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A continuing problem in the industry is how to train people to give GREAT customer service. I believe the key is for employees to learn how customers think. I have been writing a training manual based on that idea, which I have introduced at my center (Narrows Plaza Bowl in Washington State, co-owned with Reggie Frederick). It’s working there.
In this blog, I am posting important parts of the manual. You are encouraged to download any or all of them and try the ideas. Let me know how they work for you.
My 30 years in the business include COO of Active West, a California chain of centers owned by the Spiegel family, and service on BPAA committees at the regional and national levels. I was secretary of MUBIG for three years, and have consulted for bowling centers around the country.
I begin with the introduction to the manual, which I am dividing into three blog posts.
What Goes On in a Bowling Center?
So you just got hired and never worked in a bowling center or you are just curious. Either way, understanding what is happening will give you a better appreciation of the work that must be done at the bowl.
The first thing one must understand is that a bowling center is a business. While the bowl is a center for community and family activity, the goal of the bowl is to make money. So many people misunderstand this and make mistakes to satisfy everyone. That is not the goal of the center. Management will lay out what you can and cannot do for a customer and you must work within those parameters or you will create larger issues in the future. An easy example is if you are working the food area and good customer wants a free refill of soda. If it is the management’s position that there not be free refills and you give it because you think the customer may get upset if you don’t, word will spread that everyone gets free refills costing the ownership a lot of money. OK, you now understand that this is a business just like General Electric, Marriott, the local grocery store, etc. so we can move on.
Being in a business, it is important to say please and thank you and to mean them. It is important to be consistent, that the experience is the same high quality each time, whether it is how one is greeted, how clean the bowl is, the taste of a drink or anything else. You can imagine what a customer might think if they are served a hamburger with lettuce and tomato by one person on the staff and the next time the hamburger is served with only lettuce by another staff member. The customer will not know what to expect and will just not order another one. This costs the center money.
The core of the business is bowling. Each game of bowling takes about 10-12 minutes so if two people bowl one game each it should take about 20-24 minutes. Each game of bowling is important to the center. It may not seem like it costs the center money for people to bowl but consider the salaries of the staff, the electricity for the lights and machinery, repair costs, insurance, etc.