PGAs of EuropeRetail – PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com Home of the PGAE Mon, 13 Nov 2017 12:35:04 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 “If Disney Ran Your Hospital…The Things You Would Do Differently” http://www.pgae.com/ask/if-disney-ran-your-hospital-the-things-you-would-do-differently/ Fri, 27 Oct 2017 07:00:05 +0000 Tony Bennett http://www.pgae.com/?p=20277 "Author Fred Lee gives his advice on the five behaviours that customers really value in those who provide them with services..."]]>

On my latest read of the thought provoking, “If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 1/2 Things You Would Do Differently”, author Fred Lee, gives his advice on the five behaviours that customers value in those who provide them with services.

Fred observes that hospital patients judge their experience not only by the way they are treated for the disease but also, and more importantly, by the way, that they are treated as a person…

If Fred is right, and incidentally I think that he is, and if this concept transfers across into golf, which I think it does, then the ‘how’ is perhaps more important than the ‘what’? This is an essential point for all, coaches, managers, and leaders to recognise. By the way, the great ones do; that is one reason that they are great.

Content, or perhaps we should call it knowledge, can be learned. In fact, content can be learned by almost anyone on almost any subject. Certainly, there is always content to learn or be updated on, that is the nature of progress. Often people have a fascination for content, and yet they have a hard time sharing that knowledge in a way that can make a difference in the life of someone else. I believe that it is possible to learn enough content for whatever role you have in a short period of time to become good at almost any subject. Learning to share that knowledge however is altogether different.

Back to Fred Lee and his five behaviours. Fred conveniently created the acronym S.H.A.R.E. Essentially these behaviours boiled down to the following values: using initiative, being part of a team, understanding the customer’s feelings, treating them with courtesy and making sure that communication is open and honest.

  • S – Sense people’s needs before they ask (initiative)
  • H – Help each other out (teamwork)
  • A – Acknowledge people’s feelings (empathy)
  • R – Respect the dignity and privacy of everyone (courtesy)
  • E – Explain what is happening (communication)

So if the ‘how’ is so important then how can golf focus more on how to share experience and knowledge so that it is relevant, timely and useful? There are many answers to this question, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

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“If Disney Ran Your Hospital…The Things You Would Do Differently”
Miller and Millar Make Perfect Match http://www.pgae.com/news/miller-and-millar-make-perfect-match/ Wed, 06 Sep 2017 10:15:57 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=19144 The 2016 UniCredit PGA Professional Champion of Europe, Ralph Miller recieved Peter Millar apparel as part of his Championship-winning prize...]]>

2016 UniCredit PGA Professional Champion of Europe, Ralph Miller (PGA of Holland), has received his Peter Millar apparel as part of his Championship-winning prize.

PGAs of Europe Corporate Partner, Peter Millar, awarded a yearlong apparel contract to Miller furthering their support of the European game.

 

Miller managed to successfully convert his lead and dominant play at Pravets Golf & Spa Resort in Bulgaria in October to take the Championship honours, the first prize of €10,000 and the Peter Millar contract.

2016 UniCredit PGA Professional Champion of Europe, Ralph Miller (PGA of Holland)

“After winning the Championship it was great to receive a Peter Millar apparel contract for 2017,” explained Miller. “The high quality clothing is both great looking and great fitting! I really love the clothing and I have had many compliments from members at our club. Thanks again to Peter Millar for the support and I am looking forward to a great 2017 season!”

“We’re pleased to be giving a clothing contract to the very worthy winner, Ralph,” said Managing Director Peter Millar International, Mark Hilton. “He will wear the latest Peter Millar designs from both Crown and Crown Sport collections over the coming year and we look forward to working with, and supporting, him throughout that time.”

Sign-up for the exclusive Peter Millar member offer at http://eur.pe/PGA-Peter-Millar-Offer.

For more information on Peter Millar visit www.petermillar.co.uk.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Miller and Millar Make Perfect Match
Regripping in a Coaching Environment http://www.pgae.com/ask/regripping-in-a-coaching-environment/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:23:29 +0000 Golf Pride http://www.pgae.com/?p=19117 Golf Pride explain how you could add regripping to your business regardless of whether you run or have access to a retail facility...]]>

How to Offer Regripping Services Outside of the Pro-Shop

When you think of regripping many automatically think of a workshop tucked away at the back of a Pro Shop at a club and then nothing more than a selection of example grips on the side of the shop counter.

Well it doesn’t have to be like that – you could add regripping to your business regardless of whether you run or have access to a retail facility like a shop or store.

If you are a coach working at an academy, or maybe you run an indoor practice facility, then you too could add regripping services and Golf Pride products to your offering.

All you need is an area within a facility where you can create a grip station and also promote your regripping service and the products you have on offer.

Golf Pride’s team of local distributors will then help explain what your specific requirements are, what products you can stock and how to go about effectively marketing your services and Golf Pride’s range of products on offer.

4 Tips For Marketing Regripping Outside of the Pro-Shop

1 – Make sure your regripping service is clearly on offer to your students or customers

Place marketing materials in driving range bays, discuss the service with every student you have, bring products with you to lessons, and keep your regripping point-of-sale materials and stands in view of your teaching bay or passing customers.

2 – Utilise your Social Media presences and leverage your email database

Make an announcement about the introduction of your services, make use of the Golf Pride retailer resources on offer, and keep regular communication going with clients.

3 – Make it experiential

Have specific times on the range or at your academy where you regrip clubs in front of customers to show your expertise, attention to detail and the services on offer. You could create a while-you-wait service for people who are practicing, or perhaps invite the local distributor to spend a few hours with you and your clients to share their knowledge of the important of regripping.

4 – Keep regripping at the forefront of your mind

Hardwire the services into your teaching process, ensuring your students are all using appropriate grips and you regularly check their grips to ensure they are fit for purpose.

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To find out more about setting up your own regripping service with Golf Pride visit www.golfpride.com/about/wholesale-distributors and find your nearest distributor.

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Regripping in a Coaching Environment
Saving Time and Money: How Social Media Works For an Early-Stage Startup http://www.pgae.com/ask/saving-time-and-money-how-social-media-works-for-an-early-stage-startup/ Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:26:12 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=13789 There’s often a critical time (or two) in a business’s journey when it’s make or break and time is at a premium...]]>

There’s often a critical time (or two) in a business’s journey when it’s make or break and time is at a premium.

There’re often times beyond this, once a brand is established, where time is still scarce and efficiency is the name of the game.

The team at Smart Pension has felt both sides of this in the past couple years and has experienced the time crunch particularly on the social media side (sound familiar at all with your experience?). One of the UK’s leading pension companies, the Smart Pension team pulled through in an incredibly inspiring way.

Here’s their story of how they’ve come up with their social media strategy, saved time, and found the best tools to use.

pablo

Social media and an early-stage startup

Jack Saville, a marketing executive at Smart Pension, built his startup to be the go-to source for UK pension and auto enrolment. And one of the key marketing strategies he chose for traction was content.

One of the first jobs was to put as much great information and helpful content on the website as possible. However when we finished creating content, we also wanted to shout about it on social media.

We were churning out so much content in the beginning that logging and posting each article on each social media channel was becoming a real time consuming exercise. If we had had Buffer in the beginning we would have saved a great deal of time (and money) in the crucial start-up, make-or-break phase of our business.

Smart Pension made it through this early critical stage and is grateful to now be a more established entity. They’ve kept right on working.

The content team crushed it early on and put together the majority of the foundational, main topics needed to be a thought leader on pensions and enrolment. The next phase was tackling current news and changes, being more of a real-time resource for Smart Pension’s growing audience.

smart pension graphic

This shift to timely content also needed timely distribution, which is where social media marketing has really paid dividends for the team.

The news section is where we direct most of our efforts now. This is important, as investing a lot of time in your news section shows your customers that you are well aware of the changes in the industry, and that we know that the services we provide need to be altered and suited to the current market and the current pension laws. Social media is the channel in which we communicate our knowledge of industry changes to our customers.

Not a content creation problem … a content distribution one

In building out this news hub, Smart Pension ran into a slight problem:

We work so hard on making sure our news section addresses the current topics in the pension industry, that sometimes we finish a number of articles at the same time.

It’s a similar problem that might crop up for publishers, news organizations, online magazines, and others. It’s not that there’s any trouble coming up with content to share, it’s more a matter of knowing what to share and when to share it.

Jack and his team found the solution here with social media scheduling from Buffer.

Smart Pension spaces out new posts every few hours so that there’s room between each update.

The articles don’t all go up as a wall of similar-looking tweets and posts.

The buffered schedule makes it so that content hits the timeline at all times, helping to reach people who may be online at different times throughout the day.

And the beauty of it all: All this scheduling can be automated.

The scheduling function is also helpful to the work flow of the team. The team member who wrote the article can schedule the post for times of the day that we are posting less and then proceed to the next task. The team members do not have to try and remind themselves of when to post their articles.

Additionally, with the scheduling function we can then post articles at night and at weekends when team members would not necessarily be working. This means that we can have a round the clock presence on social media, without having one of our team members staying up all night!

Scheduling + Analytics

Lots of content to share and a set number of times to share it all: When do you get the most bang for your buck with social media sharing?

The Smart Pension team came up with a few experiments to test the best time to post for engagement.

Here’s an example:

To find out if it’s better to post extra content at night or over the weekends, set up a schedule for both and check the results.

After a few days, log into the Analytics section of Buffer and check to see which time slots have tended to perform the best. You can see this from the Analytics view with a quick glance and intuition…

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 1.03.44 PM

… or you can export data from your past period of experiments, and filter the results for each different time.

Here’s a sample spreadsheet using data from my own sharing:

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 11.14.36 AM

(Couple this with the takeaways from Buffer’s optimal timing tool to get even more confirmation for which way you’re leaning.)

Great content goes great with images

As we are a start-up, we cannot afford to have a graphic designer to create the imagery for our social media posts every time we need to post something. Pablo give us the ability to make our social media posts look interesting and exciting, whilst not having to pay for a graphic designer to design them and create them.

According to our most recent data here at Buffer, we’ve found that tweets with images get 150% more engagement than tweets without.

The takeaway: Test content with images!

We believe in this so strongly that we built our own tool for making this as easy as can be. The free image creator at Pablo makes it simple to create images for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and more, all at the ideal image size, all looking beautiful—no matter your design skills.

Here are some that the Smart Pension team has used on their latest social media updates:

Working with a team on a social media calendar

And another key piece to the team’s workflow and system is keeping all this distribution organized. One of Buffer’s newest features works great in this case: the social media calendar.

