Perhaps you are in the middle of chaos right now or ramping up for a busy season. In either case, let me recommend one more staff position. We have all met the greeters that Walmart uses to staff their entry doors. A simple task, but an important one. They are there to make your experience more than just a visit to a store. It is kind of like they are welcoming you into their home and want to make sure there is someone at the door to greet you. I know, that may be a stretch, but I guarantee that their marketing department finds it effective.
In the age of big box stores, the little stores are using our frustrations to market themselves. They emphasize the personal touch that they have to offer, and the availability that you will find if you shop with them. Now I am a contractor, so I am more about product than I am about advice, but for many people they want to know someone cares about them and recognizes their needs.
In a local hardware store, you are more likely to find someone who knows your name. You are also more likely to have someone welcome you and assist you as soon as you walk in. If you need help, it will be much quicker to find someone to help you. In the small store, there are more likely to be personal touches when it comes to service and people who are willing to go the extra mile. So even if you are a contractor, the small store will tend to try to accommodate your requests.
So, in your agritourism business, think small! Even if you are big, create a “small environment”. How you may ask. Here are a few options:
1. Create a staff position as a greeter. Hire someone for your busy days to be there to say hello and can I help you. Give them a special shirt so that they are noticeable. Make sure they are prepared to give info., hand out maps, take pictures and just be friendly. Make sure they are warm and not intimidating. Perhaps you can find someone retired who would be happy to just talk with people. It’s worth the extra payroll.
2. Create an environment where your staff is friendly and helpful. This is not apart from number one, but as well as number one. Make sure your staff takes the time when they can without taking away from their job. We had hayride driver who was great at this. He was part of the whole experience and became a pleasant part of the memories the guests would have. He went above and beyond in greeting people and sharing information about the farm that wasn’t asked of him. He was a fantastic asset.
3. Create activities and events that make your days feel more family oriented. A simple example. Ask some guests to participate in a fun activity that would be like hide and seek. Let them know that for the next hour you will be having other guests compete to locate them. They will have to ask people their names in order to find them and then ask a qualifying question to be sure they have found the right person. The “hider” then signs the “seekers” paper and they return it to the concession stand to claim their prize. The hider automatically gets something for participating.
The Walmart greeter is a concept to create a certain look and feel. It is important that we do the same. The event we create is to get people back to their roots. Don’t forget that our roots focused on the individual person. Make your guests feel at home!