How One Private Museum Grew Its Visitor Count 400%

The business of getting customers in the door has always been a challenge for operators, even a company selling a product as beloved as chocolate. In this operator profile, a small German chocolate museum describes how, by changing their focus on customers, they grew by 400%.
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Reading Time: 4 mins

Hachez, a German chocolate company, wanted to start to a museum called CHOCOVERSUM in Hamburg dedicated to their products. They figured it would be pretty easy. Everyone loves chocolate, and the company knew their product so it would be as simple as opening the doors and people showing up, right? As any attraction can tell you, just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. Unfortunately, in 2011 after one year in operation, fewer than 50,000 people per year were visiting the CHOCOVERSUM.

In 2012, Stephanie Schaub stepped in to take over as managing director and immediately put in an aggressive plan to change how the business saw their customers and the experience.

“The team that was in charge before knew chocolate well, but that isn’t enough to run a successful business,” Schaub recalls. “I immediately went about identifying who the target customer was and began tailoring the museum tours to their expectations.”

For Schaub and her team, there was a renewed emphasis on service design. Service design is how you plan and organize an entire company to better interact with your customers. In practice, they changed how they thought about marketing and employee training by making the museum experience more fun and interactive. She also decided that every tour would have a guide to improve the customer experience. It meant making sure there were more samples and the ability to create a custom chocolate bar at the end of the tour.

Not Everyone is a Chocoholic

More importantly, it meant realizing that there are certain types of customers that the tour was not designed for and not try to market to that segment. There are some people who don’t like chocolate; others with expectations they simply weren’t designed to meet. You can’t be all things to every customer.

“There were certain people that want an in-depth history of the cocoa bean, and we’re just not that type of museum,” Schaub explains.

It was a lot of hard work for Schaub and the team at the CHOCOVERSUM, but the results have been extraordinary. Attendance has grown to more than 200,000 visitors per year. They also have seen revenue growth from changing what they sell in the gift shop. When it comes to a chocolate attraction, hard work and adaptability make all the difference.

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