 

Our content calendar is designed to make sure that we are regularly completing and posting content through buffer. We can all log into buffer and see what other people are planning, and then we can plan our content around the existing scheduled posts.

pablo

Image sources: Iconfinder, Pablo

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Saving Time and Money: How Social Media Works For an Early-Stage Startup
Building & Effectively Utilising a Database http://www.pgae.com/ask/building-effectively-utilising-a-database/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 14:29:43 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=19089 Data capture is the king of small business marketing - for every piece of good data accumulated, marketing costs are starting to reduce...]]>

Data capture is the king of small business marketing and an ever important facet for retaining customers at golf facilities. For every piece of good data accumulated, marketing costs are starting to reduce.

The objective should be to create a database of around 5,000 worthy leads and this will form the basis of all of the marketing initiatives for the year. This need not be as expensive as some people might think as off-the-shelf software is readily available and is really affordable if not free of charge or already in place in the clubs software systems.

What is required?

Golf facilities need to consider 3 factors when making their choice of how to best implement and manage a successful database capture campaign:

  1. The scale required: This does not just apply to the number of records currently held, but more importantly how this resource will grow in the future. What commitment can be implemented to regularly maintain, update and develop the information accrued?
  2. Budget: Whilst this should not be the first criteria for such an important business tool, budget will reduce the likely options including the building of a bespoke database which can be expensive
  3. How it integrates with other business systems: This can save a lot of anguish in the future if the database works alongside other marketing and communication tools, especially the club website. The website should be at the core of all marketing activity and it needs to talk directly to the database to save on unnecessary administration.

Most golf clubs can operate quite happily using ‘Microsoft Access’, part of the Office package to set up a database and manage their data. It is easy to set up and access information and is also flexible enough to create information fields which reflect the information gathered from customers. It also allows the flow of data (import and export) from other sources.

Data Capture…How to collect data

Once the database is in place, begins the hard work in acquiring and categorizing data as the information and contacts begin to grow. There is no doubt that the more data which is acquired, the more powerful and effective the clubs marketing strategies will become.

Here are some simple guidelines to ensure that gathering data on customers is central to the marketing programme and continued customer contact:

  • Draw up a set of procedures and standards to be used whenever a customer has direct contact with the golf club. Communicate these to any customer facing staff and ensure they are adhered to.
  • Give staff both the tools and training to assist in collecting the information. These can include simple contact cards to be filled in following a telephone call or completed when customers arrive.
  • Build all marketing around the website, as this resource is working 24/7 and is therefore by far the most reliable employee when it comes to collecting and processing information on your customers.
  • Refuse to do any marketing which is not measurable. In order to continue to build a database successfully, be aware of which marketing promotions are producing the best results.
  • Offline marketing must support online activity. Use all advertising and marketing brochures to drive people to the website. Don’t miss out on obvious opportunities such as including the website address on scorecards.
  • Have a marketing plan which co-ordinates all direct marketing activity and ensures customer identification:
    • Why? (What offer?), When and How? (email, direct mail, text)
  • Build systems that allow automated follow up. This would include automatic replies to any website or direct email enquiries, including alerting staff when customers have arrived. Processes to customise letters, bulk email tools which allow emails to be tracked are also useful in reducing time and administration.
    • Act now; with more and more people reverting to finding information online, clubs can’t afford to delay in establishing the processes.

“Once a person has failed to find or receive information on your golf club it will be more difficult to win back their interest”.

The most common data collection methods are listed below:

Data collection through via the clubs website.. Make your website do the work for you. After all it’s open for business 24/7. There should be a least five email data collection points on various pages throughout the visitor’s section of your site.

These should be in the relevant sections on your website, but include:

  • Sign up for special offers and advanced notification of open competitions
  • Sign up for notification of membership availability and offers
  • Sign up for offers in the Professionals’ shop and F&B promotions
  • Sign up for coaching and tuition days
  • Sign up to enter our monthly draw to win a free fourball

Ensure you make the calls to action very obvious on each page.

The first part of the season is key to building data so make sure both reasons to sign up and offers are varied.

To cut down on the administration make sure your website has a database set behind it so it is collating and storing the information for you.

Email collection at your golf club:

Ensure that every member of staff knows the importance of collecting data. The professional or whoever greets green fee visitors should be given a supply of sign up cards and all visitors should be encouraged to sign up. Explain they received advanced notification of competitions, tee times, special offers and also get entered into a monthly draw.

Collect as much data as possible but don’t over-do it.

Name, email address, postcode and how they heard about your club should be the bare minimum.

Online tee times:

If your club runs online tee time system then you have an existing opportunity for people to sign up to receive your weekly newsletter. Tee time systems provide a huge amount of information about a player before they even set foot on your golf course. This makes targeting emails even easier. If your club’s members are reluctant to see a tee time introduced at their club then why not trial a tee time ‘looking’ system for visitors.

Golf groups can equal 50 visitors:

Don’t treat societies as just one booking. There can be as many as 50 visitors so make sure you collect data from each player. Offer a free prize draw on the day if they complete a visitor satisfaction survey (which also captures their name and email address).

Offer everyone a repeat visit voucher which they have to go on your website and download using a promotional code.

Watch the birdie:

If you club has a meet and greeter, get him to take a happy snap of visiting groups on the first tee. Collect their email addresses and then have the photograph sitting in their in-box for when they return from their round. Great customer service and a good way of collecting data!

Work with local businesses:

Build an opt-in email list by working with other businesses such as hotels or the local tourist board. Make sure links are established to the club website on their websites and vice versa. Ensure the link sends them to page to register for future information and offers. Offer to run special offers such as golf giveaways or concessionary offers which the hotel can send to its customer base.

How to store data

Customer databases are not something which only large companies can aspire to. For the average database of most golf clubs which is anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 names, they do not always require a specialist system.

Off-the shelf database tools

It’s very easy to construct a database with all the data fields required in a package such as Microsoft Access. This comes as part of the Windows Microsoft Office software which most clubs have installed.

Let your website do the work

A well-developed website will have a database sitting behind it. This will automate the collection of all data through the website itself and allow for easy administration of the data collected by the pro shop or other business avenues. Such systems also simplify on-going, regular communication such as e-newsletters or promotional offers.

Does it need to talk to your other systems?

Most clubs have automated many of their systems such as member databases with swipe cards behind the bar. It is not necessary for marketing database to interact with POS systems initially as it could be very expensive to set up. Use the visitor database to run marketing initiatives independently. Once a healthy business has been achieved, facilities can then look at more sophisticated ways of tracking spend.

What data should be collected?

When collecting data, is it important to strike a balance between collecting enough useful information without alienating customers.

The bare minimum should be name and email address if you are only intending to communicate by email. If you plan to send communications by mail, then collect their postal address – but only do this if you have every intention of using this data. (The more data you request, the less likely they are to complete it).

It is also advisable to collect mobile numbers as text marketing continues to grow grow in the future.

When possible, collect details of every transaction at the point of transaction including the date, time and amount paid. Pro shop staff must be made aware of how important this is. If a tee time booking system is in place, then this will do the job for you. This information can be useful in building up a profile of your customers’ playing habits which will make targeted communications even easier.

Please find below a series of videos to assist in building a database in Microsoft Access:

Stay legal

Businesses which store personal information and sends communications to customers (members or visitors) must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and increasingly the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

Currently not-for-profit organisations are not required to register but may be wise to check as you seek to use data in a more commercial fashion.

As a rule, if you are communicating to members, you have an opt-out option. However, it might be part of your membership terms and conditions that members receive information from the club relating to their membership and offers.

Before communicating to visitors, you must always have an opt-in option at the point of collecting their data.

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Building & Effectively Utilising a Database
Applying a Yield Pricing Criteria to Your Group Booking Business http://www.pgae.com/ask/applying-a-yield-pricing-criteria-to-your-group-booking-business/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:19:10 +0000 Promote Training http://www.pgae.com/?p=18646 Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, look at how any club can apply yield-based pricing criteria to their group booking business...]]>

The last part of the series of articles from Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, looks at how any club can apply yield-based pricing criteria to their group booking business.

It is difficult to talk of driving green fee revenues in a group-booking context without talking about variable pricing strategies. And you can’t talk about variable pricing strategies without talking about yield management. According to Wikipedia yield management is:

“…a variable pricing strategy, based on understanding, anticipating and influencing consumer behavior in order to maximise revenue or profits from a fixed, perishable resource”

Understanding, anticipating and influencing your customers starts with the analysis of the correct data – a statistical trawl of what’s going on within the business, especially on the golf course. The depth and level of the data we can derive and the analysis thereof drives the criteria we can use to vary our pricing points.

Month

Many clubs are operating a basic variable pricing strategy already – they charge a lower amount for winter group bookings knowing they’re a ‘harder sell’. Conversely, some coastal clubs with great drainage actually charge a premium.

Day of the Week

Again, some clubs are already doing this. At its most basic, they are charging a premium to play at the weekends. Some charge slightly more to play on a Friday as well. In most cases, Monday to Thursday is lumped in together and priced the same.

Number of Participants

This one is less practiced in the UK industry and a significant opportunity. A group booking of 120 people is extremely precious and quite rare (in most clubs) – why wouldn’t you price it accordingly? You probably wouldn’t get 120 paying visitors if the group booking didn’t exist – so you can afford to lower the price and still be significantly better off. Conversely, a group booking of 8 people isn’t as lucrative in terms of monetary value and may restrict a larger booking enquiry coming in afterwards – isn’t that something that should be charged at a premium?

An important additional point to your terms and conditions are needed here – “If any discounted or agreed price is on the basis of a minimum number, this set price will only apply if on the day the set number of participants attend”. A golf day arriving with less than the number confirmed could push the price up – that’s not something easily communicated to the organiser if they didn’t know it could happen.

Tee Times Booked

All clubs have popular and unpopular tee times. Unfortunately, many clubs only have a gut feeling as to when they are. Knowing precisely what your peak and off-peak tee times are allows you to vary the price for group bookings. If 2pm is usually very quiet, why wouldn’t you offer a discount? If 9am is usually very busy, why wouldn’t you charge a premium?

Sales Window

We’ve already spoken about our desire to increase the sales window – to encourage organisers to book early so we understand the future group booking trends earlier and can take action as required. A variable pricing strategy that encompasses this criterion can help shift the window.

Exceptions

This is a slightly different criterion but something that needs to be considered carefully – those odd days that confound our data-driven criteria. For instance, Mondays in April may be quiet – but what about Easter Monday? That has the potential to be quite popular. Fridays in September may be quite busy – but what about the week the Head Greenkeeper is doing his biannual hollow coring and top dressing? Should you be charging a premium on this Friday for a course in less than perfect condition?

No Catering

It’s probably an unfortunate consequence of a wider society change that in many clubs, group bookings are choosing to have less and less catering elements to their event. Where once the majority of bookings had a sit-down 3-course meal at the end of the day – at many clubs today they are in the minority. So, can we box a little clever here and add a silent ‘No Catering’ surcharge to the events that have little or no food? There’s nothing more frustrating than an enquiry coming in afterwards that want the full 3-course presentation dinner included but can’t get the tee times because a booking with no food at all has already confirmed.

The word “silent” in this instance means that the organiser doesn’t get to know they’ve been charged it – it simply gets added onto the green fee. Keeping it silent in this way provides a great opportunity to offer a discounted catering up-sell nearer the date of the event. It will be perceived as a discount by the organiser but won’t actually be a discount for the club – it will simply be the removal of the no-catering surcharge.

A variable pricing strategy based on just these seven criteria can have a dramatic impact on a golf clubs’ group booking revenues. In some instances many prices will be discounted – sometimes quite aggressively. In other cases, by understanding when we’re busy prices will be increased. But in both circumstances, they will be priced on a fixed criteria derived from historical fact. From a quantitative perspective, that’s something difficult to argue against.

Promote Training give away a Group Booking Pricing Tool with their “Driving Green Fee Revenues” eLearning course. Visit www.promotetraining.co.uk to learn more about this, and other strategies to grow your club’s green fee revenues.

Image Components by Freepik
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Applying a Yield Pricing Criteria to Your Group Booking Business
The Benefits of Regripping With Golf Pride http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-benefits-of-regripping-with-golf-pride/ Thu, 13 Apr 2017 07:03:28 +0000 Golf Pride http://www.pgae.com/?p=18613 Regripping is known by many as an essential service offered by PGA Professionals, so why is it so beneficial and how can it help make your business grow?]]>

Regripping is known by many as an essential service offered by PGA Professionals, so why is it so beneficial and how can it help make your business offering more profitable and effective?

Golf Pride, recognised globally as the number one choice in grips by a wide variety of players, explain more…

Regripping time vs. coaching time

The time spent regripping is a hugely profitable way to spend your day. The example below shows just how much profit could be earned from regripping one set in 30 minutes. Two sets in an hour could give a great profit when compared to the money you might make from a lesson. Make it a goal to fill your diary with regrips in the spaces between lessons and you’ll achieve an excellent payback on your day’s work.

You don’t need a shop to generate revenue from regripping

Regripping is something that can be carried out with minimal equipment and without the need for a retail space. If you are a coach at a range or an academy then all you need is some safe space in a store room for example where you can carry out regrips and repairs. You can then bolt this service on to your lessons and ensure all of your clients are playing with good condition grips that are right for them.

Golf Pride provide resources and POS displays FREE

Golf Pride provide a variety of point-of-sale material and displays for use whether you have a shop or not so you can get the products front and centre and in peoples’ hands. Make the most of the posters, imagery and display stands to really show off the service you can offer – and best of all they provide these for FREE from your distributor!

Large range and options – increased personalisation for your customers

Custom fitting and club repairs are very much about personalisation nowadays and with Golf Pride’s wide range of types, colours and sizes on offer you can really tailor your service to a client’s needs.

Improves customer/client relations (and can help your students’ progress)

Regripping, and grip fitting along with it, is a great way of getting closer to your clients even if you do not already coach them. You can offer them the service and then take time to speak with them about their current equipment in general, their game, and whether they are working on anything and then use this as a chance to explain how new equipment or lessons could help.

Then there is providing a gripping service for those that you do already teach – this is a no-brainer as you can ensure your students are using appropriately fitted equipment that is in good condition.

It’s an easy [up]sell

What is the one point of contact between a golfer and the club? Exactly. This should be something that is very easy to communicate to your clients/customers. In order to ensure the connection between the golfer and their equipment is as good as possible then they need to have good condition, usable grips – and regripping is a really cost effective way for them to achieve better performance.

For more information on Golf Pride visit www.golfpride.com.

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The Benefits of Regripping With Golf Pride
Encouraging Repeat-Play From Your Green Fee Customers http://www.pgae.com/ask/encouraging-repeat-play-from-your-green-fee-customers/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 09:29:19 +0000 Promote Training http://www.pgae.com/?p=18641 Promote Training look at the principle of encouraging repeat-play from visitors using a loyalty card mechanism...]]>

In the second of a 3-part series of articles, Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, look at the principle of encouraging repeat-play from visitors using a loyalty card mechanism.

The first and arguably most important green fee promotion to implement are the promotions that encourage loyalty and repeat-play at your course.

There are broadly three themes to increasing any green fee revenue:

  1. Attracting new golfers
  2. Encouraging repeat golfers
  3. Increasing average value

If you plough straight into a promotional campaign that aims to attract first-time golfers to your club, you won’t have the benefit of the incentive mechanism to encourage their repeat custom after they’ve played the course.

Let’s take a look at one great promotion that encourages repeat-play and customer loyalty – the green fee Loyalty Card.

Loyalty Card Concept

Loyalty cards are not a new concept in either the golf industry or wider retail and hospitality sectors. I’m sure many people have a loyalty card or two tucked away in their wallets or purses!

The concept is simple – buy a product or service multiple times and after x number of purchases, receive one for free.

A well implemented, on going loyalty card scheme can work extremely well for any golf course – either pay and play or semi-private.

An effective loyalty card can be the backbone of your green fee marketing strategy.

There are, however, key issues to consider very carefully prior to creating your card. These issues almost exclusively revolve around the terms and conditions.

Expiry Dates

The biggest realistic target audience for our visitor green fee product is the nomadic golfer. The make-up of this profile of golfer suggests they play on average up to 2 times per month. By offering them a loyalty card what are we trying to achieve?

  • We want them to play more than twice a month
  • We want them to play at our golf club more often

A loyalty card without an expiry date doesn’t encourage the customer to play at your golf course more often. It doesn’t even give a reason to play golf more often. That’s because it has no timescale attached that breaks their habit of playing twice a month.

In most cases where a loyalty card doesn’t have an expiry date, the golfer plays as many times as they ever did. They also play your course as often as they ever did. Except this time, after x number of rounds, they get a free one. 

No expiry date = no urgency to play your course = no change in their normal pattern of play

When to expire a loyalty card will depend very much on how generous the loyalty is in the first instance and what time of year it’s being offered.

Our nomadic golfer plays, on average, twice a month – but that won’t necessarily be a consistent twice a month, every month. Golf is a seasonal game and we know that the weather has a huge impact on the number of rounds on our golf course.

We could make an assumption therefore, that our target nomadic golfer may play:

  • Once a month between November and March
  • Twice a month in April and October
  • Three times a month between May and September

A card that offers the 6th round free and starts in November with a 3-month expiry date is a little optimistic. Our golfer may only normally play once a month during the winter – so the free round would be perceived as unachievable.

On the opposite end of the scale, a loyalty card that offers the 4th round free and is released in May, with an expiry date of the 30th September, is extremely generous. It could be that it’s giving too much away.

Exclude Discounted or Free Rounds

“Stamps not issued for free rounds of golf” – this is an important condition to remember when creating your loyalty card.

“Offer excludes Twilight rates, pre-paid or free green fee vouchers” – this option is very much down to the club to decide. Clearly, a loyalty card offering stamps for discounted twilight rounds may be giving away free rounds during peak times in return.

In Conjunction with Other Offers

Ensuring the loyalty card cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers is probably a condition worth mentioning on all green fee promotions. In fact, it’s one to mention on all promotions throughout the club.

Golf Society Days

“Not to be used in conjunction with any group booking above four players”

Again, it’s down to the individual clubs to decide whether they want to allow stamps, or redemption of the free round, to golf society day participants or not. There are arguments both for and against it and these need to be considered before making a decision.

Remove Peak Tee Times

You may want to consider limiting stamps, or certainly the free round redemption, based on the tee time.

Many clubs would want to limit the number of free rounds redeemed at the weekend. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they would want to limit the number of stamps given at the weekend. A full loyalty card of stamps received for weekend play logically deserves a free midweek round as much as any other (more so in fact).

There are also peak times of the year to consider – the week between Christmas and New Year for instance. Often, this period can be quite busy for golf courses and it’s something to consider if you’re intending to run a loyalty card over the December month.

Promote Training’s “Driving Green Fee Revenues” eLearning course is packed with ideas and strategies to encourage repeat-play and also attract new visitors to your club. Visit www.promotetraining.co.uk to learn more about this innovative eLearning course.

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Encouraging Repeat-Play From Your Green Fee Customers
Are You Selling or Serving? http://www.pgae.com/ask/are-you-selling-or-serving/ Tue, 04 Apr 2017 15:11:07 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=11410 Sales strategies come and go, but serving the customer should always be your top priority...]]>

Barry Farber is the president of Farber Training Systems Inc. and The Diamond Group. He’s the co-inventor and marketer of the FoldzFlat® Pen.

@BarryFarber1


Sales strategies come and go, but serving the customer should always be your top priority.

If you’re like most business owners, you probably re-evaluate your sales strategy on a regular basis. There are many factors to consider when switching up your sales approach, including your customers’ changing needs and your latest product offerings. But one thing should never change: You should always focus on serving first and selling second. Here are a few tips that will help you do just that:

1. Stay True to Yourself

Focus on what makes you unique and differentiates you from the competition. When you’re clear about your core values and the strengths you bring to the table, you’ll have an easier time figuring out how you can address the needs of your prospective clients.

2. Ask the Right Questions

We all have a tendency to talk about our offerings during sales meetings. But don’t let your enthusiasm get in the way of learning about your prospects’ needs. Ask open-ended questions (what, when, where, why, and how) that encourage them to elaborate on the issues they are facing and how you can support them.

One question that has worked well for me over the years is, “What are the top three criteria you consider when investing in a new vendor?” Most prospects end up talking about a lot more than price, including flexibility, response time, and other criteria.

Follow-up questions are also key. For instance, if a prospect says that one criteria is “great customer service,” ask them to define great customer service and give you an example. You can then position your company appropriately.

