How to improve your service “touch-points”
To be considered a facility with “good service” you must really provide consistent, not just occasional, good service throughout all areas of the operation at all times. This can sometimes be a challenge when you have multiple staff that the client comes into contact with during their visit to your course. Every time a customer interacts with your business, it is called a “touch-point”. How you manage and set expectation for each of these touch-points is the key to providing good or excellent service. It is very important to have repeatable procedures that all staff can implement every day and most importantly that also adds to the entire experience. Many industry procedures nowadays actually work against this overall experience. (E.g. hotel check-in – why do we need to give all our information again when checking in? Didn’t we give it all when confirming the initial reservation!)
Players coming to your facility fit into two categories, First time, and Repeat.
First time clients must go away with a good/great first impression or you risk them not coming back again, and worse, spreading the word to their circle of influence that the service at your facility is not that good. This negative feedback is so much easier to disperse in the age of emails and online forums where there are no taboo subjects.
A first impression is culminated by their overall experience during their visit – staff attitude, course condition, ease of booking, pace of play etc. Each area of their experience is basically a touch-point that you must address with training or expectation and will be dependent on your course standards.
Repeat clients are slightly different since they are coming back with a specific expectation that is based on all the prior times they visited you, and from the recommendations and feedback they may have received from friends that validated your initial impression. Clients that have had more positive experiences than poor experiences will keep returning especially if they feel their value for money equation is correct.
The important thing to remember is that each customer’s overall experience can be broken down into several touch points; each with its own deposit or a withdrawal.
6 easy ways to provide engaging service by managing your service touch-points.
1) Have a standard phone script for all areas of your operation. Train staff on the appropriate way to answer calls, put clients on hold, and to take a message. Hold them accountable for not following standards, as its vital that everyone answers the same way, all the time. Consistency is key.
2) Pro shop staff need to be proactive and get out from behind the counter. We call this “counteritis”, when staff would be caught lazily behind the counter and not helping clients or cleaning the shop. This seems to happen more when its not busy, like in the afternoon and the GM is away for the day.
3) Food and beverage staff should be trained to ask a client if they would like another drink when current one is half full or a coffee/dessert after their meal is done. Not only is this an expected requirement at good restaurants, its also a great way to improve your average spend for the day.
4) Course maintenance staff- the expectation at a good service facility is that staff stop for players, on minimum say hello, and if you really want to impress, give staff some used balls each day that they are able to give to players that may have lost theirs. This is good service and an easy way to help your pace of play improve.
5) 3 metre rule- all staff should say “hello” to all clients that they come within arms-length of throughout the day. If all staff did this throughout the day, you would be known as the “friendliest” golf course around.
6) Reward return or repeat customers by at least remembering their name, what they like to drink, and any other specific item you have learned about them. They will be blown away if you ask them something they didn’t realise they told you. ie: was getting ready to play in the Club Championship and you found out they played well or won.
If you may need some assistance with your service standards or other marketing items please give me a call on (+61) 415 682 259.