Tips & Best Practices for Family Entertainment Centers

The Ideal Guest Service Candidate

Walks like…
Talks like…
Looks like…
Acts like…
Smells like…
Sounds like..

I would encourage you to take 5 minutes (or even 2) to complete these sentences. I’ve had the great fortune to speak at several state meetings in the last 8-10 weeks and the hot topic of conversation is all about “people”.

A friend of mine often says, “business is just great-except for the people.” The question of how to motivate others and how to find great people seem to be the hot topic of the day. I believe that if we start with completing the sentences above that it will be a lot easier to manage the motivation question.

I think that sometimes we settle. Instead of holding fast to only hiring ideal candidates we just take the first guy or gal that comes along. I say we, because I know that I talked myself into substandard candidates in the past because I didn’t want to work the overnight shift. I think that if we are all honest with ourselves, we’ve all made that same choice.

I also believe that many people have not completed the exercise above. If you take the time to really define the characteristics of “YOUR IDEAL Guest Service person” then you’ll have a great place to start when it comes to hiring new employees. You’ll also have a great point of reference that you can use to inspire, motivate, or move an existing employee up or out the door! You have to determine what you want and then stick to that. Don’t settle. Can you imagine what would happen to your service model?

We could nominate this week as “Set Your Standards” week. I’m so committed to this exercise that I’m willing to reward you for taking 5 minutes of your life to declare your standards. 5 minutes to focus on who you really want to represent you and your business. You and your entire team would benefit.

If you’ll take on the task of describing the characteristics that an “ideal guest service person” needs in order to work at your location, then I’ll send you an electronic copy of our Great Guest Service workbook. We don’t sell it. It’s only available at workshops. I’m serious, if you’ll go to our blog and complete the exercise above, I’ll send you this fantastic workbook. Make sure I have your email.

As always, I’m grateful and inspired that you take time each week to read our newsletter. Thank you. I hope you have the biggest weekend of the month!




  1. Kathleen on October 25, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I think this was for my benefit??????????????????????????????????

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 8:26 am

      Yes Kathleen…DO the exercise ; ) !!!

  2. Sarah Brown on October 25, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Walks like… Stands up straight, shoulders back, chin up – appearing approachable
    Talks like… Good grammar with a smile in their voice. Loud enough for everyone to hear them.
    Looks like… Clean, friendly, approachable
    Acts like… They really WANT to be there and want to make our customers experience a great one
    Smells like… Does NOT smell. Hmm.. bumble gum scent might be good.
    Sounds like.. Someone you would want to come back to see again because you truly enjoyed way they made you feel.

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 8:27 am


      Thank you so much! I think bumble gum scent might work too!

  3. Amy Madson on October 25, 2012 at 8:05 am

    The ideal Cool Team Member:
    Walks like…they have confidence in themselves, yet aren’t afraid to be silly
    Talks like…they have all the energy in the world and love life
    Looks like…neat/clean with a great big sincere smile on their face
    Acts like…a respsonsible, yet fun loving person
    Smells like…clean…maybe laundry soap or just out of the shower
    Sounds like… someone the kids and parents can relate to – accents and dictation are flexible as long as they can communicate to the guests!! We appreciate diversity at Cool de Sac!
    Amy Madson – Director of Operations – Cool de Sac

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 8:27 am


      You are always right on the money! Thank you.


  4. Jim Leonard on October 25, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Walks like a professional
    Talks like a professional
    Looks like a professional
    Acts like a professional
    Smells like a professional
    Sounds like a professional

    Then they are what I am looking for

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 8:32 am

      So Jim,

      I would encourage you to expand on your word professional. You and I might view professional very differently from one another and I can bet that our staff has their own ideas too. More words words man ; ). The more specific we can be the better we communicate to others… Just a thought… AND thank you for jumping into the conversation today. I really appreciate it!


  5. Tom Godfrey on October 25, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Walks like… they are confident about their job
    Talks like… they have been trained well and have the answers to their customers inquires
    Looks like.. they are on point as far as dress code and reflect the company’s high standaed
    Acts like…they are glad to be where they are and not just pulling hours
    Smells like…the air of confidence
    Sounds like..they understand the customer is king!

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 8:45 am


      You are right on of course!!!



  6. Bobbi Burke on October 25, 2012 at 8:47 am

    The Ideal Guest Service Candidate…..
    Walks Like…. they are confident, don’t move at turtle pace, and they acknowledge everyone around them.
    Talks Like… speaks with intelligence and with a friendly, appropriate tone.
    Looks Like… neat appearance, genuine smile.
    Acts Like… they care.
    Smells Like…. clean.
    Sounds Like… they are engaged with the situation they are in and the people they are surrounded by.

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 8:54 am


      You are awesome. Thanks for you input this morning!


  7. Bobbi Burke on October 25, 2012 at 8:57 am

    oops *doesn’t* move at turtle pace

    Thanks, Beth! You Rock!

  8. joann on October 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

    walks like … he/she wants to get where he is going and knows the way
    talks like … they care about what they are saying with intent and knowledge tempered with compassion and concern
    looks like … they took time to ready for work — clean, contemporary well groomed giving good impression of the company
    acts like … it was the First day of their job so excited to be here
    smells like … doesn’t but if need be a beautiful sunny day
    sounds like … they truly care looking in the receiver’s eye and balancing quiet with talking

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 9:11 am


      I love how you said that they walk like they WANT to get to where they are going and that they know the way! That’s beautiful. I appreciate your participation in the exercise.


  9. Christine Swahn on October 25, 2012 at 9:16 am

    walks like…they have a purpose, very confident and approachable
    talks like…they have an understanding of the questions and a command of the answer
    looks like…they are neat and in uniform, they care about themselves and the impression they reflect
    acts like…they care, for themselves, the customer, the other staff and the company
    smells like…clean, but not over powering in cologne or perfume
    sounds like…strong and confident, friendly and caring

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 9:20 am


      Thanks for your answers. I love how specific you are. I am also noticing a strong theme of confidence. You know people won’t be confident without a lot of training. It is a constant! Thanks for participating in the communication today!


  10. Sandra Levin on October 25, 2012 at 9:26 am

    The Ideal Guest Service Candidate

    Walks like…someone with places to go and people to see, someone with a purpose in mind and not just meandering.

    Talks like…someone that is focusing on you and intuitively feels what you need, repeats back your request correctly and makes you feel that for that one instant you are the pinpointed focus of their world.

    Looks like…someone that belongs in their position, radiates an aura of confidence, is wearing identifiable clothing or badge to show who they are and what they do. Their appearance and demeanor is that of someone that is approachable.

    Acts like…they are happy to see you and is a stellar representative of the business.

    Smells like…someone that is clean and fresh.

    Sounds like..they are knowledgeable, happy and and have a voice that isn’t grating. Talking too much is almost as bad as talking too little. Someone that tries to draw out the customer and find out about them, not talking about themselves.

  11. Brian Jackson on October 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

    ” Like you own the place ”

    I was taught years ago that in any job that I had ” work like you own the place because someday you might ” Every job I have had from the age of 17 I would say this in my mind and had it written on my wall at home. I have this on the wall in the staff room at my center now for my managers and staff to see.

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:09 am


      This is such a great adage. I still think it’s a good idea to get specific about what ownership looks like because that might be different for me and you! Thanks for jumping into the conversation this morning and I’d love to have a copy of your sign!


  12. Karla on October 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Walks like they have a purpose
    Talks like an individual that is truly concerned with providing the customer with the information they requested
    Looks like an enthusiastic individual that loves what he/she is doing
    Acts like a professional
    Smells like -someone that is clean
    Sounds like a knowledgeable professional that is passionate about the product

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:10 am


      I love passion ; ). If we could inspire every employee to be as passionate about the products we sell… woooo how good could that be!


  13. Julie Straetmans on October 25, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Walks like…….they have purpose
    Talks like……a winner, cheerful with clean clear voice
    Looks like…….. professional, well groomed
    Acts like…. They are motivated & really want to work for you!
    Smells like…..shouldnt really have a smell
    Sounds like….They can get job done, and they are the perfect cantidate for the position

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:12 am


      Good comments for sure. On looks like, be specific, this is a great place to input a dress code. Collared shirt, tucked in, pressed, black slacks… you know describe professional. Enjoy your new workbook. I’d love to know what you think.


  14. ILene on October 25, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Our Customer Service Reps and Desk Personnel should:
    Walk confident, have a mission on where they are going and what they are doing.
    Talk like they know our center, inside and out. Excited and believe what they say.
    Look approachable wearing their company shirt and name tag.
    Act like they want to be here.
    Smell fresh and clean, be proud of who they are and who they represent.
    Sound positive and enthusiastic

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:36 am

      Awesome Ilene ; ) … I have found that when you are positive and enthusiastic others want whatever it is you have! Thanks for you input ; )


  15. Greg on October 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Walks like… they are on a mission, being confident in what they are doing.
    Talks like… a person that the client would enjoy talking to, and being able to change this to fit different people.
    Looks like… A respectable well kept individual that takes pride in their appearance.
    Acts like… a responsible, trustworthy person that values their job.
    Smells like… nothing. I do not want my staff to smell whether good or bad!
    Sounds like.. A well spoken individual, confident in what they are doing and respectful to others.

    I always try to remember, if this staff member is the only person my customers happen to make contact with, how will they represent us as a whole?

  16. Elisabeth on October 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Walks with energy
    Talks like honest, positive person
    Looks like a friendly, caring human being
    Acts like straight forward
    Smells not all
    Sounds like a person you want to have around

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:18 pm


      I love the Honest comment! I’d love to make a list of all of these great traits and then create check boxes. When you talk to a potential “new” employee make sure you could check every box or don’t hire them! Right?

      Thanks for joining in the communication,


  17. Brandon on October 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Walk: Walk with a sense of confidence and purpose
    Talk: Talk like they know the business inside and out and are excited about it!
    Look: I want them to look presentable with a huge smile and fun running through their veins
    Act: Act like their job is to positively influence everyone around them. Genuinely touch peoples lives.
    Smell: Clean and fresh
    Sound: I want everything that comes out of their mouth to be full of positive energy full of excitement and fun

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:14 pm


      I keep seeing the recurring theme of confidence and product knowledge. I tell you I think both of these things really go hand in hand! Thank you for your contribution Brandon.



  18. Robert on October 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Walks like…they have confidence, purpose and meaning.
    Talk like…they are full of energy, have good grammar, friendly, are very understanding, believe what they say and talk with full engagement with everyone around them.
    Looks like…they are approachable, have a big smile, professional appearance, well groomed and look fully engaged.
    Acts like…they love what they do, they want to be there, professional, motivating and have a purpose.
    Smells like…fresh and clean.
    Sounds like…a professional who has fun doing what they do, understands the true customer experience, they take pride in what they do and stand for and are always fully engaged mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm


      Beautifully SAID!

      Thank you,


  19. Bradley Gorringe on October 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Walks like…….They are excited to show you around.
    talks like……loud and clear. Roger
    Looks like…….A NASCAR Pit Crew member
    Acts like…. They are motivated & really want to work for you!
    Smells like…..They just got put of the shower
    Sounds like….They are excited to get the job done, and they are the perfect candidate for the position

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm


      There is a TON of energy in your type. I can feel your “charge”… I like it a lot!



  20. Terri on October 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    We all should:
    Walk like we have confidence and with purpose.
    Talk like we are informed (and be informed) of the center’s services and speak with a smile in our voice.
    Look like we are happy to help and our customers are not a bother.
    Act like we want to help and make that customer in front of us feel like the King/Queen of the world.
    Smell like nothing
    Sound like we are understanding of a customer’s need and again be happy to help them.
    I’m thinking my answers might be more in line for current employees and potential new hires would have items added to these.

