It’s Value Added

Feb 27, 2012

By Al Zehnder, C.E.O. of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth

We spend a fair amount of time reading guest emails and comment cards. Seriously, we do. If a guest has a suggestion, compliment or complaint, we log those and continually try to improve the guest experience.

Nearly seven years ago when we built Zehnder’s Splash Village, we needed to connect the existing two story building with the new four story building. It was easy at ground level but connecting the two buildings at the second floor presented some problems and instead of solving the grade difference with a ramp, we built steps. Don’t ask me why, but we just didn’t catch it and it was a problem from day one. Not bad if you didn’t have a luggage cart, stroller, walker or wheelchair. But we’re a family destination and nearly everyone had a luggage cart, stroller, walker or wheelchair.

Well we finally got around to fixing the problem right after the first of this year. I’m not sure why it took us so long but now a ramp transitions from the second floor of the new building to the second floor of the existing building. I went to view the progress of the job just as our maintenance crew was doing some touch-up painting. I commented to one of our guys Mike how good it looked and what a great job they had done. His quick reply wasn’t “thank you” but he said, “It’s value added, Al”. To Mike, it wasn’t replacing three steps with a ramp, it was adding value to the guest experience. That really stuck with me. That’s the key. Having everyone focus on how we can add value to the guest experience. Something as simple as replacing steps with a ramp adds value.

I’ve learned in this business, it’s often the little things that add value; smiles, our little plastic animals on the ice cream, Drumstick walking through the dining rooms, lifeguards making sure our little guests have fun, the fairway mower stopping while you line up the putt, and yes, ramps instead of steps. The next time you visit our company; whether at Zehnder’s our world famous restaurant, having fun at Zehnder’s Splash Village, purchasing some of our products in Zehnder’s Marketplace or lining up your putt at our championship golf course, The Fortress, if there is something we can do to add value to your experience, please let us know. Hope to have you back soon.

~Al Zehnder

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