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A TR by an outsider to KI's Manager But On The Web


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WOW! I really was thinking the same thing about KI, but as a pass holder it is hard to be objective and unbiased.

This really confirms that the general public is upset with prices at KI, ride downtime, and that CF seems to care less.

And more interestingly ... quarterly earnings report that attendance is down :huh: yeah not too shocking. Seems to all make more sense now.

I really would like to see more outsiders opinions like this.

Very surprising though is KI IS a resort destination according to that list. I didn't believe it, but if that source is accurate then maybe KI needs to rethink taking out the campground, cutting off KI Inn from the park (the only one with bus transportation to park). And great wolf is way too expensive for a group traveling much farther than the 75mile local radius just wanting to enjoy KI.

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This just goes to show how much a little PR can do to a park. Customers tend to overstate how unhappy they are and understate how happy they are on trip reports, or any kind of consumer review for that matter. In this day of the internet, theme park goers have free reign to paint a particular theme park or their management any way they want to, regardless of whether the writer is right or wrong. There are plenty of variables in this story that were passed over or maybe even ignored for effect. The park statement mentioned something about a power spike. Did it affect all the rides down? The way he tells the story, it sounds like all of these rides are closed at once. As a season passholder, I've never seen that many down at once for a whole day, which makes me think that there was a rash of breakdowns. Were the rides back up before the end of the evening? I imagine that at least some of them were. Simply walking by and seeing it closed is something that many a parkgoers do, but that's why you ask the ride op at the front of the Q. Did he just breeze by and see the closed sign? Tomb Raider is almost always closed now (retheming perhaps?) Drop Zone has been under a microscope since the accident at Kentucky Kingdom. White Water Canyon closing is just plain weird, so I wonder about a "power spike". How did he act when he asked for his freebies? Being in retail, I always want the customer to be satisfied, but if they are nasty about it and do things like threaten, than they aren't going to get very far. I'm not saying that this happened, but what I am saying is that a internet blogger/writer can write whatever they want and paint the picture they want to paint. Did this particular writer spin things the way he wanted to? possibly. The quote about Son of Beast is inaccurate, given the accident happened last year. It was added for effect. If he didn't add it for effect, he didn't do his homework (see that spinny one) and practiced what is called irresponsible journalism. Given that he seems to be employed by the site (or at least a major contributor) it's a little testimony of just how much a story can be spun for the unknowing public by a member of the media...now the other side of the coin.

The guy was unhappy. He shelled out a lot of money for him and his family to have a good time and he came on a day when the park was having some ride issues. They could have taken care of the matter by giving him some free tickets, or jumping him to the front of some lines when the rides were back up and buying them dinner. I realize that you can't reimburse everyone if they had a bad time. If you did, there would be a rash of leeches that would want compensated for a bad half an hour, but you turn people away at your own risk. Free tickets would have gotten them back into the park for another day to spend more money and give KI a chance to make customers for life, and it's not like the park hasn't given thousands of tickets away to passholders for their friends on certain days. Some kind of secret front of the line pass would have helped them walk away that day satisfied and vindicated the park. It's not like he just came up and said "I had a bad day, I want my money back". He had a reason...that being a bunch of rides were closed...something that falls under park responsibility. They could have somehow diffused the situation and fixed the problem, but evidently they chose not to, and now they have to deal with bad publicity. Perhaps some tweaking of guest relations is in order, because they don't need this kind of story. The park portrayed in this story isn't the great place I know and love, and it's ultimately their own fault that it isn't.

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When I was in the hotel business we had a saying: "Every guest complaint is an opportunity."

The opportunity is the chance to take a negative situation for a guest and turn it into a positive one...thus keeping them as your guest in the future. And, you should be grateful for a guest bringing something to your attention so that you can help resolve it.

From this guy's perspective, it sounds like CF missed this particular "opportunity"...

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I think that was a good response. If Drop Zone and Firehawk did indeed open up again later in the day, then this person had a chance to ride. It sounds like the only rides he would not have been able to ride are SoB and TRTR. Two rides out of all of the rides in the park is not a lot.

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^It may not be all that bad but it can still **** a customer off. I know when I travel to a park that I usually don't get to or that I've never been before you go expecting to ride all the big rides. I know sometimes that's not a realistic expectation, but it's still extremely disappointing if you arrive and not just one but several of the big rides that you've been looking forward to are shut down.

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Whether or not the downtime of the rides was reasonable or not, really isn't the point. The point is this is a guest who perceived that most of the major rides in the park were down at the same time, and in customer service situations, perception is reality. (And, now, he's posted it on the internet to spread that "reality" to anyone who cares to read it...)

