Category Archives: Freebies

Turn New Customers into Loyal Fans

The pandemic is in the rear view mirror and centers are cruising on the road to recovery with exciting findings.  Bowling is back, and stronger than ever.  Some centers are reporting record breaking numbers while others are sharing that business is getting better each day.  All of this, with, in most cases, fewer employees.   However, one of the MOST EXCITING discoveries is that centers are enjoying brand new faces to their facilities.  Society has been stuck in homes for so long and with the positive light that has been shined on the bowling entertainment industry, people are stopping in to see what it’s all about.

This is the opportunity to put your best foot forward and show these new customers a memorable experience so they stay longer and return more often…nurture the relationship and enjoy them as loyal customers for years to come.

Today, every customer should be being treated as if they were the most important customer of all.    The goal is to have every single customer transformed into a loyal customer and enjoy the benefits of watching center revenue continue to climb for months to come.  So how do you ensure your customers develop into your loyal fans?

Cultivating customer loyalty means customers will give you one chance to capture their business.  You must understand and learn who your customers are and exactly what their needs are.  This awareness helps identify pain points and enhance the services to provide exactly what the customer wants and needs.  By creating a brand and experience the customers want to support, you’re turning them into your biggest and most loyal fans.  These loyal customers generate a unique kind of marketing, by telling their friends about the center with enthusiasm and drive potential customers your way.

So what do you need to do to turn these brand new faces into raving fans?  Start by creating raving fans from the staff.  Make sure your team is in love with your center, service and brand as a whole.  Find ways to actively show them they are important.  Does the center have a culture where the staff feels valued and excited? You can start establishing this type of culture by making sure you are paying the staff fairly.  Take time to offer additional perks and honor the successes and victories.  Work to facilitate teamwork and lead by example.  Don’t be afraid to roll your sleeves up and work beside them when the going gets tough.  Seeking input from the staff and listening intently when they respond should be routine.  Treat staff respectfully and make sure they always know how much they are appreciated and how much their ideas and contributions are valued.  Engaged and happy employees provide more effective customer service, which boosts customer loyalty and retention.

Recognizing your customer’s needs is important so you can continue fulfilling those needs and keep them coming back.  Who are they?  What do they need in their lives? From both your staff and the center?  Before you can deliver the experience they want, you must first know what it is!

Build customer loyalty by providing real value to them and their lifestyle.  This all goes back to knowing your customer.  What things are important to them?  Value can come in many forms.  From offering an amazing experience for a reasonable amount of money to offering the convenience of placing orders on the lanes to avoid leaving children in the bowling area unattended and keeping your customers values in mind will go a long way in establishing long-lasting retention and loyalty.  

For long lasting customer loyalty, continually evolve and enhance the customer experience.  Anticipate your customer’s needs before they emerge.  Quicker check-in important to the customer?  Might be time to check out a Kiosk.  New customers more interested in drinking and having fun than seeing who can score the highest?  Perhaps a look at HyperBowling is in your future. 

Recognize ways in which you can continue to adapt the experience the center offers and align it with the current and future needs of the customers, both old and new, to continue growing loyal customers and enjoy a thriving center for years to come.

Want to show your appreciation to first time guests?  Personally thank them for stopping in and provide them a voucher for 15 complimentary minutes of additional bowling.  Download customizable voucher here.

Properly Positioning Post Pandemic Pricing

Restrictions are loosening as more of the population becomes fully vaccinated.  Centers are evaluating their policies on physical distancing, mask requirements, vaccine mandates, hiring and recruiting. 

However, one of the biggest concerns (and perhaps opportunity) that has emerged from the pandemic is the rising cost of doing business.  Higher prices are everywhere you turn! 

It’s all over the news.  It started with toilet paper shortages, now it is lumber shortages, fuel shortages, chicken shortages, car shortages, appliance shortages, staffing shortages, all resulting in supply and demand price increases.   AND, Consumers are faced with the same challenges on a personal basis therefore, they are anticipating that businesses will need to adjust pricing accordingly.

So, what about your center?  Have you evaluated your current pricing strategy and taken into account the rising labor costs, higher inventory costs, higher operating costs, higher EVERYTHING?   There is no better time to take a deep dive into the budget and make corrections where necessary before it’s too late.  Every center needs to be rethinking their long-term strategy.  

Some centers have opted to absorb the rising costs to avoid what they perceive will be push back from customers.   However, this can’t be a long term solution with the anticipated continuance of rising prices and shortages.  If your costs are increasing and your prices aren’t, then it is actually like you are implementing a price cut.

Positioning a price increase properly is crucial to consumer acceptance.  Here’s a few things to keep in mind when increasing prices:  

Emphasize the FUN and value instead of the cost/fees.

Price becomes secondary if the experience meets or exceeds expectations.  Utilize system games and features to kick the fun up a notch and increase the perceived value of the experience.   See idea below.

Show genuine appreciation and gratitude.

Feeling appreciated nurtures loyalty.

Be transparent

Candidly share the impact of rising costs to the overall experience.

Promote exceptional service that goes the extra mile

Make sure to deliver exceptional service to every single customer, every single visit.  Weave this into your DNA. 

Focus on convenience.

Customers expect it to be easy to do business with the center and don’t mind paying for it.  If it is difficult to do business with the center, they will simply stop doing so.

Promote quality over quantity.

Spotlight the quality of your restaurant and bar items and talk less about size and quantity, especially if these have decreased.

When price increases are determined and it’s time to put them into effect, another key factor is share with the team the key elements that need to be focused on for the most successful acceptance of the new pricing. 

Another area to look at when evaluating pricing is what is being given away for free…coupons, specials, deals and freebies.  Are they still necessary?  Have you tried to get rid of these things in the past but got push back?  Now might be the perfect time to reduce what you give away and put more money in the register.

When evaluating pricing, you should also take a deep dive into lane utilization and make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table.   Are you offering bowling by time?  Offering time based experiences provides a better guest experience, as very clear expectations are set.  If the center is running a waiting list and lanes are in game option, the undetermined lane turnover time can be a huge disappointment for guests waiting to bowl.  Plus, if 5 people on 1 lane take 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours to bowl a game, you are missing out on ¼ – ½ hour per lane of revenue if sold by time rather than game.  Why should you lose revenue when customers choose to stop bowling so they can take a 10 minute call for work or go take their child to play a video game?  The pandemic has made it easy to introduce time based experiences and is an easier way to control the circumstances and offer more efficient and more relaxed experiences while providing the best way to maximize your dollars per lane.  

Keep delivering exceptional experiences and adjust pricing when necessary so you can continue serving your customers for years to come.  Bowling is back and is here to stay!

IDEA:  Want to add a little more fun for customers?  Try routinely running Lucky Train during peak times. This graphically appealing feature is engaging for all ages and is a great way to get a little user generated advertising.   It’s simple, Go Live, Get Lucky!  If a customer gets chosen as a Lucky Train winner while streaming live, they get an additional prize or larger prize.

Go Live, Get Lucky Point of Sale Display  

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