June 20, 2014 – When you ask someone to rate how much they enjoyed their day at a theme park, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the number of attractions they went on and how much they enjoyed them. While that is a very crucial element, there’s a lot more than an individual’s ride count that goes into what makes an enjoyable day at a theme park like Universal Studios Hollywood.
When Transformers: The Ride – 3D first opened in May of 2012, many small changes regarding customer service were made in that attraction compared to the existing attractions around the park. With the opening of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem however, Universal’s push towards greater customer satisfaction became a park-wide mandate to increase the level of customer service to the average guest – a mandate that spanned from attraction operations and restaurants to park greeters and assistants.
Greeters are now positioned in front of most retail and restaurants within the park.
To serve as a basis of comparison, a Transformers: The Ride – 3D breakdown or delay usually results a slew of cast members rushing to provide guests a complimentary bag of candy and a method to skip the line for the attraction later in the day when it resumes operations.
In similar fashion, Fun Patrols have also been popping up with increasing regularity, to help entertain guests. Armed with squirt guns, candy and boom boxes, it really puts a smile on a lot of faces when people get caught up in the moment, getting a little reprieve from the heat, or singing and dancing along to the music. YouTube has a healthy amount of Fun Patrol clips, driving the point home that guests are both surprised by their existence and appreciating it at the same time.
With the success of Fun Patrol and the Transformers-led notion of customer service, Universal has embarked on a park wide mandate to increase the amount of attention given to guests. Alongside the aforementioned attraction perks, Universal has begun to embrace the idea of greeters for major restaurants and retail shops within the park, welcoming guests to their respective establishments and answering any initial lingering questions they may have. Indeed, Inside Universal has learned that food and retail managers have been encouraged to increase the level of interactivity between team members and guests, and to focus on guest satisfaction – more so than in the past.
Did your ride experience break down? Be on the lookout for complimentary Jelly Belly packets.
Park employees now line the streets during the park’s closing hours, waving at exiting guests.
Likewise, roaming team members have also been encouraged to assist guests in a proactive manner – taking group photos, answering navigational questions and attempting to gauge whether or not the guest is satisfied with their experience.
While none of these encounters are necessarily new, the increasing regularity of these interactions have all been the result of an internal push to increase guest satisfaction in proactive ways. With half the park under construction, Universal has attempted to bolster other areas of the guest experience in order to compensate the heavy development.
In the never-ending race among theme parks to build the biggest summer attraction, it’s sometimes nice to stop and appreciate all the other little touches and improvements that make a difference in the day, even if it’s nothing more than a cast member offering to help you take your picture or a high-five for wearing a birthday button.
Chris Glass is an editor for Inside Universal.
Chris is a Los Angeles native who grew up around some of the best theme parks in the world. His day job as a game programmer keeps him busy enough, but he still tries to find time on the weekends to get out to Universal Studios. He lives with a lingering guilt for not riding Back to the Future: The Ride enough times before it closed down, but there will always be Universal Studios Japan on his bucket list.
You may contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.