Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Develop True Customer Loyalty - 3 - Anticipation

In an effort to bring up to date "The Winning Golf Culture" focusing on the customer retention and word of mouth advertising that come from customer loyalty this series of entries has looked at the "Language" of your brand and the "Empathy" of your staff. This entry will discuss "Anticipating" customers' needs.

Kinloch Golf Club

 When speaking to groups about customer centrics and in particular the "Wow Factor" of anticipating needs I usually tell what I like to call the "Philadelphia Story".

I was in the Philadelphia airport recently and I was wearing a belt with a repeating Kinloch Golf Club logo. A man I had never seen before approached me, half-gestured at the belt and asked me if I was a member. I had to reacquaint myself a bit with my outfit and replied that I was not but had the pleasure of working with the staff particularly in regards to the shop. The fellow introduced himself and began his “Then you will appreciate what I am about to tell you” story.

"I was in Richmond recently on business I played there with a member and can’t wait to go back."

"It’s a great course isn’t it", I said.

"Yes, it is – but the whole experience was incredible. I drove to the course and when we first went in the shop the head pro introduced himself, shook our hands and asked me if I wanted my car detailed while we played. The staff at the front door had already valeted the car and had the keys, all I had to do was say yes and I did. When we finished for the day my car was waiting at the front door, bags loaded, staff thanking us for being there. It was a hot July day and two things that struck me when we got in the car was that the car hadn’t been this clean since I bought it and there were cold bottles of water in the console with a ‘Thank you for spending your day with us’ note. I drove the car about 50 feet in the driveway, re-parked and went into to the Pro Shop to thank someone for the thoughtfulness. I ended up buying $500 worth of shirts and shorts and the friends that I had played with did the same. The shop was great also by the way."

Anticipating that cold water driving off -campus in the July Virginia heat would be well received seems almost goes without saying, but a man I had never seen before could not wait to tell me about it in the Philadelphia airport. Think about how many times he's told that story to people he does know or whenever the subject of service comes up.

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

The Ritz-Carlton trains their staffs that the three basic steps to keep in mind as necessary to earning a guest's loyalty are:

  • A warm and sincere greeting
  • Anticipate each guest's needs
  • Provide a fond farewell
Carmine Gallo (a communications expert) in an article in Forbes discussing this issue talks glowingly about the Grand Del Mar in San Diego:

It sits on a beautiful property in the hills, but there are plenty of gorgeous locations in San Diego. It's the "attentive" service that Trip Advisor featured in it's review and has earned my loyalty. But exactly what does the staff do that sets them apart and, more important, what can all businesses learn from their customer service techniques? The Grand Del Mar's customer service secret became very clear to me on this recent visit - the staff finds small ways to unexpectedly delight their customers and they do so by anticipating unexpressed wishes. Here is one of the many examples I noted:

My daughters discovered a small sand area near the pool. Within seconds - not minutes - a staff member casually walked by and, without saying a word, dropped off sand toys for the kids. The kids looked up and there they were , seemingly out of nowhere.

Gran Del Mar

I was recently on a Southwest Airlines flight and needed to take some medication. I took the pills out of my blazer pocket and by the time i had tapped the dose I needed in my hand the flight attendant who had apparently seen me holding the prescription bottle was standing next to me with a cup of water.

The serviced customer who has not requested service will be a loyal patron.
The advice seems to break down very empathetically:

  • Observe
  • Plan around trends and patterns 
  • Inject yourself between the customer and a problem before it develops
  • Provide resources
  • Think like a customer
  • When possible, know your customer - a built-in golf retail advantage
Bandon Dunes

Listening and interacting are important customer service skills and often provide above average service. The savvy among us like those mentioned above know something most others don't necessarily consider and that is that what customers/members don't say is often more important than what they do say  and provide the most meaningful opportunities to earn their loyalty, provide them with wow ammunition and ultimately retain them and their golfing friends