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


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i see an overall trend of customer service going down the hole..and i'm not just talking about Cedar Fair or amusement parks - but in all aspects of the...well..."service" industry...

before

the customer is always right

now

the customer could be right...possibly...

chris

:huh:

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Cedar Point's can be found next to the main gate.

I know at the park I work at, guest complaints and complements are take care of accordling and the sittuation ist tired to be fixed.

I understand why all complaints cant be responded too, but I understand why it may upset you.

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Not this year. Before this year, Guest Relations at Cedar Point WAS next to the main gate...now it's in the Administration Building. How's THAT for customer service?

At least that is what I was told during my last visit to the park. I wanted to ride things and enjoy my visit with friends. A Pepsi machine ate my $3..and gave me nothing. I was told I had to go to Guest Relations in the Administration Building to get a refund. I didn't even bother. Cedar Fair can consider it among the last $3 it will ever get from me for beverages.

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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.

I too had a very good experience with Six Flags guest relations. Earlier in the year after they redesigned their site it appeared that children under 42" couldn't ride any of the kiddie rides. I sent an e-mail via their website and heard back from the general manager @ SFKK within a few days. It was nice talking to him and we went back in forth via e-mail a few times with some of my suggestions/compliments etc. He was great to talk to and gave me some good insight into their plan over the next few years.

Who would have thought a few years back that there would be people who enjoyed Six Flags customer service more than Cedar Fair?

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...especially given that it appears that had not the incident happened at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom when it did, it might have been at Carowinds...as a "thin" cable was found there during the post-KK accident inspection that INTAMIN requested all parks do on INTAMIN Drop Tower rides.

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...especially given that it appears that had not the incident happened at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom when it did, it might have been at Carowinds...as a "thin" cable was found there during the post-KK accident inspection that INTAMIN requested all parks do on INTAMIN Drop Tower rides.

Did KI ever release what part was replaced on their Gyro Drop?

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Not this year. Before this year, Guest Relations at Cedar Point WAS next to the main gate...now it's in the Administration Building. How's THAT for customer service?

At least that is what I was told during my last visit to the park. I wanted to ride things and enjoy my visit with friends. A Pepsi machine ate my $3..and gave me nothing. I was told I had to go to Guest Relations in the Administration Building to get a refund. I didn't even bother. Cedar Fair can consider it among the last $3 it will ever get from me for beverages.

The same thing happened to me last year. The administration building was in kiddie kingdom, near wicked twister.

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It speaks volumes where they put Guest Relations. EVERY other park I have ever been to has it at the front gate. At Cedar Point, they have HIDDEN it.

You see, they don't REALLY want to relate to guests.

At least that's my impression. . .

Oh, I'm sure they've told themselves some logical reason why they moved it. But, there's a reason why they considered their own logic and needs ahead of those of their customers. And it speaks volumes. By their actions you shall know them...

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You have a point.

I really can't think of any other park that does not put their Guest Relations up front and easy to find.

Maybe this is what we are to expect.

But I suspect that if they keep that type of attitude that the park will soon be Kings Island Condos and Townhomes.

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I'm not sure, but has the flood lights always reflected off of the bottom of the ring of seats at night, or did they add lights to the bottom of the ring? I Noticed while in line for Firehawk Sunday night, that the right was light up at the bottom all the way up.

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It speaks volumes where they put Guest Relations. EVERY other park I have ever been to has it at the front gate. At Cedar Point, they have HIDDEN it.

Now that is a bit of a stretch.

Having something "hidden" means that you need to go searching for it. You can ask any ride OP, sweeper, or look on the park map: CP Park Map and it is clearly seen.

Given that CP has 4 different entrances for guests, they put the office in the general middle of the park. They are almost in the "darned if you do, darned if you don't". How many other parks have 4 different entrances?

I honestly question the article, especially after bringing up about people being injured over a year ago . He made it sound like it was last week. Why not mention that the park has taken great lengths to get the ride back operating again?

I have never seen that many rides down at one time, in any park. If it was true about a power spike, there is not much that can be done about that.

Remember the great eastern blackout a few years ago? Should we also blame the parks for that?

I have heard many negative comments about other parks, specifically SFGA and SFMM. But I also take the comments with a grain of salt. I will still go to the parks with an open mind- of having a great day. His rather brief article reads as if he went to the park with an axe to grind even before he walked through the gate, especially when he mentions about gas prices and being surprised about the park entrance fee.

When was the last time you went to a park without knowing how much it was to get in?

