Ok, last week we were talking about exploring your customer service philosophy values. If you missed it, check out the article here.

For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to assume you know your values like the back of your hand. Cool, so now we know our values, it’s time got through how we can provide value to them, especially those with specific needs.

Let’s go through some things to think about.

10 tips to knock your customers’ experience out of the park

  • Provide examples of the type of specific needs that tourists will have – what are some of the diverse requests and the solutions you have come up with to ensure satisfaction.
  •  Identify common, specific needs against your key target markets. Consider some of the most challenging or out of the box needs– how did you find an answer? Provide detail into the steps, action and processes undertaken.
  • Identify when you have worked with other regional businesses to help find a solution to specific needs you are alone could not fulfill (if relevant). How did the relationship with the other business come about and what has been the benefit to the tourist?
  • Be specific about the approach you take to ensure people’s specific needs can be met or an alternative solution can be provided. Ability to think creatively.
  • What communication methods do you use before arriving to be able to gain an insight into their specific needs?
  • Provide examples of any relevant questions you may ask to identify specific needs at the time of booking.
  • Provide examples as to how you gain feedback and insight from tourists both informally and formally.
  • What type of questions are you asking to gain a real insight into what they enjoyed and also ideas for future improvement?
  • Give an example when you implemented feedback from a tourist – why did you chose to respond to it, what was the scenario and how did you respond to it. What was the outcome to the business?
  • What measures do you use to gain insights and feedback from your customer? Are there any relevant data and stats you can include about the process and some of the key trends?

You can explore these questions no matter what industry you’re in. All businesses rely on customers, not just tourism visitor centres. Always keep the outcome in mind. Every time you engage with a customer is an opportunity to develop the relationship. Make it a priority to know what your customers’ value.

Next up, we’re going to be discussing how to obtain and deal with customer feedback to build a more memorable experience… of the good kind.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

How well do you know your business? Have you ever conducted a SWOT analysis? So many of us are so busy working in our business, there’s no time to work on it.

Businesses require constant evaluation. We need to put ourselves in the mindset of ongoing start-up. Something that was working last year might not be as strong for us this year. The same will happen next year.

You need to be constant learners – in your business, your competitors, your industry and cross-industry to ride the next wave.

 

What is your customer philosophy?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What processes and tactics do you use when your guest makes a booking, to really understand their needs?
  • How do you make suggestions to guests so they can experience the best of the region and immerse themselves, before arriving – to help plan their activity once in the region?
  • What questions do you ask so you can provide an experience or make helpful suggestions?
  • Do you ask guests before they arrive, if they are interested in being kept up to date with relevant events or experiences – so they can plan ahead. 

If yeshow do you communicate with guests in advance, and do you ask them how they’d like to be kept up to date with relevant offerings in the region?

Explain how you welcome people, to ensure they feel at ease and gain a positive impression of you and your local region?

Describe your brand personality and the characteristics associated with it. What are the best traits and characteristics associated with your business and how do you express these within customer interaction?

Make customer service a focus. Don’t just aim for good service. You want them to actually remember the experience, for all the right reasons – so that they can’t resist choosing you again. 

What structures are in place to deliver an outstanding service experience, consistently? How do you delight your customers? What about your people? Do you have ongoing training and development in place? 

Connecting with them, post-visit, is just as important as attracting them initially. Think about what you can do to show your gratitude. It is the unexpected add-ons that will make your company stand out.

With your customers, do what works for you. Continuously discover new ways of adding value and serving them.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

We need to start looking at innovation in a different light. It’s important to look at other industries to identify great opportunities of how they’ve innovated.

When doing your exploring, they should be in a totally unrelated field. Look at their processes, follow-ups, questions, how they involve customers, people involved, a product offering… the list is literally endless. It can be anything as small as how they answer the phone, all the way through to the strategies used to launch a major product. 

