One of my favorite activities for relaxation is hooking up our travel trailer and finding a great place to camp. Like most human beings, often times we find favorites and go back over and over again. In this case, our favorite go-to place is Clear Lake Campground on the south end of Clear Lake, believed to be the second-oldest lake in the world and the largest natural fresh water lake entirely within California.
When you find a favorite place I’ve usually found that it’s because there are layers of experiences that make it special. Going to your favorite restaurant and having a favorite server or going to Disneyland or whatever, your favorite in any category is isn’t just one specific thing, but a combination of factors that make that experience special.
For example, my favorite restaurant is my favorite restaurant because things including the giant bowl of salad with a homemade dressing that I have never seen anybody be able to finish. There’s also the freshly-baked bread and the main courses that are just outstanding. I’ve never had a bad server there and it’s always crowded, but not too crowded. It’s layers of experiences that all add up.
In the case of Clear Lake Campground those layers include the fact that the whole family pitches in to make the guest experience as rich as possible. I’ve never been there where they haven’t shown me some other area or amenity that is better than it was the last time I was there.
Manager, Lisa Wilson, greets each new camper with a book about the area and a soap from the local soap company. While she’s doing the greeting she offers to be their own ambassador to the area, pointing out great things to do and see and ways to make the camping experience more special. Even though I live not too far away I still got the complimentary bar of soap from the local soap company and the full greeting.
While I was there most recently a family was in all the way from Arkansas for a family function. Lisa was so thorough in her listing of local activities that they booked several additional days.
Being a local ambassador is everybody’s job in a business. There’s nothing more frustrating than interacting with a business and clearly getting someone who doesn’t care at all. When the whole team are pointing you forward you feel like you want to align yourself with that business because they actually care. Even the dishwasher at the restaurant or the housekeeper at a resort or the family that takes care of the property are all components of success.
So the good thing about layers is that, if one of them happens to be misaligned at a given time, it’s still okay. In other words, if what you do ain’t what you did you haven’t completely ruined the experience.
But I also have been working with a company in the tourism marketing business where it was clear that some of the layers had gotten rotten. Sometimes you have to cut some layers loose and, in this case, that was the only recommendation that worked. Like ripping off a bandage, this was rather painful as an entire department had to go. But then they could Hire Happy and now the customer reviews are much improved. In fact, many of them mention the people in the department and how glad they are that they’re gone. Ouch.
How are the layers in your organization? Are you a part of a layer of success that drives people back in to the doors instead of straight out the doors?