EDIT: The main Guest Relations office has always been located in the Colusium Arcade.

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Let's remember this guy is not an enthusiast or even a park lover. He probably got the Son of Beast information by word of mouth inside the park.

And there USED to be Guest Relations at Cedar Point at both the main gate and at the back dry park gate by Magnum/Soak City.

The fact the park closed these stations and has only an office in what I was told was the "Administration Building" speaks volumes. And no, every employee did NOT know where the Guest Relations office was. The woman at the front gate in what must now be the ticket exchange office gave me only the vaguest of directions. I actually pressed for more specific ones and was told "ask someone else, they will help you." I did, they didn't.

And yes, I knew where the Administration Building is. But, you now tell me that even that isn't where GR is.

And you don't think this indicates a problem? Shouldn't Guest Relations be where most guests would expect it to be? And when it isn't, in my opinion, that IS hidden. The fact it is on a map doesn't mean it isn't hidden from the average guest. Out of sight, out of mind. Many people decide to talk to GR only because they see it. And Cedar Point clearly would just as soon do without that 'opportunity.'

I stick by my opinion. That speaks volumes.

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Regardless of whether or not he was new to the park, any reporter (or any poster to any site IMHO) that's employed by the press or some media at least has the responsibility to state factual information in their story. For all of us who knew SOB was down, there were still those out there who obviously didn't know that. The fact that he didn't know the whole story doesn't excuse him from just writing whatever he wanted instead of doing a small shred of research and simply stating the fact that SOB had been closed for quite some time due to that accident, as I'm sure park personnel probably told him. I'm not discounting the fact that he was unhappy, but instead of responsibly reviewing and reporting, he filled in the blanks with things like "that spinny thing", and the whole SOB rant. KI's reponse wasn't the greatest to say the least, but I'm taking this guys story with a grain of salt, because I think he told his version of the story with a little spin

Another thing, what's with all the hatred of Cedar Fair all of the sudden. Will you never be happy with who runs this park?

About the guest relations at Cedar Point, they are in the administration building, which happens to be right in the middle of the park. They have a small office near the front gate, which I had to go to sign in as a KI maxx pass holder. The reason it's there is because there are FOUR entrances to the park...one in the front, one in the back, one by the marina (west), and one by wicked twister (east). What's the big deal about GR being there? which incidentally is right by the main corporate offices of the company. Kings Island has one entrance, so GR belongs there, but it's a bit silly to think that CP is hiding their GR department so nobody will find it.

I've never had a real problem with any of the Cedar Fair parks. I've been annoyed by a ride closure here and there and been annoyed several times at some of the guests, but I've never had a horrible time at a Cedar Fair park, and I've never felt compelled to complain about them to GR. I don't usually bother with suggestions or comments, because I know that there are probably thousands of them, and it's a bit unrealistic to expect a response most of the time. It's nice when they do, but I would rather them take care of the customers who have problems than acknowledge my existence with a standard copy response. GR is there to remedy problems first, then if they have the time (or manpower...which they probably don't), they can answer my comment/suggestion.

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Personally I believe that if Cedar Point is going to have 4 entrances, then they as well need to have 4 guest relations. Even at Carowinds, they have a guest relations at North and South gate. Its not like every gate doesnt have operators that could at minimum have general GR paperwork, or have the means to call out a manager if necessary. Even if they try to make the excuse of their number of entrances, the guests are still going to be upset because most would come to expect and assume that it is at the entrance gate. Cedar Point cant change that throughout the industry.

Honestly, most guests are going to register their complaints when they go to leave, most of which will assume that they can do it at the exit. Maybe Cedar Point thinks that if they move GR from the entrance/exit, then they will get less complaints. It's like disconnecting your odometer, there may not be a record of it, but the miles still happened. Either way it will haunt you down the road.

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I gotta say, I'm in agreement with the guy who wrote the article. While I've never seen that many rides down at one time, my experience this year at KI has been LOTS of downtime with LOTS of rides through out my visit. For me, its worse than its ever been. Now I understand that rides will break down, but thats never been a huge issue at Kings Island......or Cedar Point for that matter. The same thing is happening on my visits to Point. Tack on the offensively high food prices, the poor attitudes of employees this year.....voila! Welcome to the old Six Flags. All of this hatred for Cedar Fair comes with the way they have ran the Park this season. They've made many cuts in many areas and its showing. This isn't just a hatred or dislike by some of us on this board, talk to any one employee from KI and you'll be surprised by some of the stories you hear. They simply got rid of too many of the good people at the Park who actually KNEW what they were doing. In addition, those that remained have gotten so frustrated that they have now moved on to better things. Its sad, actually. I could care less if I do go back to KI again this season and if it weren't for the fact that I want a Maxx Pass to go to CP.......I highly doubt I'd buy a pass for nex season.