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm


      Nice observation about these answers being more in line for current employees… What items would you add for new employees? Thanks for stopping in ; ).


  21. Rebecca Hernandez on October 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Walks like….with confidence, head held up, standing straight
    Talks like…..they have the answer, if not they will find it, willingness to listen as well
    Looks like….. approachable, they like being at their job, aware of their surroundings
    Acts like….they are willing to help, they know their facilities systems and policies.
    Smells like….breath mints, a nice showered smell. LOL
    Sounds like..they are confident in their answers, and are willing to find solutions.

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:10 pm


      I’m glad to know that you all are still paying attention to TrainerTainment stuff! It is funny to ask the “smells” like question but oh how appropriate at times! Thanks for your input.


  22. Daizy Maldonado on October 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    This is a great exercise for everyone, thank you for sharing! I’ve learned that one has to ..

    Walks like… – they have purpose
    Talks like… – speaks with passion
    Looks like… looks neat & approachable
    Acts like… a professional & caring person
    Smells like… clean linen
    Sounds like.. sound confident as well as professional.

    Thank you again!

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm


      Speaks with passion ; ). I also think approachable is key to great interaction. Thank you for your contribution to the conversation!


  23. Ian on October 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Walks like…They are excited and happy to be at work (no shoulders slouched or hunched over)
    Talks like… They can hold a conversation using proper English
    Looks like… A professional. Shirt tucked in, well groomed, no holes in their clothes, no over the top piercings or tattoos.
    Acts like… a fun and upbeat person, talks to the children in an excited manner and adults the the same way or professionally (have to be able to read people and decide how to best interact with them)
    Smells like… Enthusiasm… and someone who has showered today.
    Sounds like… They enjoy their job. (no complaining and negativity)

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm


      Smells like enthusiasm made me smile ; ). Thanks for stopping by and giving this some thought!


  24. Sharrie on October 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Walks like… with confidence and ready to complete task at hand
    Talks like… good grammar, compassionate and honest looking everyone in the eye
    Looks like… always wearing a smile, neat, clean, in proper uniform
    Acts like… they are happy to be here, leaves personal conversations at home
    Smells like… clean, light perfume, or peppermint:)
    Sounds like… pleasant, knowlegeable about the products/ services offered

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm


      I really appreciate you taking the time to do this exercise.


  25. Juliet on October 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Great guest service representatives should….

    Walk with a spring in their step, excited to get where they are going, eyes focused on the prize “customer”
    Talk like they are talking to the most important person in the world, with the utmost respect and dedication, making that person feel how important they are.
    Looks like they payed attention to the details of looking their best, with a smile as big as the sun on their face!
    Act like there is nothing more important than making our guest have the best day ever, and that they are happy and excited to deliver that service.
    Smell like freshness, not to overpowering.
    Sound like they are happy and excited to be spending time with our guest, of course the smile on the face helps to make you sound happy!

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      Thank you Juliet… YOU model that kind of behavior with every step you take ; ).


  26. Steve Schneider on October 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Walks like… someone who has the confidence in what they do, looks like they are approachable, and is enthusiastic to help out.

    Talks like… someone who knows their business and listens to what others have to say before repeating what may be the company line. They’ll also know when the “company line” won’t be the correct solution.

    Looks like… a professional. Nice, comfortable clothes, wearing the company shirt so all can spot them as an employee of the company.

    Acts like… a friendly, approachable, and excited person. Willing to help any and all customers.

    Smells like… money? Seriously, smells like they have a hygiene ethic and they aren’t shoveling b.s.

    Sounds like.. a friend, someone who can help any and all customers. Listens to problems and then solves them the best way they can on an individual basis.

    • admin on October 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm


      Thanks so much! I love sounds like a friend. Everyone wants to be comfortable!


