Lessons from the Locals: Salem Witch Museum

(originally published for the Business Owner Tide Chart newsletter - September 2019)


The Salem Witch Museum, with it’s iconic building and popular story to share, will see over a million people in October.  Long distance tourists and Salem locals alike will crowd the sidewalk and stop to take a picture in front of the Roger Conant statute.  Rachel Christ, Director of Education for the Salem Witch Museum shared a few tips the museum employs to ensure they can host as many visitors as possible while providing a safe and comfortable experience.  This is no easy task!

Focusing on your employees is priority number one for Rachel.  That means providing snacks to keep the energy high and buying lunch on the weekends so staff don’t have to navigate the crowds on their break.  “It sounds very basic, but don’t underestimate the power of a cookie,” says Rachel.  It also means checking in with one another throughout the day.  Even the best staff in the world will grow weary in October.  Give them the opportunity to step off the floor and take a quick rest. The Witch Museum has a space away from visitors where staff can rest their feet and their voices. 

“If we’re not good, we can’t provide a great experience,” Rachel reminds us. 

Sometimes providing that great experience, consistently, can be a bit challenging when the lines are longer and our visitors have taken on "tourism brain."  You know what Rachel is talking about; when completely reasonable people become a bit unreasonable and forgetful simply because they are on vacation.  This can wear on our patience and ability to deliver an exceptional customer experience.  It also means our patience and a warm smile are even more important!

Everyone will work harder and longer hours in October.  But it’s also a lot of fun!  Ensuring it is successful for both employee and customer requires preparation. Take some time over the next few days and plan how you will support your staff.  Use a few tips from Rachel and the staff at the Salem Witch Museum, snacks and time to rest can have a positive impact on your staff’s attitude.  And with a positive attitude, excellent customer service can be delivered to every Halloween visitor!

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