SF To Focus on Guest experience with leadership training for employees.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 3:15 AM
Maybe the prices were raised for a reason & hopefully all that bad service at Six Flags will change.

http://investors.sixflags.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=61629&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=807772&highlight=

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 3:30 AM
Finally!

This is what we've been waiting to hear. :)

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 4:12 AM
From what I hear they're talking big changes...like..Don't get caught leaning against your cart if you're a cart host/hostess kind of changes. It will not be pretty if you are caught.

Yeah...just give it time and things will change.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 7:52 AM
Didn't SF implement a similar program last year or was that just a Human Resource program designed to hire better employees?

*** Edited 1/25/2006 2:45:23 PM UTC by coasterguts***

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 8:24 AM
They're certainly talking the talk! *** Edited 1/25/2006 1:24:09 PM UTC by Brian Noble***
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 8:52 AM
I bet it will work for about the first few weeks of each parks new season, but then will go down hill. Like at SFA they tried it, but whoa. Some employees asked some kids if they were having a good day, they didnt respond. But the employees responded with a "Fine! we don't care about you either!" Lets not hope this happens.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:45 AM
Nahhh....The employees at SFA would never do such a thing. ;)
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 9:52 AM
Outstanding Service is Paramount to our SF guest?

Just couldn't resist!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:07 AM
Great! So still call me the great skeptic.

Employee attitudes, friendlyness and the like will get them a lot of possitive feedback but is only a bonus to the actual.............

EXPERIENCE and VALUE a GUEST will feel.
Does this training include having all rides safe and capable to run, running? at a acceptable capasity to keep guest happy?

It's my understanding that at a few SF parks with unions involved in maintence that its virtually impossible to get anything done in short notice.

No, Im not bashing unions, But In my experience with SF a ride going down often means down for the day/week. CF and Paramount usually get em going again, same day unless it's special order parts or something like for Drop Zone.

What Im told and whats actually true can be two different things. Im told that at SFKK to add a train to either Chang or T-2 they actually have to call someone to come and do it. Not a regular park employee.

Some parks you goto, The line gets long, They add a train, The line gets short, They take it off (Kennywood, CF)

Some open with full capasity and sometimes continue it all day reguardless of crowd.

Some open with full capsity and then downgrade based on attendance.

It just seems to me that doing as much as possible is part of the value factor a guest would feel.

IMHO a price increase, Even a large one isn't a big long run issue. Providing the experience a guest has is possitive enough to get them to come back and whats more important. Recomending it to others.

Chuck

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:16 AM

Xander said:
Yeah...just give it time and things will change.

Xander, you're from SFoT...don't change a thing at YOUR park. ;)


Sorry to sound pessimistic (realistic?), but we've heard this talk MANY times under previous managmement. Generally a park would get some sort of slapdash training that would wear off as soon as the "CS people" left the park.

If this had been the FIRST initiative out of the box when SnyderCo took over, I'd be MUCH more inclined to believe it - and to think that it was a *priority* for them.

As always, time will tell.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:23 AM
Well to be fair, They could be learning.

Sure, Snyder seen a potential cash cow and also seen it was being run into the ground.

I mean, seriously, some of them might not have known some of the issues their guest had with them.

Simply reading a parks customer complaint forms will point out some of the obvious problems.

Hate to quote Altolf again but,

Having people out there! Seing whats going on and finding solutions to fix it is the only way to improve GUEST EXPERIENCE. Too long have some park presidents been judged on THE BOTTOM LINE! (Make money no matter at who's expense) In the end some of those SHORT TERM policies come back to bite you, big time!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:26 AM
Well, they could have been working out the logistics of the deal with the training company.

Good news, and if it works out for the better the higher prices are worth it IMO.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:28 AM
I'll believe 6Flags will improve guest experience the same time that Conneaut lake gets 70% of their rides running again.
As much as I'd like to believe it, it's not gonna happen.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:36 AM
As soon as they bust the union...thats the time to buy the stock. I too have heard the same Charles. I'm not sure new management can change the entrenched attitude of laziness inherant to their maintenance department without getting rid of the union (I've never been able to determine if each park maintenance divisions were unionized though)!

I too have no desire to turn this into a union debate...but it is clear that this is indeed an issue to address. All the customer service training in the world means nothing if they cannot keep the rides running. The union protects even the laziest of members as dues feed their existance.

...I'm not sure what contracts/law will allow new management to do about this...

