Has your team prepared for its 2016 customers?

    By following the example of The Masters and striving for excellence, golf clubs can improve their performance, says Eddie Bullock.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.44.03As we swiftly approach Spring The Masters annually kick-starts the golf business entrepreneurial taste buds. Leading with an open question: how many golf club businesses have followed similar lines of the planning stages that go into the preparation and delivery of The Masters at the Augusta National? Yes this is their showcase, a brand that is iconic and arguably the most recognised golf event in the world.

    However, let’s look at this from a different perspective, more through a business lens. How many golf club businesses in the UK will have profited by their example and have prepared and conducted a self-assessment refinement plan on how they communicate and deliver top level service, by resembling the work ethics that are common at the Augusta National Golf Club? This is without question one of the slickest and inspirational team performances that I have personally witnessed.

    The Masters team is a military operation; no stone is left unturned, whereby attention to detail is delivered with perfection in mind. Whether it’s the retail operations, turf maintenance, food and beverage or general operations, all contribute to delivering a standard of service that the global fraternity of golf are aware of. I feel certain that each year the Augusta National team assemble to raise the bar in delivering an annual experience of improvement for its members, guests and patrons, that must be an improvement on the following year.

    Does your club do this? Are you well prepared and on the starting blocks to deliver a different performance than you did in 2015? Has the collective club team all discussed their 2015 performances and the changes that are required to finely tune each department in place?

    If you have not then here are three actions all clubs should implement immediately:

    1. Hold a 2015 de-briefing
    2. Presentation to all teams evaluating business performance for 2015
    3. Presentation to all teams to share the business objectives for 2016

    The service that was delivered last season should be improved for the following year. The customer journey should not be taken for granted, as each year there will be marginal refinements that will influence the customer in how they make their decision and choices, which will have a direct impact on how they decide to part with their hard-earned cash.

    I have seen some significant improvements in recent years in how golf club/resort facilities are waking up to the fact of looking after each and every customer that enters their businesses. More clubs than ever are aware that structured service plans are imperative to make certain that the members and guest are all catered for. However, there are still a high proportion of golf clubs that have not changed in the last twenty years, yet are still expecting the customer to somehow find them.

    It is not rocket science, just take a leaf out of the Augusta National or any other club that has delivered a successful golf business model and ask yourself, what have they done? It is common sense that they have invited the customer into their business, seduced, entertained, while emotionally connecting with their members and guests. Those that participate in golf are intensely social animals, and crave conversation and contact in person. The other key factor is research; delve more intently into what your future customer is looking for, or just ask them!

    A recent personal experience at a well respected Surrey Golf Club was a shining example of retail prevention officers at work. Alas it felt as if I was intruding and invading the territory of both the Head Pro and Assistant; both were in attendance, however the performance of Chelsea FC was much more important than my purchase and I received a complete lack of welcome and no eye contact. I must add this experience was not characteristic on the rest of the club experience, however it did display a lack of cohesive unity. All team members should be mutually accountable, not just for their own areas, but for collective goals within their club operations. This experience sadly imprinted a negative reason not to recommend this club during any impromptu conversation I may have in the future.

    UK golf customer service needs to cultivate a more robust approach to how they react towards their members, guests and customers. Each golf department must work as a unit as effective team service is about thinking one step ahead, just like Augusta National.

    Eddie Bullock speaks and consults on Leadership Development, Strategic Planning, Customer Service Strategy and Team Development, using proven, innovative and customs designed techniques. He is widely recognised as an authority on the emerging trends within the global golf club industry. www.eddiebullockgolf.com

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    Miles is the Owner and Managing Director of Robel Media, and the award winning GOLF RETAILING Magazine. With over 25 years in the media business, Miles has a wealth of experience in magazine publishing, digital media and live events. HANDICAP - 7.2