Attendance is currently down 7% YTD at the CF parks...flippant responses to genuine guest concerns isn't going to fix that.

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Whether or not the downtime of the rides was reasonable or not, really isn't the point. The point is this is a guest who perceived that most of the major rides in the park were down at the same time, and in customer service situations, perception is reality. (And, now, he's posted it on the internet to spread that "reality" to anyone who cares to read it...)

Attendance is currently down 7% YTD at the CF parks...flippant responses to genuine guest concerns isn't going to fix that.

Exactly. And honestly, the successful businesses are the ones that understand that.

By reading the CF response, that is not understood.

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SOB is down again?

Didnt you read the article? They just sent another train full of riders to the hospital.

LOL :lol: made my day

but hes clearly not a local to the park. Hes looking for trouble and attention.

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I don't see where he overstated as it's been that way every other time I have been there after 2002. If you are like me and drive for 3 hours to get there and most rides don't open with the park it tends to make you not want to go back. If you go on a Sunday you can't stay till closing waiting for rides to open because you have to work on Monday to pay for your trip you had to KI on Sunday.

I know it's possible to have all rides open with the park because I have seen it at other ones.

It's not so bad for the pass holder that lives minutes away from the park but for me it's a 100 bucks for gas and fast food.

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I agree with Captain Picard... probably a good percentage of the defenders in this thread are pass holders who if they paid for thier own pass- don't have mortgages to pay for. I would be genuinely upset if I had shelled out $500 for a day of "fun" and got nothing but basically a "not our problem" response.

Unless the customer CLEARLY is totally off-base that response should hurt the credibility of the one whose signature is affixed to it. The official (can't remember the name) even acknowledged the problems... and yes they were fixed.... but there was a pretty impressive list of ride (major ones) that experienced problems... and who is to say that this guy didn't experience the "perfect storm" of the events happening to his family in succession.

Apparently he came when SOB was still down- so I would remove that from the complaint... it was pretty common knowlege that SOB was out and had no specific return date.

That was a terrible response on KI's part.

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It was a Phenominally Bad Response from the park.

Do we think that this is an attitude that is unique to Kings Island's Guest Relations or is it a CF mandate?

Either way it is very much chilling that a customer driven business has this attitude.

I think the attitude is unique of Greg Sheid and all of his "well there's no problem on our end" friends.

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Still, from the sound of things, only 2 rides were not operating all day. It seems like he just happened to pass the other rides when they were closed. As the park said, the rides were open later in the day. Did he just stay until like 1 or something? If he really wanted to ride the rides, and not just whine about the park, he would've come back later in the day to ride the rides. Sometimes something comes up, and the rides don't open right away. It's like that at EVERY amusement park. One trip I took to Holiday World (the same one that caused the controversy some time ago), 2/3 of their major rides were not open at opening time. We decided to wait for them, and in the end, enjoyed our day. No need to complain about certain rides not being open when you got to it.

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UncleHenry... I "get" where you are coming from, and to an extent I agree. What I don't agree with with KI's response that gave a "not our problem" feel to it. Did not extend any reconciliatory response at all. Apologizing and offering even half-off admission for another day would have cost the park "nothing" and would have got 4 more people in to pay $$$'s for food and other attractions.

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I'm not that suprised. I had a similar trip to Geauga Lake a few years ago....After Six Flags bought it, but before they combined it with Sea World. Of the 14 or so featured rides, only 2 of them ran all day. The Villian, which was quite good for a coaster I had never heard of until I got there, and the X-thingy...LOL. The one thats at KI now.

I complained through e-mail after I got back home. I got an automated response saying that they recieved my letter, and would be in contact. Thats it...Nothing else ever. this guy should feel lucky that he got a real response!!!! He was looking for free passes anyways. I wanted an apology. I never got it, so I haven't, and won't be back. Being in central Ohio, it's too easy for me to go to other parks.

There was more bad stuff about the trip than what I have mentioned. But I'll stop anyways!!! LOL

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^ you're right...an apology goes a long way.

One of the easiest ways to difuse a negative customer service situation is to simply show empathy. A lot of times, all someone really wants is for someone to acknowledge that they understand why they're upset. For example...

"We're really sorry about your experience, and understand why you and your family were disappointed. Unfortunately, when you're working with state-of-the-art technology like many of our signature attractions, that technology does go down from time to time. I've included four free tickets so that you and your family can be our guests another time and experience all the great attractions Kings Island has to offer..." yada, yada, yada...

The guy may never end up using (or even care about) the free tickets, but at least he knows his concerns have been heard, acknowledged, and someone actually cares that they had a bad experience.

That's all it really takes...

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Exactly Jzarley.

If CF does not wish to learn good customer service, there are many entertainment venues that do.

