PARK SPY — FALL 2019

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In the era of immediate customer service, social media and messenger services can often be the first place guests go for a quick answer. So Park Spy went digital and posed various questions to operations via Facebook Messages. Some of the operations we reached out to were on top of it, others left our Spy in the dark.

It was an interesting experiment. It’s clear there is definitely room for improvement the aerial adventure world over. The answers here are lightly edited and paraphrased to keep the identities of parks anonymous, but revealing nonetheless.

If you have a question that would be good for our Park Spy, email it to sarah@adventureparkinsider.com.

 

Question 1: Hey, can you tell me what your zip line is like? Thinking of going with some friends.

Park #1, CO
API (Tuesday, 11:58 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 9:57 a.m.): Hi, we are the only ones located in a nature park. We operate some of the state’s longest and fastest zip lines! Check out our YouTube videos. (link).

Response Time: 22 hours
Score: 6
Comment: Not the fastest response, but major points on the YouTube videos. Not only are they a great marketing tool, they give a fantastic overview of what the experience would be like for an interested guest.

 

Park #2, UT
API (Wednesday, 10:15 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 10:15 a.m.): Thank you for your message. This is an automated response to let you know that we will typically respond within 24 hours. We look forward to talking to you.
Staff (Saturday, 2:18 p.m.): Hey! We offer a more traditional zip line course. You will mostly be zip lining up to height, there are only a few flights of stairs on the course depending on which course you opt for. We offer 3 different zip line courses – see below for prices and descriptions. (Provided package information and pricing) You can visit our website at (website) for more details on each tour. All tours require reservations. Hope this helps!

Response Time: 3.5 days
Score: 4
Comment: Automated responses with estimated response times are great, as long as you actually respond somewhere close to the estimated time frame. Points for providing lots of information when they did actually respond, though.

 

Park #3, HI
API (Wednesday, 10:16 a.m.): Stated question.
Seen 2:48 p.m.
API (Friday, 2:18 p.m.):
Hi, just following up to see if you can help me out.

Score: 0
Response time: Still waiting…
Comment: So, you know how Facebook shows when messages are viewed? That means you can’t use the excuse that you didn’t see it—it means that you ignored it. Shame on you for leaving the Spy hanging!

 

Park #4, SC
API (Wednesday, 10:15 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 11:54 a.m.): Good Morning! Our 2-hour canopy tour is actually an ecology tour where our guides teach you about local flora and fauna as well as a bit of area history. The tour is comprised of 8 interconnected ziplines, ending in our 900 ft. dual racing zip. Videos of the tour can be found on our website at (website) if you would like more information.

Response Time: 1 hour 39 minutes
Score: 8
Comment: Quick response, clear answer, and directions on where to find more information. Nice work!

 

Question 2: Are you offering any discounts right now?

Park #5, FL
API (Wednesday, 10:18 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 10:36 p.m.): We will start a discount campaign later in the summer. But we are priced lower than most area adventure parks already.
API (the following Tuesday, 10:48 a.m.): Where would I find out about those discounts when they become available?
Staff (Tuesday, 2:45 p.m.): Right here! We post details to our Facebook page when we run discounts!

Initial Response Time: 12 hours 18 minutes
Score: 5
Comment: Not the best response time on the first go-round. Much better with the follow up response.

 

Park #6, NY
API (Wednesday, 10:20 a.m.): Stated question.

Response Time: Still waiting…
Score: 0
Comment: If you aren’t going to have someone checking your social media messages, for heaven’s sake, just turn them off.

 

Park #7, NC
API (Wednesday, 10:20 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 10:50 a.m.): Hey! Thanks for reaching out! Unfortunately, we are not running any discounts right now. We typically only offer specials a few times a year. Would you happen to be current or former military, first responder, etc.?
API (Wednesday, 10:53 a.m.): No, I’m not, but for the other discounts, where would I find out about those when they become available?
Staff (Wednesday, 11:45 a.m.): We usually advertise any specials on Facebook and via email. Are you local to the area? We sometimes do Black Friday gift certificate deals as well!
API (Wednesday, 11:55 a.m.): Great! Thanks so much, I’ll keep an eye out on Facebook for those.
Staff (Wednesday, 11:56 a.m.): Awesome! Let me know if I can help with anything else!

Response Time: 33 minutes
Score: 9
Comment: Fast response time, friendly, and gave a ton of opportunities to turn the Spy into a guest. Nice work!

 

Park #8, CT
API (Wednesday, 10:20 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 11:43 a.m.): Hi! Check out our website for more information on our Twilight Climb and Glow in the Park, they are both a little bit less expensive! Or if you’re a student, bring your school ID for 15% off your ticket. (website)

Response Time: 1 hour 23 minutes
Score: 7
Comment: Good response time and provided specific information about two potential options, plus the all-important web address.

 

Question 3: I’ve never been before, how do I dress?

Park #9, MT
API (Wednesday, 10:22 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 10:22 a.m.): Thanks for messaging us! We will get back to you as soon as possible… (website url)
Staff (Wednesday, 10:28 a.m.): We recommend that you wear some good movement clothes because some of the obstacles are rather difficult. But people come and wear jeans all the time.