Think of it as the all-seeing eye

The world is your oyster, and it’s important to embrace all opportunities. As you’re reflecting on what you’re currently doing to evolve the current service experience, it’s vital to identify great examples from other industries that you connect with.

You’ll uncover goodies like these approaches:

  • Present yourself at events or conferences – where your competitors would not consider
  • Take an interesting angle or story to share with other people that can help promote your business and how it operates
  • New processes on guaranteeing the quality of your product or service, after it’s delivery
  • New ways to respond to customer complaints, inspired by other industries
  • Strategies to maintain a relationship and provide knowledge, expertise and insight that stakeholders would find valuable.

To be creative and challenge the norm you need to look beyond your own space and sector – otherwise it is the blind leading the blind. There are literally so many ways you can innovate. But first, it’s important to understand that innovation doesn’t have to be some big, light bulb idea. 

Innovators are good at associating. They make connections between seemingly unrelated problems and ideas and synthesise new ideas. Be an observer. Be curious. Be open to questioning how things are done.

We’ve got some homework for you. Consider an innovative experience you’ve had recently, as a customer. Ask yourself these three questions:

  • What was it about this experience that had such a positive impact on you?
  • How would you be able to take the most valuable elements of this experience and make it relevant to your own business?
  • What key actions would you need to begin to make these changes a reality?

 

Taking an entrepreneurial mindset and a willingness to change past approaches and evolve them is key.

Are your products really addressing their current needs? And what about your people? Do they have the skills and openness to drive real change?

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Innovation is more than just an app. We know this from last time, exploring customer service and the new wave of how we collaborate and communicate.

It’s not what you do that’s valued by customers but how you do it. What we mean by this is it’s less about what you’re offering, but rather the delivery of your product or service.

Let’s start by defining what innovation is and the various elements that shape how a business delivers innovation – to both its stakeholders and customers.

 

Move over Zuckenberg & Branson…

First, let’s get something straight. Innovation doesn’t have to be some big, bold new invention.

Innovation can be about product and service (the what) but more importantly it is about the style and manner in which the consumer interacts with the product, team, brand and overall communications.

True innovation can be, and is, found in the how of what it means to be entrepreneurial.

Innovation looks different to every business. Here are a few examples:

  • Greater choice in how your product or service can be accessed. Think about where you do business – how accessible is it for stakeholders and the end user to actually do business with you. 
  • The style and manner in which you communicate with potential stakeholders – innovation can mean changing the environment in which you do business to create a different perception.
  • It can mean evolving the type of communications and messages you use to gain investment and buy in.
  • Providing customers with the option to hand make their own product or service – if possible.
  • Changes in product ingredients or equipment to keep ahead of the crowd.
  • Type of written and verbal communication used to make a connection with the consumer. Not simply relying on IT, social media and mass mailouts.
  • It may have to do with minimising waste – recycling product or re-using in a way that has not been done before in the market. 

 

Often businesses and especially start ups are focusing so much on the product/service and getting this to market, that they fail to give attention to the story and how they’re going to sell the product.

So, innovation could simply mean creativity in the process of service delivery. Next time, we’re talking about looking beyond your own industry for inspiration.  

Remember, customer service is so much more than service with a smile. It’s about the entire experience.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Customer service. It’s about providing good service, right? Sure, it used to be as simple as that. But now, and into 2017, it’s about the entire customer experience.

We’ve been exploring how tourism operators can stay relevant – and this week is no different. 2017 is going to be the year of the customer, so let’s chat about how you can get prepared.

Your customers are smarter than ever

They expect more, so you need to be able to match those expectations. It’s 2017, so if you haven’t embraced technology in your tourism business, it’s time to check right in. Use your marketing and advertising to tell them what they can expect by visiting.

And it’s not just your visitors who are smart, they also have intelligent devices. Leverage the mobile phone in the entire customer experience, from connecting with them to staying in touch after the visit.

If you’re old fashioned and love the power of word of mouth, social media is where it’s at. When a customer has an amazing experience, they share it. Be so amazing that your customers want to tell everyone about their experience.

