(Note from Mark: I am always delighted to learn of companies and organizations using The Fred Factor philosophy and principles. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is an example. I asked Brian Waltman, Director of Education, to share with you how they used The Fred Factor.)
“E-I-E-I-O” is the popular refrain from an old kid’s melody about Old MacDonald and his farm. A new twist of the song has Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania spelling customer service “F. R. E. D.”
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is a Agritainment (combining agriculture with entertainment) facility with over 100,000 visitors annually. Centered around a corn maze, Cherry Crest features over 50 authentic farm fun natural attractions that keep families busy for hours. While Cherry Crest knows first-rate attractions are a key to a successful operation, superior customer service is also an essential ingredient for attracting returning customers. This is where Fred enters the farm scene.
Two years ago as the Director of Education, I introduced Fred to the staff as a practical way of fleshing out our customer service culture. Cherry Crest refers to their training process as “Fredification.” The Fred concepts are clearly spelled out in the employee handbook, routinely visited in morning staff meetings, reviewed in email updates and Fred often shows up in daily conversations among staff. This past year CCAF went one step further by incorporating Fred in each staff’s annual performance review. Their revamped employee evaluation had all the typical elements such as “meets job performance standards” and “follow company policies.” But a new element was added to include “Demonstrating Fredness.” Each employee was rated on a 4 point scales in regards to their Fred-like qualities of making a positive difference, building relationships, adding value and reinventing themselves. CCAF even designed and created a lapel pin to award to employees who scored a 4 in each of the four categories.
CCAF intentionally seeks to hire, develop and reward Fred’s. The return on this investment has been huge. CCAF continually receives volumes of positive feedback from customers raving about their farm experience and in particular their hugely positive interactions with CCAF staff. Thanks Mark, for putting Fred’s story in writing. Fred continues to make a positive difference – even down on the farm.
If you are interested in more information or discussion about Cherry Crest’s “Fredification program,” please contact Brian Waltman at BWaltman@cherrycrestfarm.com.