As much as I dislike Disney and it's plastice fantasy land; you would never see something like that come out of their Guest Relations Office.

Heck, one of my lifting buddies had a situation at SFOG last year and the park manager called and he received a season pass for this year. (Darn Him!) <G>

As Said Before, I'm Sorry Goes a Long Way

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Wait a minute....

There's a key element that's left out. What was in his email to Greg? Did the email call Greg every word in the book? Did he threated to kidnap his kids and kill his pets? Who knows. All we saw was Greg's response, which may very well have been the most professional of the two emails.

What if it's the other way around? What if the guy was really nice about things and just asked why the rides were down? In that case, he would have responded with more information than he had to. What if he never asked for any kind of compensation? Talking to a former employee who dealt with the power outage situation, they said that most people would vent anger about what happened and then would be pretty happy.

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Personally, and this is just speculation, it sounds to me like the guy really wanted an apology, and all Greg Sheid could muster up, was an excuse.

We were able to open Firehawk and Drop Zone later in the evening after the electrical issues were repaired however Tomb Raider and White Water were not opened until the next day. With the exception of Firehawk being down earlier in the day for 65 minutes, we experienced very little down time of this specific day up until the electrical spike.

When a guest says "all the rides we've tried today are down" I will admit it is very difficult not to say, "well actually just _____ and _____ are down and now they're open so you're wrong." But thats where professionalism comes in. It doesnt matter to the guest if the ride is open every second of the season except for the 12 seconds when they were walking by. They're still going to be ****ed off; in which case the guest just wants an apology and the last thing they want is an excuse.

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Wait a minute....

There's a key element that's left out. What was in his email to Greg? Did the email call Greg every word in the book? Did he threated to kidnap his kids and kill his pets? Who knows. All we saw was Greg's response, which may very well have been the most professional of the two emails.

What if it's the other way around? What if the guy was really nice about things and just asked why the rides were down? In that case, he would have responded with more information than he had to. What if he never asked for any kind of compensation? Talking to a former employee who dealt with the power outage situation, they said that most people would vent anger about what happened and then would be pretty happy.

I couldn't agree more, while I'm no giant fan of Cedar Fairs general attitude of guest service, I do know that everytime the folks here at KIC have met with and dealt with Mr. Scheid that our expereince has been excellent, it was great talking to him last year at the GWL grand opening and I always see him walking around the park picking up trash. Before I'm too quick to judge the park or Mr. Scheid I'd like to see the email this "journalist" wrote, the "author" doesnt seem to smart since he obviously didnt do much research before writing that particular article. There was still plenty to do at KI and like Greg said, the rides did re-open, towards the end of the article he talks about trying to visit SFKK, well atleast he left KI angry, he couldve left KK with no feet.

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Well, wait a minute while *I* chime in. At least this guy GOT an answer, of ANY kind. I have left comments, compliments and complaints with Guest Relations at Kings Island, Cedar Point and Carowinds of Cedar Fair this year. I have also left similar comments, compliments and complaints with Guest Relations at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, Six Flags over Georgia, Dollywood and even Camden Park.

Let's count my number of responses by park, along with an approximate percentage of replies of any kind:

Cedar Fair: ZERO. Percent replied to: ZERO. Yep, that's right. NO responses. I even called back to check at Kings Island, and was told they had my comments had been received and that they would get back to me, even with a "favorable resolution." Nothing. Not a word. Not at ANY park. Not Cedar Point, not Kings Island, not Carowinds. Nice. I ran into one of the Guest Relations employees in the park at Kings Island and asked why I had not received a response. (I have known that employee for many, many years). I was told they were experiencing "conversion issues." How nice.

Six Flags: Four responses. Percentage: 100 percent. And, my comments were acknowledged and appreciated. I also received a certificate for a free meal at the best eatery at Great Adventure (I had experienced a problem there). And a very nice signed letter from the general manager at Six Flags Over Georgia.

Dollywood: 1 response, 100 percent. A letter, a phone call and a followup to that letter. And I had left a compliment. That park KNOWS customer service. They excel at it.

Camden Park: 1 response, 100 percent. A phone call to my office at work. A thank you for a suggestion, and an invitation to join the letter writer for a beverage in the West Virginia Grille next time I'm there. Now THAT, too, is service!

Cedar Fair has perhaps the WORST guest relations of any park company I have ever seen. This needs work. But they know they have no issues, and see the customer as a bother...they certainly do not see complaints or suggestions as opportunities. At least that is the way I see it...

Best example? Where is guest relations at Cedar Point? Hint, it is NOT at the gate, and it is VERY difficult to find. And employees do NOT give you good directions to find it....

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