Thursday, May 14, 2009

Great Guest Service: Monterey Bay Aquarium

During the next IAAPA webinar, May 20, at 2 p.m., David Rosenberg, director of Monterey Bay Aquarium, will discuss the aquarium’s Guest Experience Division, a new model that blends education, mission, and entertainment. In tough times, it’s more important than ever to ensure your guests are happy and served well by your team. This model highlights a collaborative approach within the organization that offers guests a level of service beyond the basics. Here’s what Rosenberg had to say about the program and the upcoming webinar:

In the Queue: What aspects of the Guest Experience model will you focus on during this IAAPA webinar?
David Rosenberg: We will discuss the many ways we exceed guests’ expectations after they enter the aquarium. Everyone expects to see animals and receive a basic level of customer service. However, we provide compelling interpretation, live programs, unique staff interactions, and impromptu opportunities for guests to interact within our exhibits. Our guests quickly realize there is more to experience than what they anticipated when they first purchased their tickets.

ITQ: Why do you think a focus on customer service is so important during a tough economy?
DR: We have found that any negative experience during a visit has an impact on all other aspects. If someone receives poor customer service, or no service, they are more hesitant to engage in other opportunities throughout the facility. Likewise, our aquarium relies on communicating the deep knowledge of our staff and volunteers. If a guest receives a lack of customer service, they will not seek out communication opportunities during their visit. This ultimately leads to a lower perception of satisfaction.

ITQ: Who should log in this webinar and why?
DR: Our session will be good for all levels within an organization. We hope to spark some new ideas, or help re-enforce some concepts that are already in place. Since we will focus primarily on front-of-the-house operations, this will benefit managers who oversee mid- to large-scale operations.

ITQ: What tools and ideas can attendees expect to take away?
DR: We will discuss three primary areas:
1. How we organized our operation to achieve maximum guest contact and the ability to enhance the guest experience.
2. How many programs and staff/volunteer training, including live theatrical shows, adds up to exceeding guests' expectations and building overall perceived value.
3. Some best practices that our gift and bookstore uses to achieve continued sales growth.

To register for this webinar and to find out more about future sessions, click here.

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