Service BEYOND Sanitation

Service BEYOND Sanitation

Candi Kelley is the Director of Training at TrainerTainment. Her experience in the entertainment & hospitality industry includes restaurant expertise, franchisee development, operational leadership, and much more. Her passion for great guest experience, training, and building others is evident in her day to day focus on building and sharing products and services that help teams SOAR!

We are definitely in an unprecedented time. Even though things may feel scary and uncertain, opportunity and innovation are also possible. These possibilities are visible each and every day. Hopefully, we’ve used some of this time to analyze the type of business we want to be when we reopen (and we will reopen!). I personally am obsessed with guest service, so If you haven’t spent some time thinking about your customer service standards, it might be a good time to add that to your list NOW.

Across the globe, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.

Although Customer Service should be a top priority for every business, it sure seems to have gotten complicated. Businesses use terms like Client Relations, Service Recovery, Positive Scripting, etc. While these words represent fantastic customer service initiatives, the core concept of great guest service remains.

Guests/Customers want to be treated in a respectful, consistent manner. When I think of the best customer service providers, (Chick-fil-A, Southwest, IHG), the thing that comes most to mind is consistency. Not one of these brands does anything that is magical, fantastical, or amazing. However, what they do is to consistently provide me with a great meal, travel accommodations, and experience. At times they make me feel a little special and they never fall below the basic promises they make to me, the guest!

Brands that accomplish this level of consistency build the trust needed to create loyal guests/customers. This type of fanatical consistency can be the foundation of your customer service experience. 87% of consumers believe that companies need to provide a more consistent customer experience. (Zendesk)

My challenge to you is to first lay out the foundation of consistency. Look at your processes. Are they followed by all? Were they created with the guest in mind? What needs to be improved to ensure the type of service level measures up to your guest’s expectations, and is delivered the same each and every time? Spend some energy to think about guest service from the consumer’s (not the business owner’s), perspective. Customers need to trust you will consistently deliver on your promises, rather than an occasional upgraded experience when it may be convenient for you.

In the weeks that come, I will share 4 additional steps that may help you build upon this great service foundation so you can S.O.A.R with a new excellent customer service strategy.

Only 1% of customers feel that their expectations of customer service are always met. – RightNow

If you want to talk through your processes or simply have an additional perspective, feel free to reach out to

I am here. What do you need?

What to do Now . . .

What to do Now . . .

Tired of Waiting?

I know each of us is tired of waiting or worrying about what’s next. Uncertainty can cause a bit of insanity. My solution to the uncertain, is always to take some type of action. If you want to stop waiting, do something. As I thought about the things that might be worked on now in planning to re-open, PEOPLE ring first and foremost in my mind.

Ready to Create Extraordinary?

As a business owner or a team member, this is a perfect time to make sure you are where you want to be. If you spend the time to make a list of all the characteristics and traits you want in a team member, or if you are a team member, in a job, then you have a guide to help you know who to bring back or whether or not you should go back to “business as usual”. Nothing is going to be ordinary. It a great time to create a new extraordinary situation for yourself and for the businesses that serve the public.

Please, I’m Begging You!

Please, I’m Begging You!

marliesmarlieMarlies is an amazing TrainerTainment team member. Her ability to keep us organized and take the lead on project and process development is second to none. In addition to her administrative powers, Marlies leads our management and leadership hiring initiatives. In 2019 Marlies helped our customers hire 15 General Managers, 13 Sales Managers, 2 Food & Beverage Directors, a Party Coordinator, and a Game Room Manager. Marlies values great service and communication. I hope you’ll enjoy her unique insight from a personal “lack of guest service” story. Everyone’s behavior in an organization has an impact on their brand. Take a peek at Marlies’ experience and answer her question below.


The time had come to make a change in service with the cable company. My decision to switch to internet TV streaming services came with a lot of thought and research. I was a customer with DirecTV for over ten years. In recent years, their constant price increases combined with service interruptions, dropping value, and negative customer service made the decision easy. I called customer service to terminate my account.


The customer service representative answered the line and in a robotic, static way went through the motions of verifying my account. Finally, with verification out of the way, the representative asked what she could do for me. I informed her that I would like to cancel my account. That caught her attention and the monotone sound of her voice changed suddenly to concern. She asked for me to please hold, cancellation requests required her to transfer me to a supervisor.


I was on hold for a few minutes before the supervisor answered. My patience was wearing thin. When he came onto the line he introduced himself as the regional supervisor for my service area to which I replied, “I’d like to cancel my account. Can you please help me with that?” He responded, “I’m sorry to hear that. May I ask for the reason why you want to cancel your account with us?” “I’m no longer happy with the products and services you provide.” I went on to inform him about my numerous encounters with the customer service team and the poor service received, as well as the service interruptions in my area. He said, “I apologize for the inconvenience and would like to make it up to you by offering a $400 discount on the renewal price if you stay with us.”