3. Arm Yourself with Information

Of course, you should research any sales prospect before meeting with them. In addition to the obvious sources of information–the company website, news stories, and industry information – I also scour my contacts for people who might be connected to the business. Then, I reach out to them for insights. You might be afraid to ask your contacts for help, but I’m always amazed by what people are willing to do when I ask them for their expert advice.

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4. Go Above and Beyond

What are you doing in the sales process to stand out? I know a salesperson who recently spent weekends and late nights working one-on-one with a prospective client–a sports stadium–during trials of the product he was pitching. He worked with the stadium’s employees to make sure they were comfortable with the equipment and even helped them clean up after a big event. The facilities manager noticed the extra effort, which built a huge amount of trust. That’s one reason why the salesperson eventually landed the account. At the end of the day, how much you serve determines how much you sell.

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Are You Selling or Serving?
Communicating With Members & Reviewing Membership: Mark Taylor – A.S.K. Workshops http://www.pgae.com/ask/communicating-with-members-reviewing-membership-mark-taylor-a-s-k-workshops/ Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:07:40 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=16153 A.S.K. Workshops speaker, Mark Taylor (PGA of GB&I), explains how to speak to current and potential members more effectively...]]>

A.S.K. Workshops speaker, Mark Taylor (PGA of GB&I), explains how to speak to current and potential members more effectively…

Communicating with members more effectively

Once we know who it is we are talking to and what they like or dislike about the golf club then it becomes easier to communicate and market to them more effectively.

This is particularly useful when marketing to visitors and potential members but is also important for communicating with existing members.

These days there are many more ways of communicating directly with members than relying on word of mouth and the club notice board. Direct mail can be cost effective as the message is well targeted, while email communication has a proven record in golf clubs looking to communicate quickly and easily.

Emails are highly targeted, cheap to send out and also enable a facility to respond quickly and effectively to its current needs, such as promoting an upcoming social function for example.

But, however a club decides to communicate with its members,  a consistent approach is needed. So many golf clubs launch a monthly newsletter, for example and after a few issues when there is nothing to say (!), the whole idea tails away.

The same applies to the club news section on the website which is fervently updated for the first few weeks and then again, the novelty wears off and it falls down the ‘to do’ list.

Intermittent communication is almost as bad as not communicating at all as it makes it doubly difficult to pick up where you left off after a spell of silence.

The secret to making a successful communication programme work is to make someone take responsibility for it. In most private member clubs this will be the Secretary or a member of the Marketing Committee.

A simple communication plan such as weekly update of the website, a monthly newsletter and email, a regular ‘what’s coming’ poster on the notice board…..the ideas are numerous but the key is to commit to them and make sure they happen.

Reviewing membership

You will by now have built up an excellent picture of your members and how they are using their membership. This is an excellent starting point for input into a marketing plan.

However, once having analysed membership there is still a need to keep doing so on a regular basis. A snapshot every six months would be the minimum especially as the nature of the game makes it a very cyclical business, with the results in the height of summer very different to those in off peak times.

Things change much faster than they ever used to and clubs must be aware of external influences as well as internal ones. For example, the completion of a new housing estate a few miles down could explain an influx of members during the past few months – and could point to a source of more.

Regular reviews will also allow the monitoring of changing membership demographics.

The average age of a golf club membership has been increasing steadily in recent years, mirroring general population demographics. This has had economic consequences for many clubs who have seen their senior membership (often paying reduced fees) grow out of proportion with their club membership.

A regular review and the statistics to back it up would have meant many golf clubs addressing this issue long before it became a problem. For example, exit surveys may help to spot a worrying trend which could be acted upon.

For more information visit http://eur.pe/ASKWorkshops-Hungary

For more information about the 2016 A.S.K. Workshops visit http://eur.pe/ASKWorkshops-Hungary, follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter and search #ASKWorkshops, or like the PGAs of Europe Facebook Page.

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Communicating With Members & Reviewing Membership: Mark Taylor – A.S.K. Workshops
Another Grip in the Wall – Golf Pride http://www.pgae.com/ask/another-grip-in-the-wall-golf-pride/ Sat, 03 Dec 2016 12:52:42 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland http://www.pgae.com/?p=15350 Craig Phillips explains how his regripping service and support from Golf Pride is benefitting his business and its bottom-line...]]>

Craig Phillips, the Director of Golf at Nuneaton Golf Club tells The PGA of Great Britain & Ireland’s Matthew Suddaby how his regripping service and support from Golf Pride is benefitting his business.

Why did you decide to offer a regripping service?

Regripplng is something we do through our PGA training and something I have been involved with for a long time. I’ve been regripping golf clubs for more than 20 years! Sometimes it’s an element of the club which is overlooked by golfers, who tend to look at the head and the shaft and forget their only contact with the club is actually the grip.

For that reason we’ll do MOT checks throughout the year. We’ll often pick a club out of the bag and say “how do you manage to hold onto this?”  You’ll find it’s one of those typical shiny grips where you can pretty much see your face in it!

It’s all just about starting the conversation and making them aware that regripping their clubs can help them to improve their golf.

What benefits will a golfer get from regripping their clubs?

On social media now you see a lot of people talking about grip pressure and that’s really important. Your only contact with the golf club is your hands and you’ll feel that pressure through the grip, so it’s important you’ve got it right.

The right size of grip is important too – if the grip is too small you’ll have more wrist action. These are just a couple of the selling points that you can take to the customer to show them how important the grip is, when right now it’s probably something that they’re overlooking.

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How often should a golfer regrip their clubs?

It really depends on how much they use them. If they use them a lot they will get worn quite quickly but you would definitely say that, after a year, you would like them to come in and get an MOT done. Often we will start that conversation by asking the customer how their grips are looking and feeling and we’ll give them a quick check while they’re here.

How do you know which grips will suit a certain golfer?

Simply by talking to them and getting it in their hands – the Golf Pride display allows you to do that.

We’ll start them off with the normal, standard golf grip and then move them up to the mid-size and then pop a jumbo in their hands. We get them to feel it and then tell us which one gives them the feeling that they want. It’s their feedback that we’re after and allows us to make the right decision on what will suit them best.

Why did you choose to stock Golf Pride grips?

We stock quite a few of the major brands in our pro shop here and we feel it is a nice fit among those. Golf Pride provides us with a grip wall which instantly helps you to sell that product to the customer.

Rather than sticking to the old school ‘do you do grips?’ approach, customers can instantly see it right in front of them.

Once they’ve found the type of grip they need, we often find that the variety of the range means we can offer them loads of different colours to suit their tastes.

We’ve given the wall a prominent position in the shop where customers can touch them, feel them and put them in their hands. That then gives us a good lead into the sale of a golf grip and a starting point for us to begin to educate them on the importance of regripping.

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How does regripping complement your business?

Once I had the grip wall installed I would say that sales in gripping went up at least five times, if not more.

During the course of the year we’re maybe doing three sets a week but that can go up to three or four a day at busy times during the winter.

This time of year is big for us in that respect. We do a lot of regripping in the winter because if you go out on the course and that grip is slippery, it is really going to affect your golf.

We do a lot of promotion on social media and through poster around the golf dub. At this time of year we increase that a little bit as it is an important time for regripping but, importantly, we don’t just limit ourselves to the pro shop – we promote the service right around the golf club.

It’s nice to have that additional service to offer to the customer. We’ll often ask them If they are staying around at the club for a bite to eat or a drink and if they are we ask for half-an-hour to take a look at their grips.

Once we’ve done the regripping and taken it upstairs to the customer they will usually turn around and go “wow, you’ve done that already – that’s fantastic!”

What advice would you give other pros considering offering a regripping service?

The first thing they have to do is get a nice display, which is something Golf Pride can offer.

Get that in as it immediately makes your customers aware you have this service available to them and creates a starting point for the conversation. Once they can see it and feel it, they can make a choice on the grip and then you haw that final bit where you offer the slick service.

I feel by offering Golf Pride and displaying the products on a grip wall where the customer can feel them, you are enhancing that service and ensuring the member has exactly the right grip for their clubs.

For more information on Golf Pride visit www.golfpride.com.

Click Here to Visit the Golf Pride Corporate Partner Hub Page

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Another Grip in the Wall – Golf Pride
How to Make Retail Discounting Work For You http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-make-retail-discounting-work-for-you/ Wed, 16 Nov 2016 16:52:00 +0000 Golf Retailing http://www.pgae.com/?p=17308 If done correctly then discounting can attract more business your way, but a careful balance has to be stuck...]]>

If done correctly then discounting can attract more business your way, but a careful balance has to be stuck. The team behind the e-book ‘How retailers make money discounting in 2016’ share their advice on this important subject.

Long gone are the days when retailers used to just offer discounts and sales during prime shopping points in the calendar; it is now almost a perpetual world of discounting in order to attract customers. There is little question that the subject of discounting is one of the biggest aspects of modern retailing and customers have adjusted their psyche and their expectations accordingly.

There is often a fine line when it comes to discounting. Get your strategy and pricing levels just right, and you will be able to achieve good cashflow and a healthy inventory turnover. Get it wrong, and you end up feeling like you are almost only in business to pay the staff and overheads, with little reward for your efforts. The question that almost every retailer, regardless of what market they are operating in, needs to ask is whether the subject of discounting should be viewed as a hindrance that is stifling your business or an opportunity that needs to be grasped with both hands?

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A change of shopping habits

You could construct a reasonable argument to pinpoint a number of specific moments in retailing history where customer’s attitudes and expectations changed. Black Friday is definitely one of those pivotal moments, which came about as a way of launching that all-important Christmas shopping period, but has subsequently ended up fueling a mindset of expectation, where customer’s go searching for deep discounts and are prepared to shop around to find the lowest price available, rather than just accept what is in front of them in the store.

These high-profile shopping events are further fueled by the media attention that they manage to garner, with stories of heavily discounted TV’s and half-price furniture, making headlines and seemingly having the effect of changing consumer shopping habits for good.

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The modern consumer

What retailers have to contend with going forward, is the fact that customers are far more demanding and less tolerant than they were in the past. This means that in order to thrive as a retailer and appeal to the modern consumer, you will have to be able to get the balance just right, of delivering the right product at the right price, in order to get customers into your store and spending money.

It seems that it is no longer enough to advertise a sale and expect customers to come looking for a bargain. One of the strategies now regularly employed, is to advertise promotions and specific offers in order to attract the consumer in the first place.

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Restructuring may be necessary

The continued rise of internet shopping and the noticeable growth of off-price retailing are major trends that are fundamentally reshaping the retail industry. If you are a retailer who wants to not just survive but prosper in this newly-shaped arena of consumerism, there will almost inevitably have to be an element of restructuring required, so that you can accommodate discount strategies which work and offer modern solutions such as a wider range of payment options.

