The Future of Consumer Self-Service

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The family entertainment, amusement, and attractions industries are social industries deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic. And, although the industry's overall foundation remains the same, many aspects of your business must be reevaluated, starting with recognizing the consumer who awaits post-pandemic. 

The post-pandemic consumer will challenge us to balance the line between self-service and guest experience. We’re living in the post-queue/post-line world, where instant gratification and speed of service matter. And thanks to COVID-19, fears of virus transmission have led to a spike in low-touch, contact-free mobile payments. And that’s not going away.

So, what does the future of self-service hold for family entertainment centers?

  1. Coronavirus accelerates change: It’s become increasingly apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered some things permanently: the customer emerging from the pandemic will be different. This fact is unequivocal, undebatable, and 100% certain.

    Although they will have a renewed appreciation for social connection (from a safe distance), they will not want to touch cash, coins, papers, or anything that can transmit viruses, which acts as a forcing function for our industry to become contactless overnight.
  2. Consumers want choice and control: Customers now expect the availability of cashless and contactless payment options in your venue, allowing them to skip the lines and minimize contact with people and high-touch surfaces. As more people embrace mobile payments, customer expectations grow. Anywhere that doesn’t offer that technology stands out, and not in a good way. 
  3. Contactless payment options and receipts: The pandemic saw a spike in mobile payments due to the low-touch and safe contact-free process. Customers are expecting to pay, play, and have fun with peace of mind. Mobile payments are playing a large role in this, allowing people to have a fully contact-free payment and FEC experience from the comfort of their phone. Plus, with contactless payment options (like Embed’s Mobile Wallet), the game card is one less thing to carry, track, or lose. 

Adopting self-service solutions drives cost-savings and operational efficiencies while preserving your guest experience. By encouraging customers to pre-book parties online, use a Kiosk to skip the lines, or reload their virtual game card anytime, anywhere with the Mobile Wallet, operators can reallocate resources to provide better service and support. The ability to move staff from behind the counter allows them to walk the floor, provide support, or carry out cleaning measures - simple actions that enhance the guest experience.

Contactless payments and gameplay are the future of self-service, enabling businesses to mitigate health risks related to COVID-19 while also streamlining operating processes, reducing manpower, and increasing revenue and profit — and it doesn’t cost you a cent!

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Looking for how to hire a general manager for your family entertainment center? There are specific skills, qualities, and characteristics that you need to be on the lookout for. Whether you have a mom-and-pop FEC or are already scaling into a chain, hiring a general manager is necessary and beneficial to keep your daily operations in check, your staff in their best professional shape for your guests, and your business in its most innovative and successful form yet. To help you on your talent acquisition journey for this vital role, we talked to David Curtis, Senior Director of Talent at Dave & Buster’s, Beth Standlee, CEO & Founder at TrainerTainment, and Embed's very own Kash Ahmad, Management Consultant in Operations at NASA. According to our industry experts, the following are the non-negotiables when it comes to hiring a general manager: