Customer service goes a long way.

Monday, April 20, 2009 9:08 AM

I just had to post this and give a shout out to "Michelle Brown" who works at SFKK's Guest Relations department.

I called that park because I had a problem with the online pass processing. She treated me like she knew me personally. I am trying to re-new my daughter's pass even though she lives in Chicago. She immediately knew I was trying to get a cheaper pass and understood that. She also gave me another number to remedy this and said if I had a problem, to call her back at her extension.

I have said all along that SFKK is a great small scale SF park, but it just confirms my belief that this park has great GR people. I had this same situation back in like 2006 when this park opened earlier than SFGAm, they gave me comp passes to go in before our vouchers could be validated at SFGAm.

Shapiro is doing something right and I love it.

Last edited by Chitown, Monday, April 20, 2009 9:09 AM
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Monday, April 20, 2009 9:13 AM

Thanks for sharing this. Positive service stories don't get shared nearly enough. I'm glad you had a great experience.

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Monday, April 20, 2009 10:29 AM

Remember that SFKK lives in the south, and that's where nice lives, too.

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Monday, April 20, 2009 10:35 AM

I agree with Carrie, you never hear enough "positive" customer service stories, especially when it comes to Six Flags. Exceptional customer service goes a LONG way with me as well. :) Glad to hear you had a positive experience!

Did you contact her supervisor/boss about the experience? I would. :)

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Monday, April 20, 2009 2:38 PM

This is also particularly good to hear, because some of us remember when Kentucky Kingdom's customer service hotline was staffed with professional liars*. Clearly those days are now behind them, and I am glad to hear about it.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

* Called from home to ask if T^2 had recovered from its broken chain. Was told the ride was running. Called again from Holiday World to find out if the park was staying open in spite of the day's massive thunder storm, was told the park was open to 10pm. Got there at 7:30pm, 30 minutes before the new closing time, got back to T^2 to find the lift chain lying on the station floor where it had been for at least a week. This was post-Premier but pre-Six Flags.

--DCAjr

Last edited by RideMan, Monday, April 20, 2009 2:42 PM
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Monday, April 20, 2009 3:48 PM

I have lived in the land of Customer Service all my life, and it's left me particularly sensitive to it. It also has allowed me to cut the service representative a break whenever possible. Sometimes it's not always possible.

Remember when we reach a company we reach one person. While we wish everything to be uniform, there's always variables- from the rep's overall experience level down to the mood they might be in that day. Some are cut out for the job, some aren't. The pay usually isn't all that great, and the calls usually range from bad to downright nasty.

It was Chitown's lucky day to reach Michelle Brown, who may very well be the nicest person Six Flags currently employs, and builds her success by taking that extra step for her callers. It was Rideman's costly misfortune (twice!) to have reached someone who either didn't know, didn't care, or didn't care that they didn't know. Those folks might possibly be sitting side-by-side to this day- you never know.

Service/information reps are the front door to any company , and most places want you to sound off if you are dissatisfied for any reason. Along those same lines, it's equally important to let them know when you reach someone like Michelle- she made your day, now you have a chance to make hers!

Last edited by RCMAC, Monday, April 20, 2009 4:03 PM
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009 1:15 AM

Oh, I hope you sent some word of this positive experience to Six Flags. Too often, in ALL aspects of customer service and not just in the amusement world, people don't care or are downright nasty. I see it happening more and more often, and I think it is just wonderful when someone actually seems to care about their job and does it well. These are the people that should be commended, promoted, paid better, etc. :)

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009 6:18 PM

But in reality, Bunky, they'll probably find that as hard as they have worked over the years, and as much as they have cared about the success of the company that they have worked for for so long, they never get anywhere, and the pay only increases about 25 cents a year. They'll start to understand that if they want to live a more satisfying lifestyle, they'll have to go look for something that pays better, and that their dream of having a "carreer" at a park is simply not within reach...At least that's was my experience with being a great employee at a popular amusement park.

I did get employee of the month one time. The recognition was nice, but in the end, it didn't improve my life at all.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009 6:22 PM

LostKause said:
...they'll probably find that as hard as they have worked over the years, and as much as they have cared about the success of the company that they have worked for for so long, they never get anywhere, and the pay only increases about 25 cents a year. They'll start to understand that if they want to live a more satisfying lifestyle, they'll have to go look for something that pays better, and that their dream of having a "carreer" at a park is simply not within reach...At least that's was my experience with being a great employee at a popular amusement park.

I did get employee of the month one time. The recognition was nice, but in the end, it didn't improve my life at all.

To me that entire story is a story of expectational problems, not an issue with the system.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009 7:14 PM

I suppose. Just proves that hard work towards the success of the company that you work for isn't going to promise you success in that company. It may happen, but it may not. After I figured out that my "expatiations" were way too high (promotions, better pay, ect.), I got out of the amusement business quick

Part of the problem is that a lot of more park/coaster-enthusiastic employees who work on the ground floor of the industry are seeking the same thing; to work their way up. Their are more people seeking promotions than their are positions.

So while this awesome employee at SF was doing a wonderful job, she may never make it out of the position that she has, no matter how many customers commend her.

The (non-amusement park) company that I work for now treats me great, btw. I finally found someone who takes great care of their employees, which in turn makes me want to work harder.

But yes, it is very nice to let great employees and their supervisors know that they are doing a great job. I alway make sure someone knows when I feel the service was above and beyond.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009 7:22 PM

In case you are wondering LostKause, she has been with the company for 13 years and enjoys her job.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009 9:31 PM

LostKause said:
I suppose. Just proves that hard work towards the success of the company that you work for isn't going to promise you success in that company. It may happen, but it may not.

