How To Build Trust with Your Entertainment Customers and Improve Brand Perception
As many FECs around the world start to reopen after the pandemic, they are facing a variety of challenges. To help us get a better understanding of what these specific challenges are, we turned directly to you, the operators.
Recently, we held our first ever virtual Amusement 360 Event. We asked the over 600 registrants one important question: “What’s your number 1 question about operating in the post-virus economy?”
The responses we got from the operator registrants covered a variety of topics and challenges. To make use of this information, we sorted through every single response to make sure that no operator was ignored. We then grouped similar questions together and formulated topics that addressed these questions.
One of the most popular responses involved the topic we are addressing here: “How can we build positive customer perception and regain their trust?” For the next few months, we will be focused on creating COVID-related content that best helps YOU through the difficult post-pandemic operations, and addresses the questions and challenges that you are facing.
We also recently conducted a COVID-19 Operators Survey, where we surveyed operators from around the world about some of the operational process changes that FECs are making upon their reopening. Thank you to those who participated in the study for providing us with so much insight and feedback. Click here to read the full report and download some additional resources.
Alrighty, let’s talk regaining customers’ trust and confidence!
The Importance of Trust and Confidence at Your FEC
We all understand the importance of your customers’ perception of your business. It impacts their buying decisions, visit frequency and a lot more. Due to the pandemic, trust in our industry has wavered a bit recently. But there are many ways to gain it back!
Consumers say the best action you can take to receive positive marks is to keep customers (58%) and employees (55%) safe, according to this source. How can you show customers you’re keeping them safe?
Consistently Clean in Front of Customers
It’s all about customer perception. You may know your place is spotless, but either way, they won’t gain that trust unless they see your employees cleaning and sanitizing constantly.
To accomplish this, dedicate one or a small group of employees to either exclusively clean and sanitize surfaces, or have the responsibility of doing this every hour or few hours. We would recommend having at least one employee solely dedicated to this. It’s reassuring to customers to see someone always walking around with wipes or a spray bottle in hand.
Furthermore, make a show out of the cleaning. This accomplishes 3 things:
- Cleans your facility
- Entertains your guests
- Gives your guests peace of mind and increases TRUST during their visit
Urban Air has found an effective way to do this. During the recent virtual Amusement 360 Event, Urban Air CEO Michael Browning discussed how he has made the cleaning process entertaining for guests at his facility. Every hour or so, the employees drop what they’re doing for a few minutes and engage in a singing and dancing cleaning routine. The feedback from the guests has been very positive. Browning went so far as to note that guests have NOT complained that the show eats into their paid play time. Rather, the guests are entertained and have fun with the short cleaning show.
Prominently displaying signs throughout your facility will catch guests’ attention and help ease their concerns. These signs don’t take up a lot of space and can be put on counters, walls, etc. It’s an inexpensive and effective way to proudly display your cleaning procedures. What kind of signs are we talking about? Let’s look at a few examples:
- On the walls throughout your facility: “Frequently touched surfaces are wiped down hourly by our staff”
- In the bathroom: “Bathrooms are cleaned and sanitized every hour”
- At the main counter: “If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about our cleaning and sanitizing procedures, please feel free to talk to any of our employees”
- Anywhere: “If something doesn’t look cleaned/sanitized, please let one of our employees know immediately”
Have some fun with it and find ways to incorporate your designs, logos, and tone into the signs. All that matters is that you get the message across clearly. Whatever your signs say, make sure that they are accurate and that you’re actually doing what they say.
Social distancing decals are another great way to help customers feel more comfortable in your facility. They can help keep people physically distanced while preventing crowding in certain areas, which may make guests feel uncomfortable.
In our Operators Survey, 83% of respondents said they will be using the decals once they reopen. Check out a great example from Rev’d Up Fun:
Hand Sanitizer and Wipes Stations
Even if your cleaning processes are vigorous and you advertise them everywhere, many employees are still going to want a way to sanitize and make sure that they are clean when entering and leaving your facility.
Self-serve hand sanitizer stations give guests peace of mind knowing that they can easily and effectively clean and sanitize on the way in, the way out, and every moment in between. Instead of just leaving a bottle of hand sanitizer on the counter for people to grab, grip and touch, look into touchless wall-mount options. All of this applies to sanitizing wipes and self-serve wipe dispensers as well.
Again, you can have fun with this! High 5 put together a fantastic marketing video covering their operational changes before reopening. At their facilities, customers get a sticker that says “We Give Clean High 5s” when they use the touchless cleaning dispensers, as seen in the video below. This is also a fantastic video to promote your improvements on social media, which we will get to below. Check out the video!
Utilize Online Booking
If you’re worried about capacity limitations, consider online booking to help spread out guests visits. This can help eliminate a “rush” of visitors that might lead to overcrowding. Overcrowding might break physical distancing rules and cause anxiety or frustration in some guests. Online booking allows you to spread out visitors and know exactly how many people you can expect in your facility at any given time.
In our surveys and research, we found that several operators specifically mentioned that online booking has worked successfully for them.
Communicate Your Improvements and Cleaning Practices on Social Media
To this point, we’ve discussed practices to help ease your guests’ minds once they’re in your facility. What if you’re finding that many customers are hesitant to step foot anywhere near your facility? This is where you can use social media and your website to your advantage.
Consider recording a short video, featuring yourself or one of your employees, talking about, in detail, the improvements that your facility has made recently. Check out the example below from Fiesta Village Family Fun Park.
Regardless of the strategies you use to help regain customers’ trust, it’s important to actually DO what you’re advertising. Actions speak louder than words and guests will notice if you’re cutting corners and not following through on what you’re advertising.