- Todd

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I'm going back a few pages, but wanted to respond to something that was written yesterday regarding what this individual may have wrote to KI, and it not being "professional"- I work in marketing/PR... and to an extent the "complaint" department... and whats more, it's in the financial industry. I have been called 4 and 5 letter names over a matter of less than a dollar when the customer was clearly in the wrong... and I had nothing in the transaction. Regardless of the situation or how intense the conversation- you ALWAYS take the apologetic route on your way to your explanation. If the customer clearly does not want to hear it, then you can turn off the valve. But in conflict resolution, "tephlon" doesn't work.

But more closer to a few posts recently. It has seemed a bit surreal how a year ago Cedar Fair was riding in on a white horse.... and to read a few posts you'd think they'd sunk lower than Paramount in a year.

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I think that it's way too early to say that Cedar Fair has sunk beneath Paramount. There are a few chinks that need to be address. But heck, I think that they'd have to resort to something like killing babies and kicking old people to sink below Paramount.

... OK, maybe I exagerate. <G>

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Guest kwindshawne
You have a point.

I really can't think of any other park that does not put their Guest Relations up front and easy to find.

Maybe this is what we are to expect.

But I suspect that if they keep that type of attitude that the park will soon be Kings Island Condos and Townhomes.

That thought alone makes me want to puke.

Now I am not one to complain publicly about my employer, but there is one small thing that bothers me.

In the area I am employed-I will not disclose where-we are not allowed to have bottled water visible. This is not my immediate supervisors directive, it comes from higher up. Now we are allowed to ask for supervisor relief to walk to the area that has it, but when there are thousands of people coming through, that is not always possible. On a 95 degree humid day, that could very well create a medical emergency. Is that worth how it "looks" if we have bottled water readily available?

After work the last weekend, I went to a certain eatery, and several of the employees were obviously disgruntled...a guest was asking for specific condiments..the employees response was "we don't have that either" the guest asked another question i could not hear..the response again "well, our management has their own way of doing things." If this type of treatment continues and reflects on the employees' attitudes, it trickles down to the guest experience. This has got to stop before some real damage is done (if not done already) and KI indeed becomes condos...

And this bothers me a great deal.

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About the responsibility to state factual information.

We also knew it opened this year and it was closed back down not long ago to. So we know that must have been when he was there. We all seen post here about rides that was down and it was all around the same time.

What would not be factual about that?

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Tack on the offensively high food prices, the poor attitudes of employees this year.....voila! Welcome to the old Six Flags. All of this hatred for Cedar Fair comes with the way they have ran the Park this season.

- Todd

Having been to Six Flags America on Tuesday, I know where Todd is going. Staff was friendly, ESPECIALLY at concession stands where I asked for cups of ice water. Compare that to Sunday night at Kings Island, where I seemed to "inconvenience" the people at Coney Mall Skyline for the same thing. I had to go fill out a complaint for the first time in 5 years at Guest Relations that night.

Another thing about Six Flags is that they are not only serious about cleanliness, but also being smoke-free. Employees wore buttons at the SFA front gate, and before the park opened officially, they made announcement that "smoking outside designated areas is cause for removal from the park." How well they enforced it, I'm not sure, but they have to be more serious than at Cedar Fair parks.

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This year there have been more than 1000 people ejected from Six Flags Great Adventure for breaking conduct rules, most of them for smoking outside designated areas. And attendance is....up. Way up.

And it is NOT just Great Adventure...this 10-q tells about attendance, per caps and Six Flags strategy now, which is focused on delivering a better customer experience:

http://biz.yahoo.com/e/070803/six10-q.html

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Six Flags Kings Island, thats not too bad I guess. If thats what it takes.

On a side note, you know what bugs me is that it doesnt seem like Cedar Fair makes any effort to publicize the connection between parks. Obviously every Six Flags park has Six Flags in the beginning of the name and every Paramount Park had Paramount in the beginning of the name, but Cedar Fair seems to make no effort of the connection. I mean for someone who didnt know any better, they probably think that Kings Island being Kings Island means that some guy just bought the park alone and installed this coaster called Firehawk.