 

The customer experience is the new marketing

Alongside social media and technology, self-service tools are a must-have. Take advantage of the customer service tools at your disposal to give them the direction they need to accomplish tasks themselves. Think about what self-service applications you can introduce in your tourism outlet.

Customers will pay for excellent service. This gives businesses the opportunity to differentiate through a consistent approach to customer service, which goes beyond the ‘norm’.

 

Visitors want to be engaged

Your visitors want interesting, hands on experiences. It’s a must to have definite key points of difference to be able to compete in a more sophisticated market.

Superior guest experiences require you to make the right tactical partnerships to continually stay ahead of the competition and truly be creative.

 

Social media is only part of the story. It’s about exploring how to minimise the gap between marketing fantasy and front-end reality. Don’t promote an inferior product or experience and feel that you need to be part of the social media space if your service offering doesn’t match. You will do more damage to the brand that not doing anything at all. 

Be courageous and get a handle on key strengths from a service offering, as well as the skill gaps that will continue to water down the brand. Mystery shopping is not just for retailers so if you are not undertaking it at least a quarter you don’t have insight into areas of need but also potential market opportunities that come from strengths. 

Remember the key principles we’ve discussed in the past few blogs.

  • Utilise IT to improve the customer experience
  • Tell stories in different ways
  • Get creative with your signage and interior 
  • Speak their language
  • Know your customers.

So, there you have it. When we talk of customer service, what we really mean is the customer experience. Do what you can to make it a good one. You’ve got to continuously innovate.

We’re going to be exploring why innovation is more than just an app in the next few blogs. It’s not what you do that’s valued by customers but how you do it.

Don’t go far…

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

All tourism providers rely on visitors. That’s the nature of the industry. A lot of us are focusing on attracting the numbers, but in turn, we forget to make the most out of the people who do visit.

The same goes for when you you’re the tourist. We’ll explain why soon. This article is all about sharing insights and expertise to develop more leverage from visits to other businesses and experiences.

Let’s get started.

 

The tourism sector undertakes famils to other businesses but rarely utilises these insights and stories to build on the customer experience. There are great opportunities to develop the level of expenditure both via staff and better use the physical workspace, including internal signage.

We’ve already explored the power of engaging signage. Your internal signage needs to be creative to encourage a sense of discovery and exploration – not only in the region but the space itself.

Simply put, just visiting other businesses isn’t good enough. You’ve got to put yourself in the tourist’s shoes, which in most cases you will be, and see what’s working and what’s not. 

 

Stop, think and reflect…

Now is the time to stop and think about how you’re creatively using these famils to add value to their business and your guest’s experience. If you’re going to take the time to visit other outlets and be a tourist in your own back yard, make sure you have the vision to capitalise on it when you return to your day-to-day operations.

  • You need to be asking yourself these kinds of questions.
  • What are the strengths of the venue? What are they doing well?
  • What are the gaps & how can you avoid them in your own venue?
  • Are they using specific tools, such as social media? Will they work in for you? 
  • Are there any partnership opportunities? How can you work together?

Again, all of this draws back into our six-part series on making your venue sustainable. If you missed it, you can read the first article here.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

The world is changing. We now rely on technology more than ever. And for businesses, it’s shaping how the customer experience.

Technology, if embraced, can transform our tourism businesses. There’s IT, apps, and social media available to us now, which we can incorporate to build on the experience – rather than detract from it.

 

Embrace technology to improve visitor numbers

No matter what tourism outlet you’re running, there are advantages for all of us when it comes to technology. Think about email, for example. We could use it to communicate before, during or after the visit.

Draw this back to your own experience for a moment. Let’s say the last time you went on holiday. Did you visit a restaurant, stay in a hotel or do a day tour that used technology to first connect with you? Maybe you saw a special package online, which attracted you to visit them. There was anticipation and excitement.

