Giving live tours can be challenging enough. Giving live factory tours increases this challenge. Factory tour guides are guiding people of all ages from all backgrounds through a dynamic work environment. Guides must be alert, informative, responsive and ensure the work flow of normal operations is not disrupted. Factory environments can have temperature extremes, odd, loud sounds, sights and smells, creating many distractions for visitors. This makes it challenging for tour guides to deliver great experiences consistently.
Lets outline a few best practices to help keep your visitors on track, entertained and safe.
Best Practices for Live Factory Tours
You should have a tour plan, which includes the path/layout of your tour, as well as a script. The path should minimize disruptions and maintain a safe viewing distance from employees and factory equipment. This helps the tour guide and employees distinguish visitors on a busy factory floor. Gathering points should be planned for tour stops. Furthermore, these gathering points should not impede work traffic and allow good visibility. The script does not need to be formal, but each area of interest should have details that your visitors would be interested in hearing about. The most successful factory tours have guides that know how to deliver great scripted stories.
At the beginning of the tour, introduce yourself and meet your guests. For instance, you may want to ask where they are from, why they wanted to see the factory tour, if they use your product/s? etc. Cover the safety items that should be addressed, (Walk path, emergency procedures, physical challenges on tour, restroom locations etc.). Provide visitors with pre-scripted company information (your brand experience) and tell them what they are about to see. Share the impressive details, such as number of units manufactured, state of the art machinery, specialized processes, etc.
When leading the tour be aware of visitors lagging behind or being distracted by this foreign environment. Make sure everyone has arrived at the gathering point before speaking about the point of interest. When people have questions, always repeat the question aloud so that all visitors can hear what is being answered. Keep “fresh” eyes. Things that may seem typical to you, may be fascinating to some of your visitors. Use their questions and observations to incorporate points into your script, eliminating identical questions from being asked on multiple tours.
At the end of the tour, ask them if they enjoyed it. Find out their favourite parts. See if there are things that they were disappointed with. This too can help you edit a script or path to improve visitor satisfaction.
Lastly, to improve safety and control of your tour, as well as reduce tour guide fatigue, consider the implementation of a tour guide system. This will provide guests with lightweight headphones and wireless receivers to clearly hear tour guides on the factory floor. The tour guide does not need to compete with background noise and strain their voice. In addition, visitors will be less distracted and capable of hearing every word spoken.
Have experience/tips of your own giving factory tours? Funny stories to share? We’d love to hear from you at [email protected].