Bricks and mortar retailers have to contend with the fact that internet sales are continuing to grow, which is often at the cost of direct store purchases and it seems that the younger demographic of shoppers. The important point to take on board for bricks and mortar retailers is to anticipate this change in buying attitudes and patterns and devise a strategy that allows your retail business to embrace these shifts and adjust the business model to address and compete with these issues.

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Big Data

One way of addressing the discounting dilemma and making it work in the right way for your retailing business, is to make use of an ever-growing availability of personal consumer data, thanks to the growth in big data technology. Consumers have become less resistant, or at least more tolerant of the request for personal information and they give up their personal shopping habits and preferences far more easily than they used to.

Liking a product on Facebook or talking about it on social networking sites, registering for email offers and a whole host of different initiatives, will mean that you can collect very useful and dynamic data about a customer, which you can use for some targeted discounting and offers.

One of the key trends in retailing, is the fact that retailers have the ability to understand and interact with their customers in a much more personal way. Investing in understanding your customer is a key trend for 2016 that could also allow you to use discounting strategies in a much more targeted and efficient way. An offer to your customer is now a combination of different elements, such as a specific product, price or personalised discount.

There are some good indications that retailers who offer a well-structured and more highly targeted offer to their customers, can achieve a higher ROI and maintain better profit margins, than across the board discounting. A strategy that revolves around personalisation and price optimization will transcend into what you could call an offer optimization strategy and would be an excellent use of big data in your retail business.

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More payment options

The continuing rise in the use of mobile payment solutions is prompting retailers to look at the payment options being offered to their customers at the checkout. Updating your payment terminal to a newer model will help in a number of ways. It will help improve compliance and security issues but another vital aspect of upgrading, is it will enable you to accept more payment options, which will improve customer perceptions of your business and encourage a more positive shopping experience.

While we may not yet be quite heading for a cashless society as quickly as envisaged, being able to offer your customers a wide range of contactless, mobile and other smart payment options, will definitely help to keep your customers happy. Offering various payment options may not be as strong a buying incentive to a customer as a discount offer, but it does all add to the package.

The rise of the omnichannel shopping experience 

Sometimes also referred to as Multichannel retailing, omnichannel retailing is all about using the various channels in a customer’s shopping experience and bringing them all together to provide an excellent pre-sale and after-sale shopping experience. This involves embracing social media, utilizing online and mobile store technology and also includes more traditional methods such as face-to-face and telephone communications with your customer.

Formulating a successful discounting strategy is just one of the challenges facing retailers in 2016 and in order to survive and thrive and drive your retail business forward, it will seemingly take a lot more than an attractive price tag to attract customers, but the rewards are there for all to see.

This article appears courtesy of Golf Retailing. For more information and to subscribe to the Golf Retailing Newsletter visit www.golfretailing.com.

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The UK Retail eBook: ‘How retailers make money discounting in 2016’ will help show you how the UK’s top independent retailers use smart promotion strategies to increase sales and compete with the big guys. It is available as a free download – for more information and to download it visit www.vendhq.com/uk-retail-ebook.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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How to Make Retail Discounting Work For You
14 Amazing Social Media Customer Service Examples (And What You Can Learn From Them) http://www.pgae.com/ask/14-amazing-social-media-customer-service-examples-and-what-you-can-learn-from-them/ Wed, 16 Nov 2016 14:34:04 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=13781 How important is customer service via social media? According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service.]]>

How important is customer service via social media?

According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service.

And when they do, they expect a fast response. Research cited by Jay Baer tells us that 42% of consumers expect a response with 60 minutes.

So, how’s your social media customer service?

For this post I was excited to research a set of 14 amazing examples of customer service using social media.

Let’s get started!


1. Samsung: A Unicycling Kangaroo and a Dragon Phone

As a loyal Samsung customer, Canadian Shane Bennett asked for a free unit of their latest, soon-to-launch phone. To sweeten his offer, he included a drawing of a roaring dragon.

Not surprisingly, Samsung said “no”. But to say thanks, they sent him their drawing of a unicycle-riding kangaroo.

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Shane then shared both messages (and drawings) to Reddit where it went viral. In response, Samsung Canada sent him the phone he asked for – and customized it with his fire-breathing dragon artwork.

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Takeaway: Have fun with customer interactions. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

2. Morton’s Steakhouse: Airport Delivery

While waiting for takeoff in Tampa, Florida, Peter Shankman jokingly asked Morton’s Steakhouse to deliver a porterhouse steak when he landed at Newark airport.

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While departing the Newark airport to meet his driver, he was greeted by a Morton’s server with a 24 oz. Porterhouse steak, shrimp, potatoes, bread – the works. A full meal and no bill.

When you think of the logistics of pulling this off, it becomes even more impressive. The Community Manager needed to get approval and place the order. It needed to be prepared and then driven by the server to the airport, to the correct location and at the right time. All in less than three hours.

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Some of the comments on Peter’s post suggest that this isn’t an anomaly. Another reader shares his experience of ordering a baked potato and getting a full steak meal – delivered and for free.

Takeaway: Do something unexpected for a loyal customer – when they want it most.

3. Gaylord Opryland: Sleep-Inducing Clock Radio

After numerous stays at Nashville’s Opryland Resort, Christina McMenemy wanted her own spa-sound clock radio that comes standard in each room. The sound helped her sleep better than ever, and she couldn’t find that model anywhere. So she asked the hotel for help finding it.

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Turns out, that model was exclusive to the Gaylord hotels. She thought that was the end of it, and went to her conference.

Upon returning to her room that evening, she found a gift waiting: the spa clock and a handwritten card. The staff had given her the product she was unable to find. Not only did they make a long term customer very happy, they also received significant media coverage for their act of kindness.

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Takeaway: Make customers happy one at a time.

A quick note on these first three examples

While it’s great to give away phones, steak dinners, and clock radios, this might not be sustainable customer service.

Why not? When other, loyal customers hear what these companies did, they might expect the same treatment. Can Morton’s deliver a free steak dinner to the airport for every customer who asks? Can Gaylord hotels give every loyal guest a free clock radio?

A more sustainable approach is to provide outstanding customer service on a daily basis. These next examples have lessons that can be implemented right away and on a consistent basis.

4. JetBlue: Feeling the Customer’s Pain

During a four-hour flight, Esaí Vélez’s seatback TV gave him nothing but static – while the rest of the passengers had normally functioning screens. How did he respond? He tweeted a complaint to JetBlue. Nothing inflammatory, but he was clearly disappointed.

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How did JetBlue respond? While they could have made an excuse or even ignored his tweet, they didn’t. They took his side and empathized with him.

“Oh no! That’s not what we like to hear! Are all the TVs out on the plane or is it just yours?”

After he confirms that it was just his TV that was out, they respond:

“We always hate it when that happens. Send us a DM with your confirmation code to get you a credit for the non-working TV.”

Not only do they imagine his frustration, but they also offer him a credit for his trouble.

What was the result? Just 23 minutes after his complaint, he tweets: “One of the fastest and better Customer Service: @JetBlue! Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving”

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Takeaway: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes when responding to complaints.

5. Delta Hotels: Room With an Ugly View

While attending the #PSEWEB conference in Vancouver, Mike McCready tweeted that, while he liked his room at the Delta, the view wasn’t so nice. He didn’t tag the hotel, and he wasn’t asking for anything.

Within an hour, Delta responded – offering a room with a better view. And when Mike returned to his room after the conference, he found a dish of sweets and a handwritten card from the staff at his hotel. It made such an impact that he wrote a post about it – the very same day.

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Takeaway: Set up a social listening strategy to listen to all customer conversations.

6. Waterstones: Man Locked in London Bookstore

While every customer comment is important, some are going to be a little more urgent than others. Like locking a customer in your store.

This happened to David Willis last year at Waterstones Trafalgar Square store. He tweeted:

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Not surprisingly, this tweet went viral, with 16,000+ retweets and 12,000+ likes. Because someone was monitoring Waterstones Twitter account, they were able to tweet 80 minutes later that they had freed their previously captive customer. Imagine how this could have turned out, if Waterstones customer service had stopped listening for the day.

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Takeaway: Always listen to customer conversations.

7. Contextly: Customer Onboarding

Before I do business with a new company, I like to see if anyone is listening. It gives me confidence that they’ll be there if I have a problem or question.

When I was looking for a premium related-content service, I signed up for a free trial account with Contextly. The process was smooth, and I was excited about the app, so I tweeted about it. They responded with a positive, helpful tweet.

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As a result, I’m confident that they are interested in me and will help me if I have a question with the app.

Takeaway: Use social media to streamline customer onboarding.

8. Xbox Support: Elite Tweet Fleet

Back in 2010, Xbox added a dedicated Twitter account. Since then, their Elite Tweet Fleet has posted more than two million support tweets. In fact, when I visited their account page, they were averaging two tweets per minute! And they have a team of 27 support experts.

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Any company that assigns a dedicated Twitter account (and 27 people to manage it) is amazing to me. Check out some of their interactions:

Takeaway: Be committed to your social media customer service.

9. Nike: Respond Kindly to Confused Customers

Nike Support is one of the strongest customer service accounts on Twitter. They feature a dedicated Twitter account, support seven days a week and in seven languages (English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian, German & Japanese.)

An example of their approach is here in this customer interaction: A customer contacts them to ask for help finding an order number. Although the question was unclear Nike’s customer support made the customer feel cared for. And when the customer realized they had the information all along, their response is super supportive.

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Takeaway: Be kind, even when it’s not your fault.

10. Seamless: Pay Attention to Every Comment

Seamless is an online service for ordering food from local restaurants. Food orders are full of variables and when you add in time frame and delivery – it has the potential to be a nightmare. To manage customer service, they have an active Twitter account where customers can share their love and voice their complaints.

In a recent comment, a customer tells Seamless that on his recent order he received white rice, instead of brown. He wasn’t upset – he said: “Don’t mind terribly, just FYI.”

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In response, Seamless asks for the order number so they can check into it. In response, the customer tweets:

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Takeaway: Pay attention to all customer service issues. Passive complaints that are left unaddressed can easily cause a rift between the vendor and customer.

11. My Starbucks Idea: Listen and Harvest Ideas

As a way to listen to customers – and get tons of great new ideas – Starbucks created My Starbucks Idea. To date, customers have submitted more than 210,000 unique ideas. To support this program, they have a dedicated Twitter account. It is a great place for users to share their observations and coffee wishes.

