Event Network is a data driven organization and the attractions with whom we work are too. That’s why we decided to partner with retail analytics company TruRating to collect feedback from our guests on the level of service they experience in our stores. We are sharing what we’ve learned with our partners, celebrating our results with our teams, and acting on opportunities to take our guest service to the next level.
For 25 years Event Network has operated retail stores for some of the most extraordinary experiential attractions in the U.S. including zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, historic sites, gardens, and resorts. No two stores are the same, as we bring our singular focus on creating bespoke product assortments and unique store environments to every partnership. With each partnership, we acknowledge our obligation to represent their mission and brand throughout the retail space in the same manner in which it is expressed throughout the experience. We take that responsibility very seriously and the result has been a track record of increased revenue for our partners. In 2022, we identified TruRating as a company who could help us elevate our guest service and maintain consistency across all partnerships through their data collecting platform.
TruRating is a three-time award-winning retail data analytics company that collects guest feedback by integrating their survey platform into our point-of-sale system. Guests are asked one question (out of 7 rotating questions). The process is designed to take mere seconds to collect a single, “in the moment” rating. Responses are compared across time periods and stores and then integrated with additional data sources to identify staffing and coaching opportunities.
A list of guest focused questions is combined with TruRating’s “industry standard” questions which provide us with a Net Promotor Score (NPS). An NPS is a commonly used rating in the retail industry that has never before been used in a cultural attraction retail environment. This data point is the result of taking the number of guests who are advocates for your service and subtracting those that did not have a positive experience. It is essentially the number of fans minus the number of detractors; a powerful piece of information! We rolled out the program to a subset of “test” stores in mid-2022, with all stores on board by spring of 2023.
We’ve been able to share our initial results with our partners and the response has been extraordinary, in part because there are positive results to share and because our partners are excited that we are employing technology that will ultimately enhance the guest experience at their attraction.
Event Network retail stores have a higher net promotor score than the retail industry overall!
Here are 5 Insights from our Guest Service Results:
1. Partner Alignment Opportunities
Sharing our guest service ratings with our partners has uncovered new opportunities for collaboration. After sharing our initial results, many of our partners have expressed interest in adopting a similar program for their teams. Sharing our experience with the TruRating program, the data we’re collecting and the training programs we are introducing as a result will deepen the connection between our store teams and the iconic locations we serve.
2. Enhanced Performance
TruRating provides heat mapping which shows the days and times when guest service levels are high or low. This means we can coach team members individually to identify opportunities for improvement as well as acknowledge when teams are delivering the kind of world-class guest service we strive to provide. By aggregating TruRating feedback with our sales data, we can also draw a compelling comparison between excellent guest service and an increase in average dollar sale.
3. Ownership and Friendly Competition
Our store teams have taken ownership of the TruRating results and the new company-wide standard to which they are held accountable. The results have brought out the competitiveness in our teams because they can see how their performance compares to their peers. We launched our first contest challenging each store to improve their scores versus our company average and it has sparked friendly competition and greater camaraderie amongst our teams.
4. Assortment Feedback
Guests rank the variety of our products very high. This is important feedback because a location’s unique assortment is a key element to extending its story and mission. One of our core values is to provide sustainable products to shoppers alongside locally made, highly curated items from a diverse group of vendors. We are industry leaders in the areas of sustainability and community engagement, and our TruRating results attest to the fact that our assortments are connecting with guests and that we should continue to expand in these areas.
5. Training Investment
We make significant investments in training our team members and in their continued growth and development (both personally and professionally) and the data shows that those investments are worthwhile. At the same time, we are tirelessly digging deeper into ‘the why’ behind our results. Why are some businesses more effective at upselling? Why are certain times of the day more challenging to connect with guests than others? This research will provide the opportunity to innovate our training materials and reinvest in the programs that are most effective for our teams.
The landscape of experiential attractions is one of constant change. New exhibits, new animal habitats, new initiatives, and new ways to engage guests. Because of this, Event Network is always improving and adapting our operational infrastructure to better serve our partners and guests. TruRating has provided a deeper insight into the shopping experience at our stores. It provides a clear and exciting path forward!