I asked, “How would a discount change the poor experience I’m having with DirecTV?” He couldn’t give me a specific answer to this question. But sweetened the pot and said, “I’ll give you a $200 gift card in addition to the $400 renewal discount. How does that sound?” I repeated my question about how a discount today would change my poor service experience overall.


I stood firm and was determined to cancel the account. Suddenly, the supervisor realized I was not going to change my mind and he raised his voice. He started screaming and literally crying into the phone, “PLEASE! I’m begging you! They’re going to fire me if I can’t renew your account. I have a wife and kids to feed!”

While shaken by his behavior, I told him, I was sorry to hear his company treats their team members so badly. I also suggested their treatment might be a direct reflection of the overall poor service your customers are receiving in my area. I went on to share that my hope was he didn’t get fired, but my decision stands – I would like to cancel my account now. His emotional outburst abruptly changed, and he switched over to being professional and collected in his demeanor. “Of course, I can help you with that. Give me a moment.”


I was amazed by this guy’s acting performance and at the same time disgusted. That was the end of my relationship with this TV provider. In that telephone conversation, the supervisor went from friendly to persuasive, angry and crying, to calm and collected. He probably thought of everything he could possibly offer to keep the customer. I was stunned at the extremes. A discount can’t overcome chronic poor service. I wonder if he still works for this company. I couldn’t deliver or try to support this lack of service.

To what lengths have you seen people go to make a sale or to keep a customer? How far would you go? Is there a financial number that would have made you stay? Do you think I made the right decision?

Who’s Your Brand Ambassador?

Who’s Your Brand Ambassador?

MarySouthwickI hope you enjoy Mary’s enthusiasm as she shares her extraordinary guest service experience in this week’s blog. We all encounter service providers and each team member is a terrific brand ambassador…. or not! For those of us who travel a lot, every little consideration can matter. I’d love to hear your great service story. Feel free to share on our blog.

Since moving to Comfort, TX my travels are a bit more complex than when I lived in the DFW area. It’s my habit to travel early in the day and often I spend the night at a nearby San Antonio airport hotel.

I play the game of first dropping my bags at the hotel (that way I don’t have to drag them all over the place). I then drive to the offsite economy parking lot at the airport. Finally, I transfer from economy parking to the airport terminal and then call the hotel shuttle to pick me up. I know it sounds convoluted, but it works better than leaving home at 2:30 a.m. to catch a 6:00 a.m. flight!

During last week’s travel, I had an amazing experience. Shuttle driver extraordinaire, Roger, picked me up. He asked if I had any bags and since I didn’t, I shared the economy parking, airport terminal, hotel shuffle I play to best utilize the shuttle. Roger got all excited and shared with me that he can pick me up directly from the airport economy parking lot (suggestive sale for the future). I was thrilled to get this news!

Now mind you, I have asked this question on many other shuttle rides and have never been given this information. I suspect those other drivers may have considered the extra stop at the economy parking lot to be a hassle.

But not Roger. He couldn’t quit being in service. He took his shuttle availability to the next level when he shared that in addition to making my pick-up more convenient, he could also drop me at any local restaurant within 3 miles or suggested I could even enjoy a meal at the hotel. Roger went on to name several places to eat and made suggestions for his favorites.

This kind of service is so helpful for people who are not from the area. His suggestive selling will land me at his favorite authentic Mexican restaurant next time.

My interaction with Roger was amazing. It was as if he owned the Hilton property he was driving for. He was so proud of all they had to offer to help make my stay the best experience it could be. Guess who’s only staying at the San Antonio Airport Hilton from now on. When you consider all the competition in the world today, doesn’t it make sense to cultivate the Rogers of the world.

Who are your brand ambassadors? Do they act as if they own the place? Do you make your guests feel like nothing is more important than they are right now?

You know what’s really cool? I don’t think Roger was trying to be extraordinary. I think he does all the ordinary things a shuttle driver is supposed to do and gives everyone of those little things a LOT of EXTRA!

Top 5 Tips to Grow Group Sales

Top 5 Tips to Grow Group Sales

Want to grow your group sales? Don’t even know where to begin? Sales can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. This week, we put together our top tips for growing group sales.

Have a Sales Champion

There is nothing more important to growing group sales than a dedicated sales champion. A sales champion inspires the whole center to be the best to keep guests coming back time after time for events. Imagine calling your food purveyor to inquire about a new product. How would you feel getting someone on the phone who doesn’t know what they are selling and couldn’t answer your questions? Even worse, what if no one ever answered the phone? When booking events, parents say they look for these things:

  1. Someone has to answer the phone. In today’s busy world, parents don’t have a lot of time, if they call now, answer now, or if not, they are moving on to the next venue on their list.
  2. The person who answers the phone needs to be friendly, know the product, and be knowledgeable or they lose trust.

The sales champion may be one of the most important roles in the center. How do you make sure they are staying on track and increasing sales? They have to be involved with the goals and that leads us to tip number 2.

