6 Ways we Deliver an Above-and-Beyond Birthday Party Experience
At Climbing Vines Cafe & Play, we offer a variety of services from classes and camps to open-play and private events. It’s our adult and child-friendly birthday parties, though, that we have chosen as our focus.
While we, of course, put time and resources towards making each aspect of our business the best it can be, I have found that having one primary focus helps us best serve our customers. Having one top priority has also helped our indoor playground stand out against our local competition because we have established ourselves as the “go-to” premier venue for private birthday parties, particularly for children turning ages one, two, and three.
But creating a stellar reputation takes more than simply declaring a focus. It’s essential that you plan your entire process, from the very first customer touch point to the last, with this priority in mind. There are a few different ways that we go above and beyond with our birthday party process that gives our clients such an excellent experience that they not only book their events with us year after year, but they also refer their friends and family.
If we tried to make every single revenue stream equally important, we would likely dilute all of our services and fall into the background while our competition shines. Here are 6 ways we go above-and-beyond expectations to deliver an exceptional client experience:
1. Ease of Booking
While many indoor playgrounds and such have online booking systems, we prioritize making this booking process as seamless and robust as possible. Usually, in systems I have observed, there is some sort of intervention needed by staff in order to complete a booking.
However, we make sure that our clients can complete the booking process from start to finish, in a very easy way, any time that’s convenient for them. They never have to call or email to check on date availability, since it is all there online and updated in real-time.
Since we tend to cater to many different types of customers, I also make sure to leave enough open-text space for clients that may have a specific vision or request, while never making these extra steps required in case someone would like to simply reserve the date and time and worry about the details another time.
This convenience and customization starts the client’s experience off on a fantastic foot and sets the stage for the rest of the interactions we have with them.
While our booking process is automated, we do NOT leave our clients hanging until their party date!
Not only do customers get an automated, detailed order confirmation with all of the details of their booking, but we also carefully explain what they can expect to happen next.
Things we include in this e-mail confirmation are:
How they can contact us if they have questions or need to make changes
Where they can view frequently asked party questions
When exactly they can expect to hear from us next
What the deadline is for changes
This helps to reduce the number of questions our staff fields daily and also put customers’ minds at ease since they now know exactly what needs to happen and when.
In the party questionnaire we send out 10 days prior to each event, we personalize each one with the child’s name and age and customize the questions based on the original booking, on any communication we have received since the booking, and on the package selected.
This signals to our birthday clients that we are not automating this particular process but rather taking the time to individually and carefully gather all of the details about their event to ensure a completely personalized experience each time.
Since we only can host up to 6 parties per week, this allows us to spend an incredible amount of time and attention to detail on each and every event, which our clients love. Some of our local competitors can host up to 6 parties at ONCE, so this level of care or customization is just not possible.
3. Customization and personal attention
To expand on the notion of customization, we prefer to include granular options in our questionnaire that most places tend to overlook.
For example, instead of having standard goodie bags we give out, we customize each party’s gift bags to their theme. We also ask the ages of the children participating so we know what types of things might be appropriate to include. We also give parents the option of edible v. non-edible favors, since many tend to have a preference of one over the other.
We also do not have a theme “menu.” Instead of having themes for customers to choose from, we let them describe their vision in detail to us on their booking form, and there is no need for it to fit cleanly into a “box.”
For example, we hosted a party this past weekend that included unicorns, rainbows, fairies, and dolls! The birthday girl was so thrilled with the decorations we selected based on her and her Mom’s vision, which would not have been possible had we forced customers to stick to a list of pre-determined or popular themes.
We also have a highly-customizable catering menu, from which clients can make swaps or substitutions on as they wish. Again, because we have chosen to do a small number of exceptional events each week, as opposed to a high volume of more “standard” events, we have the time and training to make this possible.
4. Exceptionally trained staff
Speaking of training, our party-assistants go through an extremely careful training process that ensures the highest level of service for every event.
Not only are they required to shadow a more experienced host for several parties before taking the lead, but they also have an extremely detailed training checklist they must complete fully with the supervision of a manager before they are put on the schedule.
Things we specify during this training are how to greet guests as they enter and what information they should be given, and how to detail the timeline and order of events for each party to ensure nothing is overlooked or forgotten.
We gather feedback after each party, communicate it back to the assistants, and review it in detail with them, which we will discuss more in a moment!
5. Beautiful personal touches
Inside our space, we have also been sure to include touches that party clients appreciate and can customize and make their own.
An example of this would be the backdrop of our dessert table. It is a simple, fabric-covered cork board but can be decorated with banners, balloons, fans, and sweet family photos which can really set the tone and theme for the entire event.
We also allow clients to place their own images or even a slideshow on our televisions, which has been incredibly popular, especially for first birthdays! Clients choose the music they’d like to be played through the use of Bluetooth speakers, and can even play a special “happy birthday” song at cake time if they like.
Overall, our space is beautifully painted and does not need too much decor at all to host a beautiful event. We are sure to keep it immaculately clean and updated so that it looks brand new and spotless for each event. The cleaning process between parties is tedious, by design, because offering a perfect backdrop for every party is a major priority for us.
We also hand-make a timeline for each event, personalized with the child’s name and anything special that will be included in the event like a craft or entertainer. This helps guests to understand the order of our events so they can plan accordingly, and helps our parties flow without a hitch and without (too many!) tantrums!
6. Follow up
In addition to the communication we establish with clients before each event, we do not let the last time we speak with them be when we help them load their gifts and extra food into the car. Recently, we have also started reaching back out to clients after their party takes place to ask how it went.
If they are willing, we ask questions about service, decor, cleanliness, food, timeline, communication, price, and more. This helps us to continually improve our offerings and grow as a team, as well as identify any issues we may need to address immediately.
We have found that clients appreciate this extra step and we have been able to implement many pieces of feedback to truly give our clients an exceptional experience unlike any other.
In fact, customers are much more likely to book their next event (even a year or more out!) with us after we take the time to see how their experience was and ensure we met or exceeded their expectations.
While prioritizing parties in this way is not something every indoor playground can make possible, it works for us. We are known in our area as the premier party spot which leaves us booked out for several months at nearly any given time.
We have grown SO much over the last 3 years based on feedback and constant improvements, and are so proud and confident in our current offerings and are excited for each new event that chooses us to celebrate with them.