Chris Perry, has been the General Manager of Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai since 2007. In this interview he talks about the efforts and customer service strategies which have turned the water park into the ultimate ‘Customer Thrill.’
TripAdvisor has ranked the Park #6 amongst the world’s best water parks. What is it that you’re doing different which sets Wild Wadi apart from others?
Chris Perry: I think our team is aligned in our mission to “Make Their Day Fun and Memorable”. All of our colleagues know our mission and know our 3 Hallmarks that we live by! We speak about this often with our team!
How is your staff trained on providing visitors to the Park with the ultimate customer experience?
Chris Perry: We have a dedicated in house training team, and in some departments, they have their own training teams. Our training programs have won international awards. (We won the Brass Ring Award for the most Innovative Training Program in the World for amusement facilities in 2013 from IAAPA….the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.)
What strategies does the park deploy for crowd management?
Chris Perry: Each of our departments are responsible for managing guests and queues in their own areas. On top of that, our management team is visible and active and assists in ensuring we are “actively” managing our queues, especially on the busiest days. Wild Wadi also has a dedicated security team that is visible at the entrance/exit of the park, in the locker rooms and out in the park.
What loyalty and rewards programs do you have in place?
Chris Perry: Guests are able to avail Sirius points, which is the Jumeirah loyalty program. For those guests that are regular visitors, we have season passes that allow them access to Wild Wadi year round!
How do you measure Customer Experience during or after their visit to the park?
Chris Perry: We have numerous program in place to measure customer experience. We have customer surveys that get emailed to our guests and this gives us a monthly Customer Service Index. We also have a Mystery Shopper program that comes to evaluate our services without us knowing and provides us a score. Finally, we are very active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and regularly respond to guest comments and to all guest questions.
What processes do you have in place for ensuring cleanliness?
Chris Perry: Every single colleague (employee) is responsible for cleanliness, including myself. We have a dedicated team of Park Services, colleagues that have checklists for opening, checklists for their “sections” throughout the day and also for closing. These are followed up by supervisors and anything that is recognized as not “up to standard” during the day is rectified immediately if possible. Cleanliness ranks very high amongst our priorities.
Do you have an online booking system through which your visitors can purchase tickets online in advance?
Chris Perry: Thank you for asking! We do have an online system that guests can purchase tickets from. By doing this, guests then do not have to wait in any queues at the main entrance and are able to proceed directly in to Wild Wadi! Why wouldn’t everyone purchase online tickets?
What are your processes for dealing with customer complaints?
Chris Perry: We really try to handle guest concerns and solve them onsite. We always have operations managers on duty and a senior manager on duty anytime we are open. If our frontline colleagues are unable to satisfy our guests, then the issue is passed on to our management team to be resolved.
Do you normally have celebrities visiting Wild Wadi and are they catered to differently from your regular visitors?
Chris Perry: We have had numerous celebrities visit us over the years. We have VIP cabana areas that allow for more privacy and many of the celebs have opted for this. We also have the option of renting out the entire Wild Wadi after hours, and for the A list celebrities we recommend this for their own privacy. This happens more frequently than you think!
What security measures are in place to deal with harassment and inappropriate behavior?
Chris Perry: We have a zero tolerance policy for harassment and depending upon what the inappropriate behavior is, it would determine our action. We are a family park and want everyone to feel comfortable. Our team is trained to recognize and prevent harassment and inappropriate behavior before it begins. Having numerous supervisors and security personnel roaming the park (as well as hundreds of lifeguards) is a good deterrent in itself!
What first aid measures do you have in place for sudden injuries and accidents?
Chris Perry: All of our lifeguards are trained in first aid, CPR, AED and supplemental oxygen. Additionally, we always have a licensed paramedic on-site anytime we are open. Our teams regularly train and practice our Emergency Action Plan so that if something should ever occur, they are duly prepared.
Can you cite an example of outstanding customer service on behalf of your staff?
Chris Perry: To me it is more about the consistent delivery of the service day in and day out, from opening to closing! When I see our colleagues continuing to smile, greet, help and interact with our guests after an extremely long and hot summer day…this is what makes me smile and what our guests always comment on!
What are some of the most memorable compliments you have received from your customers?
Chris Perry: We have had guests who have lost thousands of dirhams or their iphone or their expensive sunglasses, and our colleagues have turned them in immediately to lost and found. I can’t tell you the gratitude that our guests have for the colleagues that have turned that item in. It is fun to watch…and to our colleagues, they are just doing their job!
What are your future plans to make Wild Wadi an even bigger thrill for your visitors?
Chris Perry: Dubai is growing quickly and soon there will be more amusement attractions to choose from. We will continue to innovate in our offerings to our guests so that we can still be their favorite in Dubai and the Emirates! Watch this space!
About Chris Perry
Chris Perry has been associated with the Wild Wadi Water Park for the last 15 years. He is also the Chairman of the Waterpark Committee-International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). He has an MBA from London Business School.