This is a universal truth that I think we had to learn for ourselves. Our grandparents, and to a lesser degree our parents, tried to tell us that you found something clever to do for the rest of your life and then retired, and we all know that's not how it works anymore. I've had two careers and 11 full-time jobs at age 35. I can assure you that's not by choice.

My experience is that the companies that truly give their employees some stake get the best work done. There are a lot of ways to achieve it, but few work very well for low-end, low-skill jobs. The best scenario is that you have good managers (who hopefully have some stake) and are good at inspiring a sense of pride and unity in their direct reports.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009 11:06 PM

LostKause said:
So while this awesome employee at SF was doing a wonderful job, she may never make it out of the position that she has, no matter how many customers commend her.

Exactly, because she picked a career and a company that doesn't offer a lot of upward mobility.

I think that where we differ in opinion (as usual) is where to place the fault for someone being in that situation.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009 11:59 PM

I "get it" now that I've lived through it, but it can't be entirely the fault of the employee, can it? Within my three seasons of experience at Cedar point, I noticed that employees are constantly told of success stories about how people have worked their way up the ladder from the bottom to the top. The park paints a picture that succeeding at a career at the park is attainable, probably to get the teenagers and young adults to work harder.

How is anyone to know that "making it" in the industry is much harder than they think, until they work there for a few years? It's not hard to notice after a while that the people who work at the bottom, even the ones who get recognized (with little pins and certificates), are still in the same place year after year.

I'm not placing the blame entirely onto the "loser employee" or the "big, evil corporation". It's the employee's fault (me) for not understanding that his dreams and ambitions were shared by too many people reaching in the same direction, and the park's (CP) fault for encouraging me to believe that I had a chance.

I hope that's not a rant. I'm trying to stimulate conversation.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 12:18 AM

LostKause said:
The park paints a picture that succeeding at a career at the park is attainable, probably to get the teenagers and young adults to work harder.

It's the employee's fault (me) for not understanding that his dreams and ambitions were shared by too many people reaching in the same direction, and the park's (CP) fault for encouraging me to believe that I had a chance.

It is attainable and you did have as much a chance as anyone. I believe Dickey K. put in 30 or so years of hard work, loyal service and presumably, results, at each position up the ladder to get his sweet position.

Did you expect it in 3?

It's not hard to notice after a while that the people who work at the bottom, even the ones who get recognized (with little pins and certificates), are still in the same place year after year.

Assuming all upward positions are filled satisfactorily, how else could it play out?

It seems like common sense to me. Kind of like our scarcity conversation. The entire job market is a pyramid. Every company is a pyramid. Not everybody at the bottom can get to the top. It's just impossible.

You do as well as you can at what you do. Hope to make the right decisions (and choosing a stagnant company like CP isn't one ;) ). Roll the dice and see where you land.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 1:33 AM

LostKause said:
How is anyone to know that "making it" in the industry is much harder than they think, until they work there for a few years?

Uh, isn't this what's called growing up and living in the world? That's what experience is.

And for the record, I have a friend at the age of 24 that, in said company, has already done more than some people who hang out for a decade. I'm sure it's not just because she's charming. I suspect it's because she really gets it and does the right things. At the same time, she's under no illusion that the company won't drop her like a bad habit if it sees fit.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 1:56 AM

By the same token, I have a friend who is ATL of a big green rolly coaster, in only his 3rd season working there. Sure, it only pays like, 8 bucks an hour or something right now, but he's far from the only one I know that's been promoted within the course of a couple of years.

*disclaimer - I have not ever worked for a park.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 11:00 PM

Thanks to Raven-phile's post, now that I think about it, I did move up...

I reached "Acting ATL" (still red tag, but doing the work of an absent ATL) my very first year, 1999, on Paddlewheel. I found that pretty easy to get to.

My second year, in 2000, I was "Acting TL" of Camp Snoopy. The TL was missing at the beginning and the end of the season, and I was in the running to get a blue tag, but lost it to someone who I trained durring training week. I was in charge of Camp Snoopy when both blue tags left at the beginning of September, but still had the red tag on my uniform.

I took a long break from the park. The third year, 2006, I get the ATL position after a few months, something that I should have had the very first year that I worked there. After all the pats on the back, positive guest comments made to park Ops, and "good job trinkets" I finally had an actuial title.

I was almost always early to work, always trying to get my co-workers to be in a great mood, and always trying to find ways for us to do our job better. I was the "cheer leader" for my "team".

If I'd ever go back, they would start me off in a TL or ATL position. I'll never go back though....Too much drama, both from other employees and supervision.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 11:12 PM

LostKause said:
The third year, 2006, I get the ATL position after a few months, something that I should have had the very first year that I worked there.

Still sounds like an issue of expectations. I'm not sure I know anyone who wouldn't say they do their best and feel they deserve more for their efforts and contributions.

Sometimes I suspect you think your situation is unique when it actually very average.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009 1:50 AM

Wow, I really got you all going, huh? LOL I would love to take credit for getting a discussion going, but honestly, all I really wanted to say was that if this woman does her job well and enjoys doing her job, I hope something was said so she gets recognized for her good efforts. I don't necessarily think that everyone only does a good job so they can move up...some people enjoy being right where they are, but sometimes it gets discouraging, and hearing from your superiors that you did a good job is a "feel-good" moment. We all need them, especially in a job like customer service, where a person probably gets all SORTS of sh** from various people.

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