Sweet Servuction: Discovering the Business Behind a Corn Maze

By Ali Fisher

Halloween is a time filled with costumes, candy, and corn mazes. The Dean’s Student Leadership Council decided that visiting a local maze would be a fun first outing to work on team building and to have a little fall fun.

As we approached the line for the corn maze, we noticed a sign, “Corn Maze – Your Future Business.” Until that Saturday, the idea of owning a corn maze had never crossed my mind; however, when accompanied by a group of business students and a wait time of nearly 45 minutes, the conversation quickly went in that direction. Here’s what we determined after reflecting on our experience:

Your experience as a corn maze customer is a result of four components, known as the Servuction Model.

SModel

Other customers. By separating customers into smaller groups, it exposes consumers to two things —emotional behavior and bottlenecks. Before explaining that this buildup of people creates unnecessary time constraints, let’s examine the three types of emotional behavior exhibited from customers at corn mazes:

  • Emotional Involvement: These consumers are invested in the experience, actively engaging to prolong activity, and enjoying suspenseful areas throughout the maze.
  • Emotional Expressiveness: These are consumers who might scream, yell, or maybe even laugh outwardly to perceived scary and suspenseful events. Other consumers in this category may regret spending money on such childish activity and express regret in superficial emotion.
  • Emotional Intelligence: These consumers might as well give you a tour of the maze. They know when and where a service personnel is going to jump out and attempt to scare you. They can easily control their ability to be scared, but may take the fun out of the experience.

cornBottlenecks. Have you ever gotten stuck behind a group of slow individuals just when you were starting to figure out the right path? These are the bottlenecks. And this buildup of people is bound to impact your experience, according to the Servuction Model. They slow your experience right when you are on the edge of your triumphant finish. Is that the dilemma of the owner of the maze, or is it your problem? The company might want to consider making wider paths, admitting fewer people into the maze at once, increasing acreage and therefore expanding the maze, or reviewing the maze patterns to filter consumers in different areas using service personnel as key influencers.

Servicescape. This refers to the environment designed for the service. It includes two features — ambient conditions and physical evidence.

  • Ambient Conditions: Includes features such as the lighting, temperature, smells, sights, music, etc., by providing fog lights, ghost music, and increasing the specific aromas such as apple cider, the servicescape adds to the service experience of the consumer.
  • Physical Evidence: Encompasses features like signs, symbols, and artifacts. Objects such as the ticket booth, the website, and the design on the tickets need to clearly convey and enhance the maze operations; otherwise, discrepancies between the message provided and the message received may be a result of the servicescape.

Servicescape varies between corn mazes, but overall the components should seek to clearly align with the mission of the corn maze. Use this as an opportunity to set consumer expectations from the very beginning.

Service Personnel. This is what keeps people coming back and spreads positive word of mouth for a corn maze. If employees are not in character and do not scare customers, then they do not effectively accomplish the service paid for by consumers. Do they live by the mission of the organization? Do they live up to the level of fear one could expect when experiencing the maze? Service personnel not only interact with the consumers, but serve as an important source for product differentiation.

Organization and Systems. The rules, regulations, and processes implemented behind the scenes determine whether or not consumers will have a positive experience. This includes the proficiency of finances and how they are managed, whether or not human resource areas are controlled, the level of organization in the company’s systems, and performance standards that are in place. These components are not visible to the consumer, though they have a significant effect on consumers’ service experience.

With these four concepts in mind, consumers form perceptions regarding their corn maze experience. Are they satisfied, based on their expectations coming into the corn maze? As an owner, if you create a positive service experience,influential word of mouth, and buzz marketing campaigns, you can increase revenue as a result of increased customers.

Through this experience, I learned that business principles can be applied to everything – even corn mazes. With the right team and the right tools, any venture can be a successful one.

Special thanks to Marketing Professor, Doug Hoffman, for showing us all the power of servuction.

Happy Halloween, Business Rams!

