Just because you are the only place in town can you neglect customer service?
I think we have just witnessed the worse examples of customer service and blatant naziism I have every witnessed. Obviously the old adage that the customer is always right, doesn't apply when you have a monopoly.
We arrive early today into the Tom Price tourist caravan park after suffering a tire blow out about 20 kilometres up the road. The warning bells sounded almost immediately while trying to book in. I explained my predicament to the lady at the counter and requested that she might direct me to a suitable campsite and mechanic. We asked all the usual question when booking into a park. Namely which is better a powered site or a unpowered site in regard to proximity to the camp kitchen and amenities. We generally take a powered site so we can keep all our devices charged but if a park is busy the powered sites can be a long way from the camp kitchen in which case we will take an unpowered site. The response I received was unexpected. "You make a decision on the type of site you want and I'll tell you where you can camp". My thoughts were, Great I know nothing about your camping ground and your telling me I have to make an uninformed decision about the type of site I should choose and then hope you will allocate a space suitable to our needs. So I asked to look at a site map and have her point out the location of the facilities. Unpowered sites appeared to be in the middle of everything and looking out the window they didn't appear to be busy so I opted for an unpowered site.
That's when the rules started. Firstly I had to produce a $10 deposit for a key to the toilets. I couldn't even have this added to the amount I was paying on the card. I didn't have any cash on me but I wasn't allowed into the park until I'd provided the cash. Luckily Michelle had a twenty in the car and I just had to walk outside to get it otherwise I expect I'd have to drive 6km into town to get cash. What???
She then insinuated that I was lying about the age of our children. I'm not certain why people under the age of 18 are considered children or minors by the law, but every establishment we visit can set arbitrary age limits to define who is and isn't an adult. In this case the definition of a child was between the age of 5 and 15. The children traveling with us fall within this age bracket, and unless the manager has a right to request a proof of age document, they are just going to have to accept a parent or guardians word on the age of any accompanying children.
Next I was given directions to the unpowered site which was literally just outside the office a simple twenty meters away in the car, but I was directed to drive all the way around the park to get to the site, not wanting to ruffle any feathers we dutifully drove around the streets of the park, gawking at our neighbours and interrupting their evening in the process. Totally unnecessary and a big waste of time.
Then we noticed the signs. We have been taking notice of signs and customer service at each place we stay and one of our pet grips with caravan parks are the NO signs. We are going to write a post about the signs and how they could be rewritten to be less officious, more friendly and still convey the appropriate message. However the Tom Price Tourist Park deserves a special mention.
Here is a collection of the signs in the bathrooms. Similar sets appear in the camp kitchen, laundry and just about everywhere you look. This is only a subset of the total number of signs at the park.
Why all the signs, are people really that disrespectful and obnoxious that every little aspect of their visit must be controlled. Or is it a calmer thing brought on by managements attitude to their tenants?
The no charging of phones and cameras sign is so stupid it deserves to be pointed out. If someone tried to confiscate my devices for occupying a socket in the bathroom or camp kitchen for twenty minute while I was cooking or showering, they would certainly want to make sure their hospital insurance was fully paid up. I'm not certain what legal right the management think they have to appropriate a tenants property but I certainly think the law suit would be interesting to watch. If mine disappeared, I'd certainly call the police to investigate.
But the whole idea is stupid and counter productive. Why not just embrace the new technology era, it's not going away. Install charge bars in the kitchen and around the park. Customer experience and good will, will increase occupancy and pay for the installation of charging facilities one hundred fold in no time. Whats the big problem with charging a phone or camera. Charger use such little power compared to the fridges, kettles and even lighting around a park. The only real grip the management can have is power point hogging. So install a few more power points, international sockets and power boards. People will love it and talk about the progressive Tom Price Tourist Park.
Customer service is the secret to a good business and if you can't provide great customer service then it's time to find another occupation. Even if you have a monopoly in a small town like Tom Price. The benefits of great customer service and the law of reciprocity will ensure that a business goes from strength to strength. But we can tell by the attitude witnessed this evening from the management of the camp that their heart is no longer in the business and they no longer provide a service to help people but run a business to serve themselves. The signs and rules alone would indicate this but we witnessed one of the managers hounding a visitor at the gate, chastising a female camper to comply to his will, with no regard to her situation or circumstance. Really it amounted to an act of bullying where he leveraged his position and monopoly.
How can we write something good about this tourist park, who's facilities, location and scenery are as good any we have visited until the management situation at the park changes. We honestly couldn't recommend the place to other travellers.