A couple of the recent ideas include solar cell equipped umbrellas for device charging and morning coffee delivery (looks like it’s going to happen).

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Takeaway: Make it easy for customers to tell you what they want. Listen to everyone and implement the winning ideas.

12. Sainsburys: Fishy Exchange

Sainsbury’s is one of the largest supermarkets in the UK. They’ve got a pretty active Twitter feed with lots of customer questions about products and sale prices. The tone of the account is helpful and positive.

There are lots of good examples of interactions. But none better than Fishy Sainsburys. This fishy exchange took place over a three hour period, between David (Sainsbury’s Twitter manager) and Marty (a customer). The puns will make you groan – many made me laugh out loud. Remember, this interaction was not a marketing play but a real conversation between the company and a customer.

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Takeaway: Let your customer service team have fun.

13. Hubspot: Every Day of the Year

Holidays can be challenging times for customer service. When customer service closes for the observance of a holiday in one country, users from other countries will still have questions.

This recently happened with a HubSpot customer in London. She had workflow issues and couldn’t contact anyone at the US-based call center because it was closed for American Thanksgiving. When she took her concern to Twitter, she found a customer service representative in Ireland.

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Like many companies in this list, HubSpot has a dedicated customer service Twitter account. To manage international schedules and time zones, they have two Dublin-based representatives and another three in Cambridge, MA.

Takeaway: Be available for your customers.

14. Buffer: Personal and Kind

If you take a quick look at Buffer’s Tweets & replies feed you’ll see how engaging their customer service is. Responses are personal and friendly. And they are usually signed by the team member you’re chatting with.

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For example, my wife has been impressed that when she mentions them in a tweet, they acknowledge it, even using her name in their response.

Takeaway: Treat each person with respect. Use your name (and theirs) when interacting with customers online.

What we can learn from these customer service examples

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Choose a primary channel for customer service (many use Twitter) and assign staff to manage it.
  2. Decide on your schedule of availability (set hours and days) and post it on your profile.
  3. Have each tweet/post signed by the person who sent it. This is done well by Xbox Support, Sainsbury’s, and Buffer.
  4. Remember that customers might contact you any number of ways – not necessarily on the channel you chose. Make sure you monitor other social channels for questions and conversations about your brand.
  5. Establish a tone for your social media conversations. Generally speaking, you’ll want first to empathize with your customers problem. Stephen Covey said it best: “Seek first to understand…”

I recommend following a few of these companies on Twitter. Watch how they handle customer complaints and comments. I’ve learned so much doing this.

What to do next: Review these points with your customer service team. Decide which apply to your business right now and assign a team member to implement them.

Over to you

Have you had an amazing customer service experience via social media? How are you using social media to provide customer service? I would love to hear both in the comments!

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14 Amazing Social Media Customer Service Examples (And What You Can Learn From Them)
Retaining Members – The Strategic Approach: Mark Taylor – A.S.K. Workshops http://www.pgae.com/news/retaining-members-the-strategic-approach-mark-taylor-a-s-k-workshops/ Mon, 27 Jun 2016 14:41:11 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=15769 PGA Professional, Mark Taylor, explains what Golf Professionals need to know about their members...]]>

England Golf’s Mark Taylor will speak at the 2016 A.S.K. Workshops in Hungary on 26th July – Here Mark explains how he supports and advises facilities on how to best implement club centric strategies to drive participation, recruit, and retain current membership trends.

What you need to know about your members

Maintaining current membership levels has never been harder for most golf clubs.

Increased competition, declining loyalty, the perception that a golf club membership does not offer value for money, all create an increasingly cluttered landscape in which clubs have to compete.

But the good news is that contrary to popular industry perception, the growth of the game has never been so strong. Participation levels are rising – more than 5% among adults in 2006, whilst interest in the game among juniors and women is also growing. That means no shortage of potential customers!

However, what is changing is the way that people are choosing to participate. Joining a club is no longer high on the agenda for golfers; hence the decline in waiting lists for many golf clubs and an increasing emphasis on protecting their existing member base.

In order to do so and to attract new members, it is vital that clubs understand what members want. They are the most valuable asset and a healthy membership base that actively uses your club and its facilities should be at the core of any successful golf club.

What clubs need to know about members;

20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your business is equally true within golf clubs. Every club has core membership, who regularly play in competitions, support club fixtures, buy tickets to social occasions, use the bar and restaurant and support the pro.

The fact is that golf clubs know little if anything about their membership and much of their decision- making is based on anecdotal evidence rather than hard facts.

By finding out more about existing membership clubs can not only generate more income through them but can also find and target potential new members with a similar profile to the existing best customers.

3 MUST knows about members:

Who they are

This includes their name, address, contact details and also their age, marital status, family, occupation. This is not intrusive but designed to help you help them get the most from their membership

Their playing habits

Maintain records of when they play, who they play with, how often they play, do they enter competitions, do they put handicap cards in, have they ever had a handicap?

How much they spend

This may seem mercenary but do they use the bar, or catering facilities, do they support the professional, if not then why not? If they do, then this is just as important to know why – what motivates them?

Other things to know

As well as the obvious areas about what they do and how they use their membership, current membership intelligence can also be used to help improve what is offered to existing and prospective members. What members think about their golf club and what they expect from their membership can be real eye openers – sometimes uncomfortable ones but often easy to act upon.

For more information and to register visit http://eur.pe/ASKWorkshops-Hungary

For more information about the 2016 A.S.K. Workshops visit http://eur.pe/ASKWorkshops-Hungary, follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter and search #ASKWorkshops, or like the PGAs of Europe Facebook Page.

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Retaining Members – The Strategic Approach: Mark Taylor – A.S.K. Workshops
Golf Member Referrals – The Lowest Hanging Fruit http://www.pgae.com/ask/golf-member-referrals-the-lowest-hanging-fruit/ Wed, 27 Apr 2016 07:05:58 +0000 Promote Training http://www.pgae.com/?p=14973 In the first of a 3-part series of articles by Promote Training, they look at how referral marketing can create a valuable source of new members for a golf club]]>

In the first of a 3-part series of articles by Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, we look at how referral marketing can create a valuable source of new members for a golf club.

Membership referrals are simply new members who have been introduced to the club by current members.

The concept of referral marketing is nothing new – indeed, there has been plenty of research on the subject with many studies professing the virtues of referred custom as opposed to new custom from complete strangers.

So why is the concept of ‘referral’ so potentially rewarding for our club?

Benefits of Referrals

The power of recommendation

People trust the opinion of other people in their lives that they respect – family members, friends or work colleagues. For instance, we’ve all watched a television programme that we’ve heard other people talking about – that’s exactly the same referral principle. We heard it from people we know therefore we trust their opinion.

Targeted marketing

Unlike many other forms of marketing, referral is laser targeting at its most effective. Members know their friends, family and/or work colleagues pretty well. They can spread your membership message to the very audience you want to target.

Data quality

Due to the nature of referral the quality of the data is more likely to be correct, without false email addresses or such like.

A trusted sales pitch

We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of being on the receiving end of a door-to-door sales person. No doubt most of us didn’t buy anything from them based on issues of trust. How could you be sure those products they were selling are genuine? How do you know they’re going to work? How do you know they’ve not “fallen off the back of a lorry”?!

“Trust” is an important part of the buying decision for any consumer. We are far more likely to buy from someone we trust – so to encourage members to perform our ‘sales pitch’ for us will be making full use of a perceived trustworthy communication channel.

See the research below conducted in the Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising. Powerful proof indeed.

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Huge volumes of people

Not just huge – the entire world! Certainly the entire world if you are to believe in the theory of six degrees of separation. This is the notion that everyone is six steps away, by way of introduction, from every other person in the world. It’s the underlying principle of social media in many ways. You know six people, who each know another six people, who each know another six people – and by the time you do that six times you have a connection with, well, absolutely everyone.

Golfers like to talk golf

It’s true in many cases that golfers like to talk about golf. It stands to reason – golf is their pastime and their leisure pursuit of choice. It also seems that the sport itself has a lot of conversational ingredients. It almost sparks debate and conversation, perhaps as golfers try to rationalize exactly why they play like they do and/or why Rory McIlroy plays like he does. In any event, if you invite a golfer to talk about their golf they usually have a fair amount to say.

It attracts the same types of people

It is often the case that people get on better with other people ‘of the same type’ as them – “birds of a feather flock together”. When you are encouraging members to refer people to the club – you are encouraging people with similar characteristics to them. They may be similar in terms of political persuasion, affluence, professional background, age range and/or in terms of social attitudes. This then helps create a membership body that mixes well with each other, encouraging a happy and harmonious group of customers.

Referred members are less likely to leave

We like to call it “stickability”. It is in the dictionary:

“A person’s ability to persevere with something; staying power”

This is the notion that someone can be more ‘attached’ to a club and therefore less likely to leave. It’s a topic that plays more of a part in our membership retention course, but it’s worth mentioning as a benefit to referred members. As soon as they join they know at least one person at the club, which gives them an instant familiarity and makes integration into the club’s day-to-day happenings a lot easier. This often means they’re a lot less likely to leave in the immediate future as they are socially tied to the club.

Placating Members with Referral Opportunities

It seems some golf club members believe that commercial common sense and financial prudence ends at the gates to the club. They want their club to remain a largely exclusive hideaway from the outside world – to be a hidden sanctuary from society. The very same members are usually the first knocking on the Managers door with incredulity at seeing external advertising of the latest membership promotion.

This is where a pro-active, highly-valued and visible referral campaign within a club can go a long way to placating such members, who rightly or wrongly feel aggrieved at any external membership promotions.

In itself, it won’t convince them of the need for the club to grow the number of members – but it may help convince them that they also have an opportunity to personally benefit from the growth if they refer new members to the club.

In fact, it’s true to say that the preferred route to growing a club’s membership base is through referral, for all the reasons already given. As such, there doesn’t appear to be any logical reason why a club wouldn’t implement a member referral initiative if it were also advertising externally for new members.

Referrals are the lowest hanging fruit – they’re the easiest to pick.

To learn how you can create a referral culture within your golf club, along with other membership lead generation tactics, visit www.promotetraining.co.uk and discover more about the “Generating Membership Leads” eLearning course by Promote Training.

