Great experience and customer loyalty go hand-in-hand, don’t they? It isn’t easy to consistently capture a customer’s loyalty but the best parks and FECs manage it so flawlessly that they immediately stand out.

I recently had a purchase experience that was so noteworthy I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Here are five things I experienced that have turned me into a loyal fan and can help you impress even the most jaded, guest-experience critic.

1.    Offer a top-notch product.

Offering a top-notch product might seem like an obvious answer, but I mention it here because sometimes it’s not your core product or FEC POS system that ends up being the day-maker.

The other day, I enjoyed some seasonal flavored coffee at a local restaurant and it was so tasty that I wanted to buy some to make at home. It turned out that the restaurant partnered with Raphael’s Roastery, a local Tennessee coffee roaster, to provide patrons with a unique offering. The restaurant could have offered just any blend they got from their food purveyor but instead paid special attention to this seemingly small detail. In doing so, they not only secure themselves in patrons’ minds as a restaurant committed to serving only the best, but they also support other local businesses. In the farm-to-table, experiential-dining culture we’re living in, this is a home run.

2.     Create attractive bundling.

I was so impressed by the quality of the coffee that we ordered some online, right from the restaurant. I had intended to purchase just what I’d sampled but then I noticed they had bundled four flavors together into a “Fall Sampler.” I was sold — and almost quadrupled my intended spend! So not only did this start as a great experience, but now I was even more excited because I would get the opportunity to try many different products in addition to what I tasted at the restaurant.

Think about your amusement park’s most popular attractions or food options. Is there an attraction or offering that you know is terrific that might not be getting the traction you’re hoping for? Consider ways that you can bundle your most popular items with unique specials or add-on attractions so that your guests receive an even bigger experience than they were expecting.

3.     Make it personal.

My seasonal bundle arrived and when I reviewed the packing slip, I noticed a note that expressed their sincere gratitude for my purchase. To thank me for being a new customer, they even threw in a free sample of a S’more flavor. For those that know me, there is probably no treat I like more than a S’more so I was absolutely delighted!

While giving me my favorite flavor was a coincidence, it was still a smart risk to take. If you offer a guest loyalty program, it’s a great idea to incentivize people early on so that they want to engage with your program or FEC right away. This will help you get to know your guests and their spending habits within your park so you can build customer profiles.

Those buying behaviors give you the data to make things personal. How meaningful do you think it would be for you to send a personalized marketing email or special offer to guests who purchased tickets to your laser tag attraction or used your trampoline park? If you link purchases to guest profiles through attraction waivers, you easily have this data, but if you don’t, all this data would be available if you enroll guests in your loyalty programs.

Bottom line: the more personalized the guests’ experience, the more loyal they’re likely to be.

4.     Make it easy for them to engage with you.

I was so excited about my purchase that I wanted to share my happiness with others. I very rarely leave reviews but their thank you note included an invitation to give them a five-star review if I was thrilled with my purchase. They made it so easy for me that I went to Facebook and wrote about my wonderful experience while enjoying that first cup. I even went the extra step and immediately purchased some as a gift for my mom’s birthday and made a note to buy more as holiday gifts. As Walt Disney said, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”

5.     Deliver the unexpected.

Finally, my experience reached a new height ten minutes later when a Facebook notification popped up that Raphael’s commented on my review. Their response was, “Thanks so much, [Sherry] for your kind review! I am glad you are enjoying our Fall 4-Pack. Next month the Winter 4-Pack will be added as well! I’m glad you like the S’mores and appreciate you sharing us with your friends in FL! — Mike.”

Just wow.

This response did three things exceptionally well that made me, as the customer, feel especially important:

  1. They responded to my review in a timely and positive fashion.
  2. They pulled in my recent order data (which had not been mentioned in my original review) and thanked me for that as well.
  3. And they were sure to let me know that a new bundle was coming soon – making me that much more eager to see what’s coming next from the company.

If that’s not an experience worth learning from, I don’t know what is.

How does your experience measure up? Share with us in the comments or on Twitter or watch this video on How to Help Your Team Shine and Improve Your Facility

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