Lesson from Vacation: Stand In Your Own Line

Lesson from Vacation: Stand In Your Own Line
Jason Tews

I just returned from a very enjoyable vacation, and after two weeks with my family, we decided to enjoy a water park on our way home from Florida. We searched the internet and maps to see which was the best option for both park size and proximity to route 75 North. We settled on Adventure Island in Tampa, Florida.

We arrived via the website directions without issue and we were ready for the day being relaxed without any preconceived notions and plenty of time on our hands.

As we pulled into the park we hit a bit of a line, not huge, but it was a bit of a hassle, then it hit me I have to pay to park. I get it; it's the checked bag fee of amusement parks.

The problem was the staff taking the money were overly relaxed and just taking their time, which made the line move slower. Our next stop was the ticket booth, and we were pleased to see plenty of lanes open with no more than four families per line.

The lines moved smoothly and without incident. They were well staffed and funneled a bunch of people to the entrance where you gave them your ticket to scan for admission.

Again, not really an issue except there are yearly pass members who need to scan their fingerprint and then there are people like us with just our ticket visiting for the day. I get it, makes sense, however the fingerprint scan takes longer and either the equipment was not working properly or the staff was not well-trained.

I believe it was a little of both. So now you have a bunch of people who quickly purchased tickets stuck in a bottleneck. The solution is probably as simple as separating the people into different lines, but that was not happening this day.

On a side note in terms of data analytics, I was surprised that they did not capture any customer information. If they did, I missed it completely.

Once we were actually in the park, yes really in the actual water park, we got to work. Our first task was to rent a locker, for more money, a lot of money.

Then food was exactly what you would expect. However, the food area was not just for us. When we sat down, seagulls surrounded us, and everyone around us. Two seagulls actually landed on one family’s tray of food, snatched some food, and flew away while the dad was trying to get his kids settled. Not pleasant.

Finally we were ready to hit the rides, but we could not read their map to find our way. It's not that it was that complicated, it’s just that you couldn't see the lines and entrances at first glance, so you had to ask for directions with a map in your hand.

In the end, no one cared or remembered. We all had a great time, a clean park with great rides and built for good clean safe fun. As each of my children waited in line, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, they remained patient and then after the ride would say it was worth every minute.

So the question to you is: are you satisfied if your clients just remember a good time and hope they forget how they got there, or are you standing in your own lines to do all that you can to make each part of the experience perfect?

With product knowledge, you can better represent that product in your marketing. Remember that your product is more than the water slide; it is the entire experience.

Marketing needs to know the product it is selling. What happens when someone calls your company? Do they hear a live person, is that person consistent, do they remember names and voices? How about when someone has an inquiry, do they get sent to a knowledgeable person who can give them an immediate answer?

When someone places an order, do they receive a quick price, confirmation and delivery date? How is your shipping and invoicing procedure, is it customer friendly?

Take a look from your customer's perspective at each part of your business and stand in your own lines. If you like what you see, great, maybe you can even make it better. If you do not like what you see, fix it.