The two basic building blocks of visitor contacts are:
- WHAT you say to the visitor; and
- HOW you say it.
You should always look for opportunities to enhance the experience of the visitor. The primary tools in accomplishing this are KNOWLEDGE of your local area and the State of California, and your ATTITUDE when delivering that knowledge.
Good visitor contact is a CHOICE. A good visitor experience not only benefits Cabrillo National Monument, but also park service areas throughout the country. Positive interaction with visitors also provides better compliance with park regulations, better understanding of the natural environment and more support by the taxpayer when needed.
When handling an angry or impatient visitor remember:
- Never argue.
- Listen closely, allowing them to vent.
- Let them know you are on their side.
- Apologize for their inconvenience.
- When appropriate, call your supervisor.
One of the most important responsibilities of a good ranger/VIP is to answer questions. The most commonly asked questions deal with:
- History of area
- What to do
- Where to eat
- Where to sleep
Many visitors come from foreign countries, so:
- Always be patient; they want to communicate as clearly as you do.
- Talk slowly and clearly. Chances are they know some English and will have a better chance of understanding.
- Avoid American slang.
- Be aware of cultural habits and values that might be different from your own.
- Avoid sudden movements.
- SMILE – it’s understood in every language!
Last revised 14-Jul-13