  27. Laura Greene on October 26, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Walks like…someone with a lot of confidence, ready to take on the day
    Talks like…a person with genuine friendliness and with a lot of professionalism
    Looks like…someone who takes pride in their appearance, well kept
    Acts like…they really truly wouldn’t want to be anywhere but here
    Smells like…their clothes are clean, no overpowering perfume/cologne
    Sounds like…they know their grammer and truly care how they come across to others

    • admin on October 27, 2012 at 8:57 am


      Thank you for your comments. I love your sounds like comment. I don’t think everyone needs to have a giant vocabulary but knowing grammar and caring about how they come across to others is a GREAT way to describe how we want our staff to talk with others! Great explanation!


  28. Mandy on October 26, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Walks like…a rock star- confident, approachable, but knows they are good at what they do
    Talks like…someone you want to be friends with- positive, helpful, with personality
    Looks like…a good representative of your business- clean, clearly identifiable, approachable to anyone of any age
    Acts like…the humble expert of your business- knowledgeable in a friendly way, down to earth
    Smells like…clean- okay maybe like a cheeseburger just to drum up some snack bar business =)
    Sounds like..kind, happy to see you, like you just walked into Cheers!

    • admin on October 27, 2012 at 8:58 am


      You KNOW I love, “walks like a rock star!” Did you share this with your team? I think this is an AWESOME way to better define what you are looking for in your staff! Thank you for doing the exercise ; ).


  29. Tonia on October 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Walks like… they know what they are doing
    Talks like… the love their job
    Looks like… clean and approachable
    Acts like… they care about you
    Smells like… they are clean
    Sounds like.. they are confident and friendly

    • admin on October 27, 2012 at 9:00 am


      GREAT-To the point, easy to remember! I hope you put this up for your team. It’s hard to get it our of our heads into the hearts of our employees. You did a great job. They can remember everyone of these and make it their credo about how they are supposed to show up every day. AWESOME : )


  30. Deborah on October 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Walks… confidently
    Talks… enthusiastically
    Looks… cheerful
    Acts… industrious
    Smells… clean
    Sounds… knowledgeable

    • admin on October 27, 2012 at 9:01 am


      You did the same thing Tonia did with the compact way to list your expectations. I’d love to hear how your staff responded when you put it out their to them ; ).

      Thank you for playing!


  31. Sandy on October 27, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Walks like…they know exactly whats going on, aware and confident
    Talks like…they know exactly what should happen next, knowledgeable about the business
    Looks like…anyone could approach them, very friendly and approachable
    Acts like…you are their family and closest friend, absolutely cares about what your experience will be
    Smells like…clean
    Sounds like….they care!!!

    • admin on October 28, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Approachable and caring…

      What a great team member!

      Thanks Sandy,


  32. Denise on October 30, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Walks like….they are sure of themselves
    Talks like….they are positive, passionate and happy
    Looks like….they are approachable and friendly
    Acts like…..they are proud representatives of the business and willing to help at all times
    Smells like….they have taken the time to make themselves presentable
    Sounds like….they are knowledgeable and wanting to WOW the guests

    • admin on November 1, 2012 at 7:11 am


      I like “sure of themselves”… I think that goes along well with the confidence theme that people are talking about! Really appreciate YOU taking the time to comment here on the blog!


  33. Meridee McFalls on October 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Walks like ….. they are on a mission to get things done yet stops to smile at every customer.
    Talks like…. they are confident in their job but stops to listen too.
    Looks like …. friendly, approachable, fun to be around and is always smiling
    Acts like… they have my best interest at mind and is calm and collect when problems arise
    Smells like … fresh laundry soap or anything not stinky lol
    Sounds like… confident, knowledgeable, friendly and like they care about their job and how they do their job.

    • admin on October 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm


      Thanks so much for your input.


  34. Lisa Campbell on November 13, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Walks like…They are in control of the situation
    Talks like…they are educated
    Looks like…They are well groomed and put together
    Acts like…they are equipped to take on the world
    Smells like…they are “clean”
    Sounds like..They are eger to help

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