Detroit Zoo Earns Top Honors for Customer Service Excellence

The Detroit Zoo recently received the prestigious William F. McLaughlin Hospitality Award for Service Excellence from the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. This is a great honor, as it is the only award in the state that recognizes customer service excellence in businesses. Detroit Zoological Society Chief Operating Officer Gerry VanAcker and Guest Relations Director Alexis Means accepted the award on behalf of the Zoo’s dedicated staff and volunteers.

The staff at the Zoo works hard on a daily basis to ensure that each and every guest has a pleasant visit. During employee training, staff learns the Zoo’s rules for great customer service.

Grin and greet within 8 feet. Smiles are contagious, so simply smiling and greeting guests can make an impact on their visit.

Be a good listener. Taking the time to listen to guests’ needs by asking questions and concentrating on what they’re saying makes them feel as if we care about their experience – and we do!

Make guests (as well as staff and volunteers) feel important. If possible, use their name and treat them as individuals. Find ways to compliment them, but be sincere. By generating good feelings about doing business with us, they will return again and again.

Always say “yes” – within reason. Look for ways to help visitors whenever possible. If they have a request, as long as it’s reasonable, we can help.

Know how to apologize. If something goes wrong, it’s easy to say “I’m sorry” and guests appreciate it. Try to remedy the situation and make sure the visitor knows what has been done. Even if they are having a bad day, there’s always something we can do to try and make them more comfortable.

Give more than expected. Because the future success of the Zoo lies in keeping visitors happy, we try to find ways to set ourselves apart from other institutions. Escorting guests to locations when asked for directions is one way we can stand out. Don’t just show…go!

Treat all employees and volunteers well. It’s not just the guests who enjoy feeling appreciated. When we feel good, we’re better at making our guests feel good!

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