“It’s the economy, nobody can keep members right now...”
“I heard XYZ club dropped their initiation fee altogether and are now offering a $500 credit in the pro shop for any new member they bring...”
“I guess we are just going to have to weather the storm...”
Nobody will deny the last few years have been pretty tough on the golf industry, worse though is when a private or public course runs the customer off for non-economic reasons.
Howard Feiertag outlined in his book, “Lessons from the Field” the real reasons why people stop doing business with you. The results could be eye-opening:
1% - Death. Members and customers pass away, but only 1%? Hmmm?
3% - Move. People take different jobs from time to time. Others may move to a larger home after having a few children or to a smaller home after the kids have left the nest.
4% - Buy from a friend. It’s always good to have a friend in the business and sometimes that is all it takes to steal a good customer away.
9% - Decide to buy from the competition. Has your competition dropped the bottom out of their rates? Have they offered buy one, get one on certain days? Have their e-offers finally enticed your customer? Has the elimination of initiation fee’s finally swayed the person sitting on the fence?
14% - Product dissatisfaction. Are your bunkers hard as bricks or hardly ever raked? Do the tee boxes look more like your rough? Are your bent grass greens really poa annua? Surprisingly, only 14% will leave because your “product” has deteriorated beyond an acceptable level.
68% - The attitude of one or more employee’s. Ouch! You can’t prevent death, a person moving, or a friend getting your customer/member a deal. And let’s face it, there will always be a low-ball competitor, but chances are they will violate the “product satisfaction” item and will only get the cheapskate’s. It is almost unfathomable that people will leave for such a (seemingly) innocuous reason, but 2/3 of your customers will dump you because of an employee’s poor attitude! That should be a wake up call...or is it really par for the course when you consider most employee’s get less than a days training on what the expectations are with regard to how they are to treat the member or guest?
What can your team do to prevent this?
1. Handle things promptly - When your customer or member has a issue, speed matters. Handling something competently and quickly extinguishes what could be a big fire down the road.
2. Dump your under-performing and poor-attitude employee’s - I have never understood why businesses feel the need to keep people that really don’t do much more than fill space but it happens every day? Why? The old adage certainly applies here: “It’s the people you don’t fire that end up costing you more than the people you do”.
3. Interview your best clients - We have already talked about this one, but it stands to be repeated. Your best customers or members are a wealth of information...that almost no one uses or misses...until they are gone. Don’t make that mistake.
4. Hire the best you can afford. If it took 5-10% more money to get the very best person for the job, would you spend it? Of course! Then why don’t you? Your team is often only as good as your worst employee. Somebody has to be on the bottom, just make sure your bottom would be among the best if they worked for your competition.
5. Hire ONLY genuinely nice people. You can’t teach nice. Most people either have it or they don’t, agreed? It’s no accident Chic-fil-a consistently hires great people while their competitor’s seem to hire the nail-chewing-could-care-less-if-you-walked-in-the-door employee. I would rather be served by an extremely friendly and slightly incompetent person, than the reverse, and so would most of your guests.