A hotel could send out an email to their past guests sharing a special event that’s happening in their region. This could encourage re-repeat visitors and boost extra guest numbers. When communicating, it’s important to personal and to the point. Don’t let your audience feel like they’re just another number. You don’t have long to get their attention, when it comes to the online world. It must happen in a few seconds.

Let’s go into greater depth about the do’s and don’ts of technology.

 

5 tips to help you take advantage of IT

  1. Social media: Introduce social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tourism companies will need a plan for how it can utilise the traveller’s use of social media while they’re on holiday. Also, when they immediately when they return to encourage exposure and word of mouth amongst family and friends.
  2. Internal hubs: Look at Internal IT hubs where staff and volunteers can consult with guests
  3. Celebrate everything local: Consider audio and visual where local legends are featured and can tell their story and show their work.
  4. Get interactive: Use interactive touring guides that the staff, volunteers and guest can utilise.
  5. Always add value: No matter what you’re doing online, it must be valuable to build on the customer experience.

 

Consistency is key

When it comes to anything online, being consistent is the most important part.

First, be clear on what the customer wants, so you can make it a memorable experience. How can you make it different from the rest? How can you surprise them or connect with them?

Make a list of the specific needs that your customers will have. Identify common traits and key attributes of your guests. How will you get feedback from your guests to improve their experience? (Hint: social media!)

Once you ‘know’ your customer, you’ll be able to work out the best channels to communicate with them. Whether they’ve visited your venue or not, your chosen channels will help you keep top of mind.

Social media, your website, emails and other forms of contact online are great ways to boost your visitor numbers – and learn what your past guests thought of the experience.

 

That’s a wrap!

This is the end of our framework to making your tourism outlet successful in the future. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. But don’t go far, as we’ve got a lot of other cool information coming up.

Next, we’ll share our insights and expertise to develop more leverage from visits.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts. This is why we’re focusing so much attention on your interior. Whether you operate a VIC, retail or hospitality space, or deliver your experience out in the environment, these principles apply.

Last time, we spoke about brochures, walls and shelves, and why they’re important in stimulating the senses. This week, we’re talking about why telling stories, your location’s unique tale, is essential.

 

Everyone loves a good story

Personalise your visitor’s experience by introducing producers in video and audio format, using storytelling.

Tourism operators of the future will utilise local identities and legends to a much greater degree, both within visual representation, audio, and in-house displays, design, and internal events. Local identities and characters will add value and points of difference.

Information will be integrated and not seen as mutually exclusive to create a more holistic and interesting experience.

 

Embrace the five senses

The design of your interior will demand more creativity and imagination in regards to the integration of information with retail product. This will require taking full advantage of the five senses, which have been largely under- developed and forgotten many current tourism outlets.

  1. Sight
  2. Smell
  3. Taste
  4. Touch
  5. Sound

Staff and volunteers will need to tell stories, using these senses. The days of providing brochures only will be over, if it’s not already. The modern visitor will expect and require experiences and memories, which requires an approach to storytelling that can deliver the following:

  • Excitement and surprise – communicating the WOW and points of difference
  • Inspiration and creating imagination in other people
  • Highly visual – puts the guest within the experience before they are even there
  • A benefit focused interaction and educational experience – not one simply focused on the features of a product of service
  • Reinforces lived experiences, insight and expertise
  • Expresses confidence and conviction – staff and volunteers will be the custodian of the brand.
  • Continuously recommends and suggests.

 

Capitalise on the brag factor

Tourism operators will need to tap into the traveller’s ego when creating future spaces. Working closer with local producers and suppliers, organisers will meet expectations of exclusivity. The future tourist does not want the norm.

Travellers want the WOW factor and will be more discerning than in the past. And embracing storytelling is one of the best ways to successfully sell.

Stay in your seats for part 7, the last in our series on making your space sustainable for the future. We’ll be talking about utilising IT and technology to better connect.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Make. Create. Craft. Build. Play.

