of just promoting and marketing chicken sandwiches?
So, based on all the different types of business we operate under one roof, how the heck are we going to pull off REMARKABLE!?!
By the way, do you also have or are you thinking about adding an escape room business, an axe throwing business, or a trampoline business?
What we are doing is similar to a mall developer saying, “We’re going to build a mall and develop, operate, market, and promote ALL the stores ourselves.” Doesn’t that sound insane? Why yes – yes it does!
Let’s do our industry a huge favor and strive to get the basics right 86% of the time and we just might get ranked as high in customer satisfaction as Chick-fil-A.
Once again, what exactly is the key to achieving a good customer satisfaction rating?
It’s about providing our guest with exactly what they believe they are paying us for.
Are smiles important? Smiles are great – a really nice touch, but only if we are capable of giving our guests exactly what they thought they were paying us for in the first place. If we do that, then the smiles are much easier to get from both our guests and staff.
By the way, do we really think that ‘smiles from our staff’ are why customers are going to our entertainment centers in the first place? A smile from a staff member is probably not in the top 5 and yes smiles are a nice added touch, but only if we get the basics right first.
Besides, will our staff members be smiling if our attractions aren’t working 100% correctly? If our attractions aren’t working correctly, our staff members will be smiling a lot less, if at all, because they are the ones who have to deal with the customers who are complaining about the attractions not working.
Will our staff members be smiling more if we provide our guests with a 10x attraction experience that is dramatically better, unique, and 100% operational? Of course they will!
In fact, our staff will be smiling 10x more, because they will see our guests smiling and laughing while they are experiencing our 10x Thing. During the experience or when our guests are finished, they will be telling our staff members how much fun they are having. If we provide at least one 10x experience and get the basics 85% right, then the smiles will be plentiful.
Below is a very insightful comment Neil Hupfauer made during a conversation we had about entertainment centers that were financially successful but not very good at providing a good customer service experience:
“Customers will put up with an amazing amount of poor customer service to have fun.”
I will never forget this quote, because it crystallizes what really matters most for an attraction based entertainment center.
The reality is that we can be mediocre at customer service and other non-core things and still be successful, but ONLY if we provide a truly amazing 10x or at least 2x experience for our guests.
Having one 10x Thing our guests really love makes operating an entertainment center much easier than having a few or even 10 mediocre things.
Again, what is our ‘10x Thing’ going to be??? Just to clarify, it can’t be customer service.
Next post… I have a few ideas, but open to any suggestions you might have?
By the way, our LASERTRON team provides our operators and prospective operators with an educational conference every few months – click here for more info. At our conferences, we go much deeper into what is required to make an attraction 10x.
Thanks for reading,
Links to past articles below,