Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Greeter

I was recently at an old club in the Northeast with a turn of the century clubhouse. I walked into the shop and was approached by a ghost. I say that in a very “matter of fact” way because that is how it happened. She welcomed me to the club, asked my name and introduced herself as Giddy. I only knew she was a ghost because she had the consistency of a young, cute and friendly hologram.

“Giddy, this is an amazing greeting to say the least. How come I’ve never heard about you?”

“Oh, I ask the folks I engage not to talk about me but to speak highly of their experience here, you can mention me in your blog if you like however.”

“How do you know I have a blog?”

“I do a little research before I approach someone. I’m connected in that regard.
Are you here to play – it certainly is a beautiful day for it?”

“Yes I’m waiting on three friends. I’m early for our tee time and probably going to hit some balls while I wait, but I thought I’d look at perhaps buying a new bag. Can you tell me anything about this bag (we happened to be standing next to a golf bag)?”

“No, unfortunately they don’t invite me to any product knowledge sessions. I don’t know if that is because they don’t have staff meetings or just don’t think to invite me. So I just greet. We do have quite a nice range – I’ve never seen it because I don’t leave the shop – but I’ve been told it is outstanding.”

“Well it has been a pleasure talking with you. I think every shop should have a Giddy.”

“That is so nice of you to say. It was my pleasure also and truly my privilege to greet you.”

It is a fundamental retail tenet that people are greeted as they enter your space and made to feel that their time spent here will be a warm and friendly experience. At an educational seminar I presented in October to the PGA of Alberta this subject was raised and the strategy to prod staff from behind the counter was discussed at length. The two main points I made were that the social component needs to be explained as an important part of the culture and therefore as a crucial area of the job description. This has to be mandated at point of hire, reviewed at subsequent evaluations and reinforced with both product knowledge and retail training with all Giddys invited. It is human nature to expound upon subjects with which we are knowledgeable and comfortable while avoiding those subjects where knowledge is lacking. It is incumbent upon leaders to understand and provide appropriate training.

The Staff at Southern Hills GC

 A case in point is Southern Hills where I spent two days recently with Cary Cozby and his staff. This visit was heartening because in two long days in the shop no member/guest came through the shop who was not welcomed and engaged usually by name and always in the friendliest and laid-back way. Even staff engaged in remerchandising at the time would break off their task if there was a customer to greet. Everyone in the industry believes they have good service. My experience is that is a very subjective phrase.