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Golf Member Referrals – The Lowest Hanging Fruit
Shoe Fitting The Professional Way http://www.pgae.com/ask/shoe-fitting-the-professional-way/ Sun, 20 Mar 2016 16:42:45 +0000 FootJoy http://www.pgae.com/?p=11416 6 Simple Steps to Ensure Your Clients Get the Best Fit Possible “Why is it important to have correctly fitted golf shoes?” You may ask yourself.]]>

6 Simple Steps to Ensure Your Clients Get the Best Fit Possible

“Why is it important to have correctly fitted golf shoes?” You may ask yourself.

Given the fact that 70% of golfers are wearing shoes that are not best fit for them, it would appear that many individuals are not sure of the answer or misinformed in the process, giving a potential opportunity for PGA Pros to leverage.

The simple yet key answer to the above question is that it can lead to a loss of power in your clients’ golf swings of up to 26% and can cause discomfort during the round impeding the performance of the golf shoes. The life of the golf shoes may also be compromised, all of which could result in negative feedback from clients.

FootJoy offers the most size, width and last options to ensure golfers can find the best fitting golf shoes and with the custom MYJOYS programme (www.myjoys.co.uk) individuals can currently choose from a vast variety of sizes – never mind the styling possibilities!

With this many options to choose from the guidelines below and shown in the video alongside this article can ensure that your clients have the best possible fit during their shoe fitting and come away with shoes that will benefit them and their games:

1. Use a Brannock

The Brannock Device has been the shoe fitting standard for over 70 years. This device measures heel to toe length, arch length, and width providing a comprehensive starting point to the fitting process. It is vitally important that you take a seat whilst being measured otherwise you may end up with shoes that are too big. This measurement is just the starting point of the fitting and should be treated simply as a guide.

2. Wear proper socks

Make sure your customers wear socks that are of a similar thickness and quality that they normally play golf in.

3. Measure both feet

And fit to the largest. Most people have slight differences between the left and right feet. If the difference is greater than 1 whole size or 2 sizes in width then different size left and right shoes may be needed (they can be ordered through the MYJOYS programme).

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4. Check the width

Most people believe they are medium width, but in reality 40% are not. Use the Brannock Device to measure this and fitting clues may show for shoes that are too wide/big – the eyelets of the shoe are almost touching, whereas, shoes that are too narrow/small – the eyelets are too wide apart. The eyelets should be approximately 5/8” – about the width of your thumb. This is known as the “rule of thumb”.

5. Ensure a snug fit

Golf shoes should have a snug feel but not tight. Excess movement of your foot inside the golf shoe can lead to a loss of power in the golf swing, can cause blistered feet due to frictional movement and excess wear to the golf shoe itself.

6. ‘Last’ but not least

The shape of a golf shoe depends on the characteristics of the Last. The LAST, originally made of wood and now made of composite plastics, is the form of the foot around which the shoe is shaped. Last characteristics vary based on the goals of the shoe’s fit and appearance. FootJoy offers a variety of lasts for men and women. When considering a shoe’s fit, consider the characteristics of the Last to further aid the fitting process.

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Shoe Fitting The Professional Way
Case Study: Thinking Outside the Box – Retailing Equipment http://www.pgae.com/ask/case-study-thinking-outside-the-box-retailing-equipment/ Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:45:42 +0000 Golf Retailing http://www.pgae.com/?p=11184 We all know that the golf trade is having a tough time of it and so we are always keen to meet with PGA pros and retailers who are doing things differently in o]]>

We all know that the golf trade is having a tough time of it and so we are always keen to meet with PGA pros and retailers who are doing things differently in order to sell more product.

Golf Retailing’s Miles Bossom met with PGA Pro and golf entrepreneur Adam Bishop to find out how he is thinking differently.

MB – Adam, tell us a bit about your business.

AB – I started in 2001 with one retail outlet but now have four, all within twenty minutes’ drive of each other. I run the retail outlets at Studley Wood, Chiltern Forest and Whiteleaf Golf Clubs and I also have a large store at our driving range just outside Thame in Oxfordshire [United Kingdom].

MB – How many PGA Pro’s do you employ?

AB – From two at the start I now employ eight.

MB – So, have you plans for further expansion?

AB – Running four venues is quite a commitment but if the right opportunity comes up I would never say no before investigating.

MB – How are you adding value to your business?

AB – We have a full tour spec work shop and fitting centre so we can offer custom fit and a great repair service. We also run the Cleveland Centre of excellence at Studley Wood. Our latest venture is to do fitting days at clubs that don’t do any hardware sales.

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MB – Tell me more?

AB – There are many golf clubs that don’t sell any hardware whatsoever so the customers at those clubs are starved of product.  With it being expensive to buy and with such tight margins it makes it unviable for some to hold a decent level of hardware.

At these places there are many customers who love to buy hardware and would prefer to buy from their own club because that is where they feel comfortable.  So what we do is we set up with a minimum of four but up to nine fitting carts and branded pagodas on the clubs range or practise facility or we can use a large inflatable net if the club has no practice ground and so on.  Members that haven’t seen this before feel that Christmas has come early!

MB – What does the club get from this?

AB – We pay the club a small commission on the goods that we sell but it isn’t so much about the club making money, it is more about providing a service to the members.  They feel that a few times a year their club holds a large demo day when they can try all of the latest equipment from a wide range of manufacturers and can buy then and there.

MB – How many club fittings would you expect to complete in a day?

AB – We would bring two fitters and the club prearrange as many appointments as possible.  I would expect them to be fully booked with between ten and twenty appointments and I would bring a third for the people who may just turn up on the day on the off chance.

MB – Typically how much revenue would you expect to generate on one of these days?

AB – It’s rare that we would do less than £3000 [approx. €4,190] in turnover but it is usual that we would do between £6000 and £8000 approx. €8,379 – €11,172].  Our best day was £12,000 [approx. €16,758]!  It depends on how starved the membership has been.

MB – Is there a particular demographic that is more interested in this service than others?

AB – Definitely left handed golfers and ladies.  Because we will not only have a left-handed driver in all of the major brands but we will also offer a multitude of different shaft options.  We can cater for everyone and give them a great fitting experience.

MB – What commission do you offer the club?

AB – It’s between 10 percent to 20 percent of the profit depending on the manufacturer. mThe club simply promotes the service and we do the rest.  It is not really about the commission, it is all about providing a service that the club doesn’t provide.

MB – At Studley Wood you have run a pre-Christmas sale.  When do you think is the right time to reduce the price of stock to ensure it doesn’t gather dust?

AB – It depends on a number of factors.  Firstly how good your purchasing was in the first place, secondly how good the season was and thirdly how well you have sold it.

With multi sites it’s easier because if I purchase forty pairs of shoes across the group and I sell the majority of those at full retail price I have covered the cost of the order and paid the supplier and I am already in profit. If there are a few pairs left I do not want them hanging around. They may have cost me £35 per pair but they don’t owe me that as I have already made a profit on the total order. I will price them aggressively to shift them quickly at maybe £29 per pair.

MB – So how has the sale here at Studley Wood worked for you?

AB – I have started running sales in November because it is a bit of a dead month. The clocks change so it is dark and dingy and many pro’s will be thinking that it was hardly worth opening.

It is a great time to sell because you are taking customer money when they are not expecting to spend – ahead of Christmas and out of season.  November is no longer a month where I am depressed.  I have cash coming in, good clean stock and I am ready to go for the new season.

MB – What advice would you offer other golf retailers?

AB – What we golf pros have to remember is that golfers love golf.  If you can’t sell equipment as a golf professional you are in a trouble.  The key is creating desire.  Golfers walk into our outlets and have the desire to take shots off their round.  They are prepared to buy equipment that will enable them to do this.

MB – How often do you sell an “off the shelf” set of irons?

AB – The last time I sold a set was about four months ago but that was only because the length of the club, the lie, the type of shaft and the grip were exactly what the guy needed. I pride myself on the fact that I don’t have rows and rows of clubs in my shop. You may think that is a negative but in fact it is a huge positive.

When you think about it the big stores have fifty or sixty sets of standard clubs on display it must be difficult for them to want to sell a custom set as they have invested a lot of money in stock sets so it must be temping to want to sell them instead. There will be a few customers that fit a standard set but they are few and far between. All of my customers get exactly the right set of clubs for them built in the manufacturer’s factory.

MB – Do you feel threatened by the internet?

AB – No. The only reason people buy on line is price. The consumer always thinks it is cheaper but that is not always the case. There is no service with the internet. I actually use it very effectively to sell surplus stock at the end of the season. If the retailer does his job properly there is no reason for a golfer to buy hardware on line.

The more technical golf equipment becomes the better, as it helps us professionals, as I believe to be a great fitter you must also be a great coach and vice versa. At the end of the day we must create a desire by showing the customer how much they can improve by having their clubs fitted correctly.

 

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Case Study: Thinking Outside the Box – Retailing Equipment
How Will Wearable Technology Change Our Golf Retail Experience? http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-will-wearable-technology-change-our-golf-retail-experience/ Sat, 16 Jan 2016 14:22:40 +0000 Golf Business Monitor http://www.pgae.com/?p=10714 Wearable technology is fast becoming an opportunity for marketers, brands and businesses as usage levels continue to increase and more devices are released with]]>

Wearable technology is fast becoming an opportunity for marketers, brands and businesses as usage levels continue to increase and more devices are released with incredible levels of functionality.

Golf Business Monitor’s Miklós Breitner assesses the ways in which these new devices could be leveraged by your marketing team.


The usage of wearables is not totally new to the golf industry. Those who were lucky enough to attend the Ryder Cup were able to experience the advantages of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). This got me thinking about how pro-shops and other golf retail outlets could utilise wearables.

For many of us, if I ask them about wearables, the following things come to their mind: Google Glass, smartwatches (e.g. Motoactv of Motorola), and activity trackers (e.g. Fitbit). In 2014 there were more searches on Google for wearable devices than for fitness apps.

As usage increases we need to think how could we maximise these technologies to enhance customer experience in pro-shops and golf retail outlets.

Wearble Graph

At the moment I can see 3 major areas where wearable technologies could be utilised – in this first part of the article we’ll look at the first:

Providing more product information

Bricks-and-mortar companies have to compete with online retailers. Needless to say that online it is easier to obtain relevant information (and reviews) about products and services and compare them. Some retailers are already using QR codes to provide extra product information, such as Best Buy in the US adding QR codes to the fact tags.

Our challenge is to find out how to utilise wearable technologies to provide personalised offers and solutions in real-time. Customers today are expecting more and more relevant offers, greater access to deals and promotions and fast checkout (I will talk about payment solutions in the next part of the article). More importantly, once the customer walks in, the store can immediately engage him or her with services.