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:00 AM
In any Union contract Ive ever seen. The company retains the right on how it conducts buisness.

Therefore meaning not doing your job is subjet to dicipline, Up to and including termination. Where the union comes in is actually preventing the person from being diciplined because for every supervisor that says you were sleeping, You've got ten employees saying He was working right beside me.

Union busting isn't necessaraly the answer, Im pro union when it comes to wages, benifits and fairness in dicipline and the only reason a union can use to strike (Working conditions/Safety). The answer is finding the working relationship tht works for both union and company.

Chuck

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:04 AM
GIVE 'EM THE PICKLE!!!!! :)
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:45 AM
I think Mr. Snyder is looking at park chains like Disney to model the new and improved SF after. This can work, as long as they get people in each park's management team that enforces the rules of the upper management. The rule at Disney is "We can do anything at all, and we will do it with a smile." And they do. Disney has "plain clothes" workers that go through the lines to check these things and the attitude of the workers on a daily basis.

Imagine how much nicer a visit to SF would be if the ride ops cared more about the park and showed that they are enjoying their day as much as you are. At CP when you come back from a trip on Raptor, Mantis, Millie and such, the ride op asks you how was your ride....little things like that can make the guest park experience much more enjoyable.

SF can make this happen, and I thin Mr. Snyder is following a great model in Disney. They will eventually make this turnaround and make the company much better than it has been since before Premier took over.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 1:29 PM
I like how the article makes it sound like Six Flags just discovered something that nobody else does. Well, in a way that's true. I bet Kennywood, Knoebels, DelGrossos, etc. don't have too much budgeted for "corporate training."

No mention how much the contract was worth, but you figure SASI is going to need to have a training team at every park simultaneously to train people just before or at the start of the season to even attempt to do it right. How much training is a 17 year-old seasonal employee going to get-- or going to want to deal with?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry to think that people have to be "educated" to treat people with a modicum of respect and courtesy. Even worse, that someone is out there making big bucks doing the educating.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 1:32 PM
Charles, I've been really good about not picking on people too much about spelling and punctuation lately, but your first post had me worried, especially for someone who is five years older than me.

Anyway, for this all to work, there has to be frequent supervision. In other words, someone who oversees that area makes the rounds every hour or so. This also would be someone who the employees fear to a certain extent, and is dedicated to the companies values.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 1:41 PM
^Asking guests if they enjoyed their ride is a double-edged sword. It makes one feel like an idiot when they get no response.

LOL. I admit, I kid. I'd do it several trains in a row until it became apparent no one wanted to respond.

Back on topic, though, and this was mentioned in the version of this thread in the News section, a huge problem is when upper management doesn't care. Sure, everyone tells you you're doing a great job, but that's easy to say when they don't see. Mind you, you can't have a supervisor or member of upper management looking over your shoulder all day. There aren't enough people in management positions to do that. Thus, they must rely on sups, leads/managers (depending on where you work), etc., to look out for them. I had the privilege of having a lead who genuinely wanted those lines moving quickly and would deal with an issue personally if the basic team member was incapable of dealing with it themself. Problem is, there wasn't a whole lot in the way of disciplinary action he could do because he knew he wouldn't get anywhere if he tried (he may very well have tried or reported these incidents, but you get the point). I can't remember all the frustrating times where our crew would be moving at a snail's pace, not listening, and it's all because they knew they could get away with it. They basically stick it to the park with the mentality of, "Hey, I can do what I want however I want to, and if you want to stop me, fire me."

And you know what? They never lost their jobs. Yes, staffing was low enough at that particular time of year, but if it meant instilling fear and respect into everyone else, I'd fire a few employees and just have a few rides closed. Of course, staffing wasn't quite as bad as it seemed given that employees were walking around riding things because they had nothing to do. I once attempted (unsuccessfully, do to the fact that as far as seniority was concerned, I was low man on the totem pole and I definitely wasn't there long enough to be a lead) to kick a few employees out of a train! During operation, with some of the crew members blocking off a row for them! That's the kind of thing that frustrates me. I have nothing against the park or any of its employees, and I respect those who try, but it just seemed to me like everyone who should've been disciplining had just given up on it. And what do you do then? Those who would've disciplined have desk jobs and they got there for that very reason. They'll walk around the park, sure, but they can't be everywhere at once.

Sirloindude, who again reiterates that he has the highest hopes for his home park, and let's hope the park reaches its potential. *** Edited 1/25/2006 6:44:29 PM UTC by sirloindude***

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