This is Maker Faire’s ethos. It’s a fair that brings people together and ideas together.

But just like VICs and all other tourism bodies and events, creativity and human connectedness are extremely important. The important questions still need to be answered, like ‘are we relevant?’

We spoke to Alison Kershaw, the organiser of Maker Faire Adelaide. She shared with us some of the must do’s for organisations who are not only curating creative events for their communities, but want to adopt a more visionary approach to corporate events.

There are hundreds of events, conferences and workshops out there, so how can you bring a new perspective to yours? Here’s how Alison approaches it.

It’s about the vision

Maker Faire Adelaide was born from a diverse community of people who had a genuine interest in making cool items. The event has grown from a group of people that were driven to share interesting things that were made from their kitchen tables. Where else could you have the Australian Dalek Builders Union and the Hand weavers and Spinners Guild of SA on the same bill?

There is a commitment in teaching others, but also learning and sharing of ideas and knowledge amongst people – who didn’t share these same interests. Maker Faire Adelaide has served as a space for exhibitors to make genuine connections with others, through the sharing of ideas.

The event is focused on celebrating the beautiful, but also the out there and unexpected talent that is often born from people’s kitchen tables. The sorts of talent that’s often kept ‘inside the home.’

Maker Faire celebrates innovation, no matter what the scale. It proves that change and revolution isn’t just about large corporates and applications. There’s a broader, more encompassing story to what innovation can be for people and their communities.

Celebrating the unusual

Alison believes standing out is about sharing the unusual, common purpose and common passions. Maker Faire, for example, celebrates the continual slaving away that too often is overlooked in the most celebrated of entrepreneurial journeys.

While some of the makers will continue to inhabit co-working spaces and adopt an entrepreneurial approach to their ideas, many will stay working away on the kitchen table – continuing to delight in the conversations and connections that are made through events like Maker Faire Adelaide.

She encourages all organisers to consider how they want to position their next event, workshop or conference, to stand out.

Evolving the current experience you’re delivering to your participants is critical to having a greater impact.

Kiikstart would like to thank Alison for her insights and brain space. Kiikstart is all about building better businesses through creative, more impactful experiences – it’s all about the people and the place.

If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

So, we’ve taken things inside now, as you know from last time. The inside of your VIC is where your guests will spend most of their time. Last week we spoke about internal signage and the importance of making it creative and to stimulate the senses.

Now, we’re going to discuss brochures, walls and shelves. Let’s get started.

 

Brochure stock will become discerning & reduced

As we move forward, there will be less of a need for brochures. Instead, VIC’s will work with operators, suppliers and producers to create other means of promotion and revenue raising. 

To reinforce the offerings of the individual region, we suggest each VIC design their own unique brochures that make suggestions of how to make best use of time in the region. Brochure stocking is no longer a one-size-fit-all approach. There’s an opportunity to get distinct and really capture your guests.

Brochure content will focus more on regional experiences that are complimentary and focus on both the product/producer and service where relevant.

 

Convey your region creativity, through imaginative tactics

VIC’s of the future will use a range of interactive and informative signage to raise guest awareness and interest in the near future. Walls and shelves are key space to make the most of.

The methods include:

  • Shelf talkers to accompany product which highlights the benefits and unique points of difference
  • Wall decals and audio visual to convey local legends and experiences
  • Wall decals outlining the history of the region and its relevance today in terms of key experiences and product offering
  • Walls and floor decals outlining suggestions of experiences based on interest or time in the region
  • Walls or floor decals highlighting quirky facts that can be linked back into regional experiences and bookings and help move people through the space.

Relying solely on staff and volunteers to interact with guests is no longer enough. VICs will use a variety of tactics to generate interest. We’ll talk more about how to create a more unique and relevant product mix. The main idea is to really utilise everything your region has to offer – locally made products, local identities, local everything.

We’ll be back soon! And if you love what you’re reading, be sure to learn more about us. At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn.

If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.