Building solid customer relations begins at the grass roots of customer service. A solid customer service program builds your facility's reputation as an establishment above the competition. Make certain all areas of the facility are addressed and trained in quality customer service.
Here are four ideas to keep in mind:
Once a solid reputation for quality service has been established, word of mouth can spread quickly. We aggressively pursued retail outings to consider our facility for their next outing. We were confident once we had the retail group host their outing with us, our quality service would drive more outing play as well as additional membership requests.
At the conclusion of each of our events we distribute customer service surveys. These surveys are reviewed by all managers of our facilities. Any time a survey score drops below our standard, that area's manager makes a personal phone call to the host of the event to gain an insight as to what exactly transpired.
Be open to criticism. I once attended a seminar regarding surveys. When asked if facilities send surveys out at the conclusion of an outing, only half of the facilities responded yes. One gentleman even said he really did not care to hear about the opinions of those playing his facility! I have many times talked to my staff about surveys and what we learn from them. I have said, “Those who criticize me, train me.” Once a consistent issue has been revealed, then it’s time to pull the other managers and supervisors in to discuss how to resolve the issue.
Increasing membership numbers can be as simple as forgoing an initiation fee or offering an incentive to current members. We offered free carts for one year to our current members who brought in any new members (the new members got free carts too!). Yes, the cart revenue took one on the chin, but the dues revenue and club usage far outweighed the losses to the cart revenue. The following year, we offered a discounted yearly cart pass that allows members unlimited cart usage. Again, more revenue, added dues dollars and additional rounds, which lead to more food and beverage dollars and so on.
What is your facility doing to build customer relations and retain memberships?
Chad Seymour is the head PGA golf professional at Westfield Group Country Club, and has been a golf professional since 1979. He was elected to PGA membership in 1983 and accepted the position at Westfield Group Country Club in June of 1985. He has been active on the Northern Ohio PGA (NOPGA) Board since 2001. When he was appointed to the board, he held the positions of apprentice committee chairman, secretary, vice president, and now president, of the NOPGA since 2009.