Customer Service and Retention Strategies for Golf Courses
Customer retention is not a sure science. If it were, then retention would be much higher than the average of 75% that it is in most industries. Companies still spend thousands of dollars every year trying to figure out how to make their customers come back.
Your retention strategies will determine not just if your customers will return, but how invested they will be. It determines whether they will upgrade to better services or make further purchases above and beyond those that they already make. And most of all, it will decide whether or not they recommend you to their friends.
If you run a golf course, customer retention is vital. You are dealing with customers who have the money and the means to go elsewhere at any time. Keep reading as we discuss customer retention strategies specific to a golf course or golf club.
Retention Strategies Begin with Understanding Your Customer Base
You can't retain your customers until you know them. It may seem like golfers are the most predictable bunch in the world. But that sort of mindset may prevent you from recognizing what key aspects identify your target market.
It's important to take a close look at your long-term, existing customers. The people that have been patronizing your business for years will provide the most valuable insight. You can gather this insight with random surveys, or from their interactions with customer service.
Most important of all, you want to identify the "triggers" that lead customers to golf. Oftentimes, these are life changes that allow them more free time or discretionary spending. It may include life changes, such as coping with demanding jobs or difficult situations.
If you can identify these specific causes, you'll be much closer to knowing what makes your customers tick.
Make Every Interaction a Positive One
It's hard to imagine something as fun and relaxing as golf as ever being a negative thing. But with luxury expectations come greater disappointments. The little details may be enough to make someone stay, or else push them away from your business entirely.
The science is clear on this one: emotions have a strong tie to memories. This means that every recollection that a person has ties to a positive or negative emotion. Even when a person has forgotten the specifics of an event, they remember full well what they felt at that time.
Find all the little ways that can make your golf course a positive experience from beginning to end. These could be refreshments after they come in from a long day on the green. Or, lightning-fast food service when they decide to eat after an 18-hole round.
In other words, think small, not big. The devil is in the details, and your customers will notice your attention to them. Whatever the case, you'll be building a customer-centric culture that will spread via word of mouth.
Meet Their Needs Wherever You Can
Since golfing isn't really a need, it may seem tempting to treat this just as a fun luxury. But your customers do have needs, and these needs are often intimately intertwined with golfing.
For example, say you have a customer who works in a busy corporate setting. Golf is their escape from the humdrum of their office life. As corporate work ramps up during the busy season, their time to golf dwindles.
A solution, in this case, might be to suggest corporate sponsored golfing events. They could bring their clients or the whole office. Then they get to do the golfing they love and tackle work at the same time.
As we mentioned before, your customer's needs will depend greatly on their triggers. Identify these triggers, and you may be able to see when your customers need golf the most.
Make Customer Service the Absolute Best It Can Be
Absolutely no one wants to call in to a customer service hotline, even with a simple query. It's a hassle to begin with, and many companies make it a headache from start to finish. While you may not be able to eliminate the need for customer service, you can make it much less painful.
How you do this depends on you. You can reduce waiting time on the phone, hire more staff to handle customer issues and improve customer service training. You can offer promos or discounts for a customer's inconvenience, or otherwise compensate them for their trouble.
The possibilities are endless, but good customer service gains a strong reputation everywhere it goes. Everyone knows a company or two whom they can call and get a no-nonsense solution right out of the box. Be that company, and your customers will sing your praises far and wide.
Don't Forget to Measure Your Progress
The only way to know that you've achieved your goals is to measure your progress. Keep careful data on the results of your new customer-centric campaign. Collect as many metrics as you can to determine if your retention strategies are bearing fruit.
Most importantly, ask the customers themselves. You might ask them to share how their experience has been so far, and what things they would like to improve. Over time, you can streamline things to ensure your customer retention never wanes in consistency.