Response Time: 6 minutes
Score: 7
Comment: Great response time, but this operation has an even better description on its website of what to wear. Minus points for failing to alert the Spy to that.

 

Park #10, TN
API (Wednesday, 10:22 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 10:22 a.m.): Thanks for messaging us. We try to be as responsive as possible. We’ll get back to you soon. In the meantime, check out our website which is chock-full of information (website).
Staff (Wednesday, 10:25 a.m.): However you are most comfortable, shorts, pants, leggings, etc. … I wouldn’t recommend a skirt unless you wear something under it (don’t want to get caught in a wind tunnel). Closed toed shoes are preferred however anything works, and if you ride the X and have on slides or flip flops you will just take them off!! Hope that helps! You will have a great time!!

Response Time: 3 minutes
Score: 10
Comment: And that’s how it’s done, people. Lightning fast response, genuine tone, and helpful info ftw.
Identity Revealed: Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park

 

Park #11, CO
API (Wednesday, 10:22 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 10:49 a.m.): Hi, what type of activity are you interested in participating in?
API (Wednesday, 11:54 a.m.): I was thinking of mountain biking!
Staff (Thursday, 5:12 p.m.): I would recommend dressing how you would dress to hike and have layers available as the weather can change very quickly. If you are renting a bike, I would also highly recommend a helmet and check in with the person assisting you to see if they have any further recommendations. I hope this helps!

Response Time: First response, 27 minutes. Second response, 17 hours 18 minutes
Score: 6
Comment: Great on the original response time, but if you’re asking follow up questions check and see if your guest responded by the end of the day.

 

Park #12, AL
API (Wednesday, 10:22 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (the following Tuesday, 11:46 p.m.): Hello! Anything comfortable for a long hike/walk. You’ll climb 6 towers totaling around 450 stairs. Close-toed shoes are required, so no sandals or flip flops.

Response Time: 6.5 days
Score: 2
Comment: Not only did it take six days, but who is managing your Facebook messages at 11:46 p.m.?

 

Question 4: I’ve called and I can’t seem to get through to anyone to make a reservation. Can you help?

Park #13, TX
API (Wednesday, 10:24 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 4:00 p.m.): Hi! I’m so sorry you have been experiencing difficulty reaching us, we are working on fixing this ASAP. What day are you interested in booking for? My name is (name) and I can help you get booked!
API (the following Tuesday, 10:50 a.m.): Thanks! I wasn’t sure of the day and just wanted to check availability for my friends and I. Is there a direct line I can call?
Staff (Tuesday, 12:31 p.m.): You can call (number) but the office is closed until Thursday morning. You can also email us at (email) and someone can respond to you quicker that way!!

Response Time: First response, 5 hours 36 minutes. Second response, 1 hour 41 minutes
Score: 6
Comment: Decent response time, and putting a name to the person behind the curtain is a great way to connect the guest to your operation.

 

Park #13, SC
API (Wednesday, 10:27 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 11:46 a.m.): Yes, of course! I am sorry you have been having trouble. Our office number is (number). Feel free to give us a call to make a reservation or you can make one online at (website). If you would like to leave your phone number, I can have someone call you as well.
API (Wednesday, 1:02 p.m.): Thanks!
Second contact (Wednesday, 2:59 p.m.): Hi this is (staff) what phone number are you using?
API (Wednesday, 3:12 p.m.): I was using the office number suggested above.

Response Time: 1 hour 19 minutes
Score: 6
Comment: Love the initial response. The second one, though—while I understand it’s important to get to the bottom of an issue, it seemed a bit pointed.

 

Park #14, WI
API (Wednesday, 10:29 a.m.): Stated question.
API (the following Tuesday, 12:00 p.m.): Re-stated question.
Staff (Tuesday, 12:23 p.m.): I’m so sorry, did you get thru yet? I can’t do a reservation here, but you can go to our website, or you can just walk up to our ticket booth at (address) (website) Again, sorry for the inconvenience I guess we are shorthanded on the phones today.

Response Time: 23 minutes when question was re-sent.
Score: 1
Comment: What if I didn’t follow up? In six days, most customers have already moved on.

 

Park #15, NH
API (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.): Stated question.
Staff (Wednesday, 10:48 a.m.): Good morning, if you could please give us a call at (number) we would be more than happy to help you book your tour and answer any questions that you may have. Thank you.

Response Time: 18 minutes
Score: 7
Comment: Super quick response, and certainly polite enough.

 

Debrief: Your operation’s social media channels are not just a marketing tool—they’re a direct line of communication to your guests, and it goes both ways. If your operation has messaging enabled on your various platforms, you must have someone monitoring it who is knowledgeable about your operation and can respond quickly.

Facebook tracks everything, including how fast you respond, and gives your page a response rating based on that metric. It may seem like yet another thing you have to do for your social media channels, but this is an opportunity to achieve that “Very Responsive to Messages” badge that tells guests you are paying attention to them.

How do you achieve that? It’s actually pretty easy. Have a 90 percent response rate with an average response time of five minutes or less over a seven-day period. Only have someone on during business hours? Take advantage of that “Away” feature to protect your response analytics and keep guests aware of your availability to respond to questions.

The fact is, if someone is messaging you on Facebook, they’re probably just looking for a quick and easy answer. Make sure they can get it!

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