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Key phases of the customer journey
You have re-opened, but how can you make the most of your customer experience, marketing and income generation activities? In this article AIM Associate Supplier Bryn Jones Associates looks at the challenges and opportunities of reviewing your reopening plans and focuses on the key phases of the customer journey, from online to the front desk.
It all starts online
ALVA’s benchmarking survey (Summer 2019, Spring 2019 and Autumn 2018) indicates 39% of visits to museums and galleries and 38% of visits to heritage sites were prompted online. According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport: Taking Part Survey: England Adult Report, 2018/19, the most common reasons for visiting or using a heritage website were to ‘check the opening hours of a historic site (76.4%), plan how to get to a historic site (60%) and learn about history or the historic environment (44.4%). Approximately 25% were to buy tickets to visit.’
Finding the venue
Road and pedestrian signage and parking needs to be carefully considered so visitors and passing trade can follow signs easily to the venue and parking. Walk and drive the main routes to your attraction to make sure signage is in all the right locations and is legible This includes from key landmarks such as town centres and railway stations.
At key times of the year it might be worth investing in paying someone to be outside key transport hubs like tube or rail stations, providing leaflets, especially if your attraction is not on the main pedestrian flow. Thought needs to be given as to ways of monitoring effectiveness.
Exterior venue signage
Are you effectively communicating your offer on the exterior of your building, including who you are, temporary exhibitions, the café and shop? It is important to remember your key audiences – both existing customers and passing trade, whether on foot or by car. If you are free admission and have an active donations and gift aid strategy, this could be communicated effectively at this point, to help inform customers so they know the museum is recommending a donation. If you are a charging venue, then how well are you promoting the benefits of your season ticket or membership?
Do not try to communicate too much, keep it simple and do it well. One key message and visual per banner or promotion. Make sure the signage is fixed, well presented, and try to avoid tie or clip on PVC banners onto fencing. These tend to be a one-off fixed cost, though banners in fixed positions or posts may need periodically changed and updated.
Inside the main entrance
The presentation of the front entrance is incredibly important. It is the point every customer comes into and out of the attraction. It provides an opportunity for a potential welcome and interaction with every customer, and maybe the only point in the visit where the customer engages with a member of the team. The aim should be not to try and communicate too many things, otherwise the key message will be lost. Consider:
- Signage welcoming visitors as they enter and thanking them for visiting as they leave. If you have many overseas visitors then do
this in different languages.
- If there is the space can a wow factor be created?
- If there is a key secondary offer e.g. temporary exhibitions, café and shop.
- If you are a charity promote this, and where all the income goes.
- Promote your service standards and customer feedback system clearly and prominently.
- If you are free admission museum, promote donations, including the recommended donation and how the income will be used. If you are eligible, promote the benefits of gift aiding the donation too.
- If you are a charging museum promote the benefits of your season ticket and or membership.
The ticketing and the welcome desk
The location of the ticketing and welcome desk is critical. Whether free or charging, the desk should be positioned to provide the team with the opportunity to welcome all customers. If your museum has a guidebook this should be displayed to enable customers to pick up, browse and purchase. Keep the top of the welcome desk clutter free, tills should be built into the desk with only the PDU visible. It needs to look smart. FOH staff should be proactive, welcoming customers and establishing their needs. This is also a prime opportunity to ‘up-sell’ and promote your offer in a clear and focused way.
Six key points to remember:
- The customer experience, marketing and income generation significance of front of house.
- Keep things simple, visual (promoting the benefits, appealing to your core audiences), well presented, clear, not text heavy, focus on getting the basics right and making the most of these opportunities consistently.
- Never stop monitoring, evaluating and improving. Constructive feedback and analysis (internal and external) are important to
continue to improve. Involve your team.
- Especially in these Covid times, learn from others, both from inside and outside the sector, from cafés, bars and restaurants to health clubs, service stations and supermarkets.
- Be safe but try not to make Covid restrictions more complicated than they need to be, it’s a good opportunity to be creative and
provide long term small but important service enhancements. This will also provide more opportunities for improved use of technology to enhance the visit, convenience, experience, income generation and data capture e.g. online ticketing and at the welcome desk.
- Have clear organisation wide SMART Service Standards and make sure all the information is well presented, branded appropriately,
accurate, not out of date, visual and clear.