Campground and RV Park Customer Service Tips
Rule #1: The Customer is always right.
Rule # 2: If the customer is wrong go to rule #1.
How many times have we all seen or heard this old piece of advice? No matter how often it still is one of the best rules to keep in mind while managing your campground. Too often campground owners become too protective of our facilities and tend to think about our campground as if it was one of our children. Always take time to listen to your camper. We are fortunate in this business in that most of the time our customers are looking for a good time and if we will only listen and try to satisfy them we will all have fun.
One of the best ways to be sure all of your staff treats the customers the same is to develop written policies and operation manuals that spell out what to do in everyday situations. There always will be exceptions and you need to empower your staff to handle those exceptions, but good manuals are important for proper management and good customer service. Staves Consulting stands ready to help you set policies and then put them in writing so they can be conveyed to your staff. Written policies are a great tool to help make sure your customers have a good time and not only come back to your property but even more important in our business, have them tell other campers they meet on the road good things about your facility. A few of the many items you need to consider are:
- APPEARANCE. The most important thing to wear while you are working at your park is a smile. After that, wear whatever you are comfortable in and looks neat. It is a plus to utilize some type of uniform.
- FIRST IMPRESSION. Heres another old cliché, You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Trite but true. What is the first impression your campers have of your park?
- RESERVATIONS. There are many different types of campgrounds and the percentage of camper nights that come from advance reservations varies from a very few to as high as 80% of a parks business. It is very important, regardless of how many reservations you get, that they all be handled in a professional manner.
- REGISTRATION. When the camper comes in the door to register is the best time you have to make a great impression on the camper. Try to have your best people on the registration desk and they have to know how to handle any demands the customer makes.
- RESTROOMS. You dont normally think of toilets when talking about customer services but in the campground industry clean restrooms are critical to satisfied customers.
- ACTIVITIES. Many times the satisfaction of your campers will revolve around the activities available for each specific market segment.
- SITE SELECTION. What does your front desk staff do when the campers demands a specific site that is reserved for someone else?
- SITE AMENITIES. What is needed to upgrade your sites and make them more attractive to your customers?
- GARBAGE COLLECTION. What should be done about camper's garbage and campground litter?
- SECURITY. How much and what type of security do you need on your campground?
- COMPUTER ACCESS. What will your staff say when a camper wants to hook his computer up to your office phone in order to get his e-mail?
- INTERIOR ROADS. While this hardly seems to be a policy matter for customer service, the way roads are maintained and when is a major customer service concern.
- MESSAGE SERVICE. What does your staff do when someone calls your office trying to reach a camper?
- MAIL. How do you handle incoming and outgoing mail?
VISITORS. What is your policy concerning visitors?
- JOB DESCRIPTIONS. Does each staff member know precisely what the job description is for each task you ask him to do?
- WORK SCHEDULES. Does each staff member know about how often he or she will be expected to work when the season starts? How about working weekends and evenings? What is your policy?
- STORE/OFFICE HOURS. When will the office be open? How do you handle after hour customers?
- CHECK OUT TIME. What type of policy do you need for check out and how will you enforce it. Not all parks are the same.
- OVERSTAYS. What type of policy will you enforce when someone stays past checkout time?
- CREDIT CARDS. Do you have a policy of how credit cards should be handled? How about cash advances?
- AREA INFORMATION. Do all of your staff members know what local firms they should recommend and which ones they dont? Do they all know where to find information to answer the campers questions?
- EMPLOYEE TRAINING. Who trains your staff and when? How much training will you provide and how?
- CAMPER COMPLAINTS. Does your staff have guidance on how to handle different types of customer complaints? Do you have a written policy on what to do?
Next quarter we will cover techniques for setting rates for maximum profits.