Get a Scorecard with KPI’s in Place

KPIs are Key Performance Indicators. It is your goal broken down into mini weekly goals. KPIs are what keep us on track toward achieving our objectives. A scorecard is a place where we put those goals and track them each week. Make sure they know what their goals are,  and have them tracked. It’s easy to see when you are off track and get ahead before it’s too late.

Outbound Efforts

Don’t wait for business to come to you. There will always be clients who call the center to book events because they are already guests and know how great you are. Reach out to new businesses and expand your network! Plan each day with a power hour to kick start your day. Nothing is more important than to plant the seeds and watch the harvest come in. If we allow sales to come merely through inbound efforts, it will be too late to recover when the phones go silent.

Call Everyone!

What do arcade games, laser tag, or bowling have to do with a dentist office or mechanic’s business? EVERYTHING! It doesn’t matter what industry people work in, everyone has holiday parties. Even more have team building events, summer picnics, team appreciation, and more. If they don’t, why not put the thought in their head? Stay away from the temptation of thinking a certain business would never use your facility for their small, medium, or large events because you may just be surprised.

Get Out in The Center and Talk to Guests

Our sales teams shouldn’t stay in an office all day. A great way to get a break and be productive is to get out of the office, into the center, and talk to guests who are already there.
Summer is a great time to be out in the center. Look for parents on laptops, for example. They may be working from home, and you could talk with them about what kind of events their company has and even get contact information for the person who plans the events. The point is, you will get loads of feedback about why they love your center, what keeps them coming back, and maybe even a recommendation to a friend or business.

Bonus! Learn Sales Processes that Work!

Our upcoming August Advanced Sales Conference is a great way to get your team on the right track!  We are getting together with a bunch of extraordinary people just like you on August 21st & 22nd at Jake’s Unlimited in Mesa AZ.  (I know, it will be HOT), but fortunately, all the work we will do is inside Jake’s beautiful facility!

A Heart as Big as Texas

I love Texas!

Really what I mean by that is I love my hometown of Houston. I was born and raised here and tell people all the time I live in the greatest city in the world! If you have turned on a TV in the past week, you have seen the devastation that hit the Gulf Coast. Yes, not just Houston but the 52+ counties affected by Hurricane Harvey.

During the past week, we have seen people from all over our state and, quite frankly, our country, come together. They’ve helped with rescue, demo of homes, and clean up. They are working shelters, bringing in donations of food, water, clothing, and other much-needed supplies. It truly has been amazing. I wanted to spotlight some of the work that’s been done and then give you ideas on how to give back to your community, particularly with the holiday season coming up.

Bowling Center Opens Doors to Hurricane Refugees

Our dear friends at Max Bowl in Port Arthur, Texas opened their doors and became a shelter for those seeking refuge from flood waters. Not only did they open their doors, the café was feeding everyone, too. This story literally brought tears to my eyes. Opening their doors was an overwhelming example of how the bowling and FEC community gave back to their community.

Local Trampoline Park Donates Proceeds to JJ Watt Hurricane Relief Fund

Another amazing example is Urban Air in Spring, Texas, just a few miles from my house. For two days they donated all proceeds to JJ Watt’s Foundation for Hurricane Harvey Relief. It was a great way to get the kids out and let parents have time for clean up as the neighborhoods around the corner were severely flooded.

School Supply Drive to Support Gulf Coast Schools

Here at TrainerTainment, education is a huge priority for us. We are educators in every sense of the word, so we started a school supply drive. In Houston ISD, 52 schools were severely damaged and another 27 had damage that could be repaired within a few months. Port Aransas Texas schools have been so damaged, they do not plan on opening for the rest of the year and are diverting students to other districts. These students are our team members. They are our party hosts, cashiers, ride operators, and game room attendants. Our goal is to provide school supplies so we can get kiddos back in school and have some sense of normalcy.

Ideas to Give Back to Your Community

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of all of our friends and clients in Florida who are getting ready for Hurricane Irma. People there will have the same needs. Here are some ideas of how you can help with either recovery effort.

  1. School Supply/Food/Toy Drive – These types of drives are easy to set up and don’t require a lot of work. Advertise you are collecting food, school supplies, or even toys for an organization. Have a special offer such as a free attraction or maybe even a BOGO for donating an item.
  2. Plan a fundraising night. It’s fun and easy. Encourage people to come in your center and then give a portion of the day’s sales back to the organization.
  3. Create a special package – You can run this for a night or an entire month. Create a special package that includes food, drinks, and fun and give a portion of each package sold to the organization of your choice.
  4. Match Grant – Allow local organizations to host a fundraiser and match it! Set the amount you are willing to match up to giving them the opportunity to double their fundraising efforts.
  5. #GivingTuesday – Show your support for a local organization. Have your team members bring in donations. Use social media to let your fans know you support the specific organization, that you are collecting for them, and encourage them to participate.
  6. Go Big! Host a bowling tournament or big event at your center.

I hope this will give you ideas on how you can help. If you would like more info on how to execute one of these ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Just shoot an email to

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