Are you hitting the sweet spot with your custom fitting experience?

    Stuart Kerr, Business Development Consultant – Scotland and Ireland, Foremost Golf offers advice on maximising your custom fitting experience.

    The industry has largely done a good job over the last decade in educating consumers as to why their next hardware purchase needs to be custom fit. Indeed, the vast majority of retailers are now offering custom fitting, so it is no longer good enough to just promote this service. You must stand out from the crowd and offer the golfer a premium customer service experience.

    The Pre-Fitting Experience
    Set the tone for professionalism. Do not just book the appointment into your diary and wait for the day to arrive. There are multiple things you can put in place.

    Firstly, make sure your custom fitting section on your website has real impact. Explain to the customer not only the importance of fitting, but your expertise, facilities and technology used. Use the sort of images and videos that an estate agent would take if they were showcasing your business. Make it abundantly obvious why a golfer should choose to book their fitting with you (and not the dozens of competitors close by). At Foremost, we have a dedicated Marketing Editor team to help with this process and present the most professional image of your business possible.

    Secondly once the fitting had been booked in look to send the customer a confirmation email alongside a pre-fitting questionnaire. This will allow you to record vital information so when they turn up on the day you know: their ability, what equipment they are looking at, whether they are left or right-handed so you can have everything set up beforehand. Within the email look to get them excited for the day. Include some visuals of the launch monitor / technology you use and make it a real showcase. Remember that although you do dozens of fittings, this is a big deal for most golfers and should be a special experience for them.

    Thirdly make sure you send a reminder email 48 hours before the fitting. This will help limit no-shows but will once again reconfirm your professional approach.

    The Fitting Environment
    First impressions tell the customer more about you and your business then many realise. Carry out a customer walk to your fitting studio. Look through the eyes of your customer, what do you see? Is the walk to and from the fitting room experience tidy, clean, organised? Are you the mad professor or are you the Expert Professional Fitter?
    It’s imperative that your fitting environment is ready for when your customer arrives. Imagine if John Lewis had a custom fitting facility. Yours should reflect how that would look and feel.

    The environment should be immaculate, clean, and clutter-free. Make sure your displays and fitting carts are well presented with the correct components in their allocated areas. Ensure your equipment is in full working order and is well presented, including launch monitor, mat, screen, balls, and tees. This sounds simple but it can often be overlooked and will have an impact on the customers experience and results if not checked.

    The Fitting Itself
    Do everything you can to make the customer feel special (this fitting is a big deal for them).

    Remember, they will be your most effective marketing tool to encourage future fittings. You should look to have a welcome message on your screen when they walk in; this takes minutes to do but gives the experience a personal feel. Make sure you offer them a drink and answer any questions they may have. Ensure you give them 100% attention and show genuine interest in their game. Utilise assets at your disposal such as fitting forms (paper or digital) as this once again reinforce your position as the expert.

    After-sales Service

    Very few retailers do this well in our industry. It is your opportunity to ensure that you don’t just have a customer for one sale, you have a customer for life. Showing that you genuinely care (after the money has been taken) will lead to huge customer loyalty and encourage that all important ‘word of mouth marketing’.

    During the collection of the goods look to present them with a free gift. This doesn’t have to be lavish (e.g., a tri-fold towel or coffee mug with your logo on), but it is a nice touch that will remind them of you going forwards. Secondly during the collection have a personalised thank you letter ready. This should state that having just bought their equipment, you and your team’s service is just starting, not finishing. Make them know the door is always open and you would be delighted to look after them for any future golf purchase.

    It’s important to invite them back for a free 15-minute check up in a month’s time. This is your chance to sort any issue out, or if everything is going well, get a testimonial. You can go one step further and call them after 3 months and again at 6 months, purely to check on how the equipment is going. As well as a nice service, it is amazing the number of additional sales that come from these calls.

    Finally, it should go without saying that custom fit customers (and ideally all customers) should be added to your email database. These are your very best customers and to risk not keeping them engaged with your communications while your competitors do is frankly inexcusable! GR

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    As an avid golfer since the age of eleven Dan lives and breathes all things golf.  With a current handicap of eleven he gets out and plays as often as his work life (and girlfriend) allows. Dan confesses to still being like a kid at Christmas when it comes to seeing the latest golf equipment. Having served as GolfPunk’s Deputy Editor, and resident golf geek for the past 13 years and working for golf's oldest brand, John Letters Dan brings to GOLF RETAILING an excellent understanding of the sector.