I noticed with interest an advert for one of four Admission Managers that are required for Edinburgh Castle. The Castle is arguably what visitors think of first when they think of Scotland, and this icon attracts over 1.2 million visitors a year. The Castle has new Visitor Reception facilities opening in 2008, and whilst the advert says the post-holder must ensure that a World Class Service is offered to its visitors the emphasis in the advert is "heavily focused on delivering very demanding sales targets through a new and innovative pricing strategy".

I know the world is driven by profit, but if you get the Customer Service Delivery right in the first place the profits will follow. Making sure you squeeze the last Dollar and Yen from your visitor really isn't the answer. Treat them right, and fairly. Have the Front-line troops trained, capture your visitor's loyalty and don't put such a squeeze on your Managers that they have no other concept in their minds other than profit.

I visit a number of attractions. The range of attitude, greeting and service is so variable, and sometimes lamentable. Last week I came across two staff that were clearly an "item" and had little time for the customer. (an easily solved problem if Management are on their toes). On the way home I had to get petrol. The only member of staff was rushed off her feet, and having trouble with a credit card for a customer two or three in front of me. The lady was good humoured, competent and courteous. A smile and brief apology won the waiting customers over and a situation moved from "lost" to "won". It really isn't difficult and yet seems such hard work to get right.

My answer to the potential problems are to do regular checks on the standard of Service Delivery. Managers and Owners should hear of the problems from a friend rather than a customer they've lost!

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