If the customer opts to provide personal information via wearable, this can give retailers further opportunities for marketing.

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I would not neglect the demand generation capability of wearables. Burberry’s solution, launched in 2013 (see video on this page), is a good example where the company embedded a textile RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) label into its products. Burberry were then able to provide bespoke multimedia content specific for certain products.

Another interesting aspect is how your sales team communicates with customers in the pro-shop. We should think how we could support their work with extra information via wearable devices – for example, ongoing communication; remind the shop assistant that he is dealing with a loyal customer and what the customer’s brand preferences are, their shoe size, preferred payment solution etc.

We could also avoid the embarrassing situations when colleagues called to a certain place within the golf club via loudspeaker. In addition to this the wearable can improve employee efficiency, enhance training and reduce nonproductive time.

The Container Store (TCS) for instance in 2014 replaced its walkie-talkie system with Theatro Wearable (a wearable in-store communications device clipped to employees’ shirts) to improve the communication among its workers.

To succeed we must integrate the implemented wearable solutions with our point of sale, CRM, order management, campaign management and web content management systems. For integration to be effective then we are reliant on developers creating programming interfaces/APIs but this will no doubt take place as time goes on. I am less worried about security and privacy since our employees are used to being monitored.

In the upcoming second part of the article Miklós will look at 2 more areas where wearable technology could be utilised.


This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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How Will Wearable Technology Change Our Golf Retail Experience?
9 Ways to Do PR Like a Pro http://www.pgae.com/ask/9-ways-to-do-pr-like-a-pro/ Mon, 14 Dec 2015 16:25:34 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=10331 Marketing and public relations are vital to growing a business and to sustaining its profitability over the long term. Without either, your firm can quickly dis]]>

PETER ECONOMY is the best-
selling author of Managing For Dummies, The Management
Bible, Leading Through
Uncertainty, and more than 60 other books. he has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years.

@BizzWriter


Marketing and public relations are vital to growing a business and to sustaining its profitability over the long term. Without either, your firm can quickly disappear from the public consciousness, and your sales and profits can plummet.

Not everyone can afford to hire a PR firm, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop relationships with important influencers, generate more awareness about your company, and stand out from the crowd. The truth is that you can–and in very cost-effective fashion.

I recently asked Amanda Van Nuys–vice president at the Bateman Group, an agency that integrates PR, social media, content marketing, and analytics–for her advice on how anyone can do PR like a pro. Here’s what she told me.

1. Identify what makes your story remarkable

Interesting stories will always be the currency of effective public relations programs. The trick is figuring out what about your company will most likely appeal to journalistic instincts: Do you have an unusual founding story? Do you have a truly innovative, externally validated product? How do you fit into the larger market landscape, and what makes you different from everyone else?

2. Define a brand voice

Before you start your PR and social media engines, consider the tone and voice of your brand. Think of your brand as if it’s a person. Is it irreverent? Thoughtful? Funny? Friendly? Formal? Decide on a voice and stick to it so your customers and fans know what to expect when they engage with you. By clearly articulating a brand voice, people get a sense of what your company stands for–beyond your products or services–and can develop an authentic connection with you.

3. Ask your customers to the party

It’s one thing to say that your company has created value for customers, but it’s quite another thing when your customer says it. Make sure to mention the possibility of future PR opportunities early on in the relationship (even bake it into your contract), and then do everything you can to make and keep a customer happy. Once a customer is willing to talk to the media and value has been realized–especially when the return on investment can be quantified–then you have a great story hook that reporters love.

4. Make data your best friend

Reporters and influencers love data, particularly if it makes a counterintuitive or surprising point. If you have the opportunity to do a survey or glean data in other ways, then use it to your advantage, as Bateman Group recently did for client Animoto. You can use stats to validate a market shift, emerging trend, or changing buyer sentiment. Once you have data, repackage it into an infographic or other visual content, which generally gets high social shares.

5. Focus on reporters that matter

It’s often said that if you can influence the top 10 voices in a given market, they’ll influence everyone else. Identify the reporters or bloggers who will make a difference for your business. Follow them on Twitter, read the articles they write and share, and understand what they consider newsworthy. Reach out in a targeted, personalized way to start a meaningful conversation.

PGAs of Europe - Ryder Cup - Sergio Garcia Press Conference_m

6. Be social for an hour each day

If you’re going to engage with customers, prospects, and reporters on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media, then dedicate at least an hour in your day for social time. Post timely and thoughtful content, acknowledge comments, and be responsive to questions. Start conversations with your content and social posts rather than just broadcasting your opinions.

7. Follow and DM reporters on Twitter

We’re all bombarded with emails, and who has the time to check voice mail anymore? Sometimes the most effective way to reach a reporter is to direct message (DM) him or her on Twitter. Many reporters have their eyes on Twitter all day long looking for breaking news. If they’re active on Twitter, engage them there.

8. Make LinkedIn your new publishing platform

LinkedIn is becoming the place for executives and thought leaders to post their professional content. If you post something on your blog or write a contributed article, then repost the same content on your personal profile and your company’s LinkedIn profile. Write a catchy headline and use a friendly tone, focusing on helpful, relevant content–practical tips and tricks work particularly well. This is a great way to build credibility with customers, prospects, and reporters.

9. Ask employees to help spread the word

Consider every employee at your company an ambassador for your brand. Set some basic professional ground rules, and then encourage your team to spread the word about an article featuring your company, or a LinkedIn post that you’ve published. Beyond creating internal enthusiasm, it’s an easy way to amplify your PR success and help reel in new business or top talent.


This article originally appeared on Inc.com – to view the original article visit http://eur.pe/1B1XNq6.

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9 Ways to Do PR Like a Pro
Ball Story – Fitting’s Latest Gap in the Market http://www.pgae.com/ask/ball-story-fittings-latest-gap-in-the-market/ Wed, 15 Apr 2015 08:04:26 +0000 Titleist http://www.pgae.com/?p=11420 Custom fitting clubs for individuals has been around for a few years. But an element that is relatively new and underutilised by PGA Professionals is Ball Fitt]]>

Custom fitting clubs for individuals has been around for a few years.  But an element that is relatively new and underutilised by PGA Professionals is Ball Fitting.

As the #1 ball in golf, we spoke to Titleist’s Golf Ball Director, Michael Mahoney, to discuss why ball fitting is so important for all types of golfers and how that could influence your own ball fitting offerings.

What is the importance of golf ball fitting, and for golfers to play the same golf ball every time they play?

We hear all the time from golfers’ things like, “I’m not good enough to be able to feel the difference” or, “I just play whatever is in my bag”.  By playing whatever is in their bag you run into the challenge of not knowing what the golf ball is going to do when you execute the shot the way you want to.

So to give you an example, a golfer who is hitting a shot into a tight pin over a bunker from say, 40 yards; if you put all of our golf balls down and hit that shot five times with each golf ball, you’ll start to notice a pattern and that they all perform a little differently on that shot.

It’s really important that a golfer knows that when he or she hits the shot that they are trying to hit, that the golf ball is going to perform how they are expecting it to.  Playing the same golf ball consistently is really critical in helping you to play better golf.

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What is the focus of Titleist golf ball fitting?

Our process focuses, first and foremost, on helping you to lower your score and helping you play your best golf.  Our methodology starts with those shots that contribute the most to lower scores, which are the shots into and around the green.  We go from the green back to the tee when we’re fitting, and start with those shots.

As a result, our fitting methodology fits the vast majority, 95%+ of golfers into a Pro V1 or Pro V1x, because those golf balls have the best scoring performance regardless of whether you’re a 25 handicap, a 10 handicap or a tour player.  Our methodology doesn’t change depending on where you are from a skill level, your age, your gender, no matter what. Our fitting focuses on shooting lower scores, and it focuses on those scoring shots.

What about players who don’t swing at the same speed as a tour player, is Pro V1 or Pro V1x still the best ball for them?

We hear that all the time!  In fact, club golfers do swing at the same speed as tour player.  They may not do it with driver, but when a tour player hits a shot with their 7 or 8 iron, that’s probably the same swing speed as some club golfers have with their driver.

To simply answer the question, golf club fitting is very focussed on specific shots; we fit the driver for a very specific purpose, for one type of shot.  We would never say, “Let’s take your driver and hit a 40 yard shot with it”.  It would not work very well for that, but we fit wedges for that!  We fit irons for their specific job, but the golf ball doesn’t change, the golf ball is the same regardless of what shot you are hitting so it has to work on all of those shots.

So a golf ball for Titleist has to be long, so in the long game it has to be low spin, has to fly far and generate a lot of speed, and in the short game it has to generate high spin from a relatively low speed shot.  Pro V1 and Pro V1x are the most highly engineered products we have and they are designed to do exactly that; generate exceptional distance and also have great spin in the short game.  Pro V1x is about the longest golf ball that you are going to find anywhere in the world for all golfers; it’s an extraordinary long product.  We don’t fit for swing speed, we don’t fit for distance, we fit for scoring and Pro V1 and Pro V1x deliver that for all golfers.

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Even lady golfers?

Well, the last time I checked the golf ball doesn’t look up and all of a sudden perform differently because it sees that a woman is hitting it versus a man!  We look at the products that are labelled ‘ladies’ products, and we don’t quite understand them.  There are certainly no characteristics within the products, no special technology that helps them detect that a woman is swinging at it!  We see just as wide a variation in woman’s golf games as we do in men’s and so we design golf balls that are the best performing products for everyone!

What is that sets Titleist apart?

You can’t develop the Titleist culture of dedication towards making the best golf balls in the world in one day.  We invest not only a lot of money, but a lot of time and energy in commitment to making the best products in the world.  When you see the trust that golfers have in Titleist, it’s not only about golf balls that perform best, but that they know that nobody other than Titleist associates have played a role in the process.

We make all of our products in our own ball plants, with our own associates, mostly on technology that we designed in-house.  We are protected by more patents than anybody else in the industry and our technology is more advanced than anybody else in the industry, and that we have a commitment to delivering products that golfers, whether they are trying to make a living playing golf or trying to achieve their best at amateur level, they can trust that our products are going to perform the way they expect them to consistently, ball after ball after ball.

We look at PGA Tour or European Tour counts and those are very validating, but when we look at the US Amateur or British Amateur, those counts go from 65-70% to 80-90%, it’s very validating that we’re achieving our mission, which is to deliver golf balls of superior performance and superior quality for serious golfers.

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Ball Story – Fitting’s Latest Gap in the Market