Perhaps this is because a Paramount Pass or a Six Flags Pass automatically got you into all of the sister parks where for Cedar Fair, thats extra. Personally I think that's rediculous because on average it does not seem worth it to buy the max pass so there's a loss; then all the people that would have visited other parks because their KI pass got them in will no longer visit. Same thing as giving employees less tickets, free tickets brings people into the park that would not have come otherwise. And they wonder why attandence is down. Oh well, maybe Cedar Fair doesnt want to tarnish the name of Cedar Point by letting people know that it's affiliated with Kings Island or any other CF parks.

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Six Flags Kings Island, thats not too bad I guess. If thats what it takes.

On a side note, you know what bugs me is that it doesnt seem like Cedar Fair makes any effort to publicize the connection between parks. Obviously every Six Flags park has Six Flags in the beginning of the name and every Paramount Park had Paramount in the beginning of the name, but Cedar Fair seems to make no effort of the connection. I mean for someone who didnt know any better, they probably think that Kings Island being Kings Island means that some guy just bought the park alone and installed this coaster called Firehawk.

Perhaps this is because a Paramount Pass or a Six Flags Pass automatically got you into all of the sister parks where for Cedar Fair, thats extra. Personally I think that's rediculous because on average it does not seem worth it to buy the max pass so there's a loss; then all the people that would have visited other parks because their KI pass got them in will no longer visit. Same thing as giving employees less tickets, free tickets brings people into the park that would not have come otherwise. And they wonder why attandence is down. Oh well, maybe Cedar Fair doesnt want to tarnish the name of Cedar Point by letting people know that it's affiliated with Kings Island or any other CF parks.

I'm going to have to disagree with you on a few things and agree on others. The Maxx Pass IS a good deal. I upgraded from a Gold Pass to a Maxx Pass for about $30 and went to Cedar Point once. So as far as I'm concerned, I already made my money back on it. If you're not going to go to other CF parks, it's certainly a waste of your money, but if you're going to go to just one other, it's worth it.

The reason why CF cut a bunch of the ticket giveaways is because of their theory on pricing integrity. Theoretically, if you GIVE tickets away in any interval, people will just wait until they can get free tickets before attending the park. Otherwise, people will know that they have to spend money to go to KI, accept it, and CF's per caps will go up.

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I think that one of the big reasons for attendance being down is that Cedar Fair has indeed stopped giving away the gate. I went to one of the KI passholders days (the ones where the park gave each passholder eight free tickets to distribute) a couple of years ago. I thought to myself as I was wading through the sea of people there with the 16 unpaying friends and family I got in, Why did they give away so many tickets? Yeah they got a boost in attendance (had to be 30,000 there at least), but they gave away most of that money by charging customers nothing to get in and running up their operating costs with all the rides and staffing. In theory, more customers means more money spent in the park, but I wonder just how worth it for the park that day was. A great marketing tool? sure...if nobody had ever heard of Kings Island before. I just always wondered why they were so content to do things like that. Cedar Fair is a completely different business model.

Having said that, let's not forget that the company has their work cut out for them. They went in debt almost up to their eyeballs to get the Paramount parks, they got stuck cleaning up messes like SOB, and they now have to "deparamountize" the park, which means a lot more work, and they have to do all of that while making a profit.

Working at an amusement park can be a tough job, and some employees are obviously disgruntled, but it sounds like they aren't helping matters when I hear things like employees treating guests as a nuisance. I've been annoyed a little by a few employees at KI this year too. The thing is, when I go to Cedar Point, employees just aren't like that. Ride operators are friendly and entertaining, hotel staff has always been friendly, and the food service workers do their jobs without complaining. I've observed one crappy associate in the ten years I've gone up north. They are operating under the same policies there as hosts now do at Kings Island, so what's different? I'm certainly not saying that all employees at KI are bad. Nothing could be further from the truth, but I've heard more comments this season on lack of customer service at KI than I have in years. There is a little fixing to do.

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Six Flags Kings Island, thats not too bad I guess. If thats what it takes.

On a side note, you know what bugs me is that it doesnt seem like Cedar Fair makes any effort to publicize the connection between parks. Obviously every Six Flags park has Six Flags in the beginning of the name and every Paramount Park had Paramount in the beginning of the name, but Cedar Fair seems to make no effort of the connection. I mean for someone who didnt know any better, they probably think that Kings Island being Kings Island means that some guy just bought the park alone and installed this coaster called Firehawk.