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2013 Involvement Fair

SLiCE

by Tim Pate

I know I’ve said it before, but it deserves to be said again: getting involved with extracurricular organizations at Colorado State University is a great way to get the most out of your college experience. Student organizations are designed to complement your coursework and enhance your time at CSU, and there are literally hundreds of organizations that would love to have you.

That’s why you should stop by the 2013 Involvement Fair at the Lory Student Center, Wednesday, Jan. 30.

The Involvement Fair is an opportunity for CSU students to get involved on campus and in the community by connecting with student and community organizations. The Involvement Fair will feature dozens of organizations to match the interests of students with diverse backgrounds.

This semester, a number of business-oriented organizations are set to make an appearance, including BizMiss, DECA, and the Marketing Club. Following is a full list of registrants as of Jan. 29:

• 220 (formally The Net)

• Ability Club

• Alpha Phi Gamma

• Alpha Phi Omega

• ASCSU

• Beta Gamma Nu

• Biomedical Student Association

• BizMiss

• Brew Crew at CSU

• Christian Challenge

• Colorado State Shotgun Sports

• Dance Marathon

• Minecraft Club

• Science Fiction and Fantasy Club

• Snowboard Team

• DECA

• Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society

• Fair Trade U

• Farmhouse Fraternity

• Fort Collins Rotaract

• Global Ambassadors Program

• Hillel: Foundation for Jewish Campus Life

• Hui O Hawaii

• Insideout Serve

• Japan Club

• Journal of Undergrad Research

• Lambda Theta Nu Sorority

• Leaders in Free Thought

• Lutheran Campus Ministry at CSU

• Marketing Club

• Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity

• On the Bright Side

• OtterBox

• Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority

• Premedica

• Psi Chi/PSA

• Ram Runners

• Rams Organizing for Animal Rights

• SACNAS

• Sigma Alpha Epsilon

• Sigma Lambda Beta

• Sigma Lamda Gamma Sorority

• SLiCE

• Snowriders

• Social Work in Action

• Society for Conservation Biology

• Society of Global Health Researchers in Actions

• Students United for Reproductive Justice

• SURG

• Swim Club

• Team Handball

• TEDxCSU

• The Wildlife Society

• Theta Chi

• Timmy Global Health

• Triathlon Club

• Women in Physics

• Women’s Rugby

• Women’s Volleyball

• Young Americans for Liberty

 

Whether you want a club that corresponds with your studies or simply to find a group of people who share your interests, there exists an organization at CSU for you. Stop by the Lory Student Center today and connect with an organization.

Get Involved!

By Tim Pate

Congratulations! You made it through the first week of the fall semester at CSU. Most of your professors are diving into the material for your classes, and you are slowly learning or remembering what it’s like to be a CSU Ram.

As you become more accustomed with being back in school, I would like to encourage you to look into an opportunity to enhance your university career: student involvement. There is no better place to start than right here at the College of Business, where we have nearly 20 student organizations specifically tailored to your interests in the world of business.

Members of the Society of Human Resource Management Student Chapter use Hewlett-Packard HALO video conferencing technology to meet with Human Resource professionals from around the world. (Photo and caption courtesy SHRM)

No matter your concentration, the College of Business has a student organization just for you. These departmental organizations are here to foster your education and to give you real-world experience in the field of your choice. Get homework assistance, participate in competitions, or just meet people who share your interests. Clubs are great for networking and team-building, and they often lead to opportunities after college.

Student organizations also go beyond the concentrations within the College. A number of fraternities, honor societies, and diversity organizations are also available to help you become connected to College of Business and CSU communities. Even better, if there is an organization you have conceptualized but does not yet exist, nothing is obstructing you from establishing it and starting a legacy of your own.

At the College of Business, you can expect great professors who will develop in you a great knowledge of the business world. However, you have the power to enrich your experience at CSU by getting involved in campus organizations. What you gain in your time at Fort Collins is largely dependent on the effort you commit to making this time special.

Interested in joining a College of Business student organization? Learn more about them all here.