Perhaps this is because a Paramount Pass or a Six Flags Pass automatically got you into all of the sister parks where for Cedar Fair, thats extra. Personally I think that's rediculous because on average it does not seem worth it to buy the max pass so there's a loss; then all the people that would have visited other parks because their KI pass got them in will no longer visit. Same thing as giving employees less tickets, free tickets brings people into the park that would not have come otherwise. And they wonder why attandence is down. Oh well, maybe Cedar Fair doesnt want to tarnish the name of Cedar Point by letting people know that it's affiliated with Kings Island or any other CF parks.

I'm going to have to disagree with you on a few things and agree on others. The Maxx Pass IS a good deal. I upgraded from a Gold Pass to a Maxx Pass for about $30 and went to Cedar Point once. So as far as I'm concerned, I already made my money back on it. If you're not going to go to other CF parks, it's certainly a waste of your money, but if you're going to go to just one other, it's worth it.

The reason why CF cut a bunch of the ticket giveaways is because of their theory on pricing integrity. Theoretically, if you GIVE tickets away in any interval, people will just wait until they can get free tickets before attending the park. Otherwise, people will know that they have to spend money to go to KI, accept it, and CF's per caps will go up.

I agree for an individual, especially an entheusiast, but for a family of four, thats an extra $120. I think most family's would not feel that was a wise move. In addition, I wonder how many familys from the area go out of town, for example, near Worlds of Fun, and make the connection that they are affiliated with Kings Island. I have been to EVERY Paramount park (minus the overseas thing), SOLEY because I happen to be on vacation near that park, and had either a KI pass or an employee ID. I have an uncle that lives in Oakland California, that brought me to Great America [and SF Marine World and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk], I have a Great Aunt in Charlotte NC, Brought me to Carowinds, we have very close familiy friends in maryland, that brought us to Kings Dominion[and SFA], my dad had a business trip in Canada that my family was able to tag along for which got me to Canada's Wonderland.

I dont think the majority of the average public plans amusement park trips the way we "Enthusiasts" do. Even myself, I would not have gone to probably ANY of those parks had I not already been in the neighborhood. The first time I went to california and had a KI pass, I went 3 days before my mom did. When I saw a commercial on TV for Paramounts Great America I immediately called my mom and told her to make sure she brought our KI passes. Had that now said Knotts Great America, and PKI been KI, even if I had a Maxx Pass, at the age I was which was about 12 I probably would never have realized that they were affiliated with each other.

Also in the case of my family and friends whom I gave tickets to to get in. I can assure you that without the free tickets they would NOT have otherwise gone. A family of six going for free still brings in pretty good money. All my cousins always buy merchandise and eat everything in sight (worse than Bobby and Cindy). Had I never gotten those tickets that would have been a complete loss for KI because they would have just all gone shopping at the mall instead.

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How much of the general public do you think actually know WHAT guest relations even is? I know tons of people who have a complaint, so they go home and email it to the park. Or they go home and call the number on the website. You don't need to know where geust relations is to file a complaint.

Also, why would you EXPECT to get into an amusement park for free? That's just plain idiotic if you don't have a pass.

I haven't been to KI this year, so I don't know if the people are friendly or not, but they way you people put it you make it sound like Kings Island, and more importantly, Cedar Fair are the worst things on the plannet. So there are a couple mean employees, rides break down, they changed the position of Geust Relations at cedar, and none of parks seem to be related except for KNOTS GA, and KNOTS BF. I can give a reasonable explanation for all of this.

Mean employees: Could they be having a bad day? Could they have just had something really bad happen to them? Could their pay have been lowered?

Rides break down: DUH! They have a malfinction, and FOR YOUR SAFETY, cannot open the ride at the moment.

Geust Relations at Cedar Point: Maybe they didn't have enough employees to have four different geust relation buildings. Cutting employes can save money for a park that is "up to its eyes in debt."

Seemingly not related: Come on, do the parks all sound better if they have Cedar Fair's Knots Great America, or Cedar Fair's Cedar Point? They want to give all of the parks a different image.

And about six flags- they don't always keep up their parks. Look at flash back at magic mountain. A couple years ago, while six flags still owned GA, I went to GA, and the bathrooms were not only terribly dirty, but FLOODING. And getting ice cream or something else from one of those carts? forget it! We saw rats IN the carts. And the people were mean there too, but at another six flags park I went to (I can't exactly remember which one) everything was seemingly perfect!

DON'T JUDGE AN AMUSEMENT PARK COMPANY BY ONE OR TWO OF ITS PARKS.

vl2

EDIT: hold on, they took flashback out

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