In our previous Big Data post, we explained why Big Data is good for your club. Knowing your members is the difference between providing “what’s good enough” and giving the best service possible. Today, we’ll talk about exactly how you can gather big data with customer relationship management (CRM) tools and put that information to use through customer service skills.

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Data Collection

Your membership application process is the first place you’ll collect data on your members, and it can include general questions about age, gender, marital status, education, occupation, and income level. Because each demographic group will need certain services from your club, it’s helpful to know this information so that you can tailor your club offerings.

To begin building more specific information on your membership as a whole, you can send out an online or email survey. While your initial membership forms allow you to create a demographic profile of your members, these surveys can begin to give you insight into the harmony between your services and amenities and your members’ needs. Ask for an evaluation of your customer service, for instance, or send out a survey asking what they might like to see on the calendar in the next quarter. As you construct these surveys, you’ll need to consider your business objectives: these types of surveys are likely to be anonymous, so we are still in the realm of general data gathering.

Using Your CRM System

Once you’ve collected some initial data from each member, you can create files for them in your CRM client. The ideal CRM client will have a notes field that can also synchronize with a mobile version of the client, which will be able to pull up this information whenever he or she comes to the club. The mobile client can enable staff to make note of preferences — anything from shirt or cleat size to food allergies to a favorite drink from the bar. This forms a history that gives your staff a detailed picture of the member’s unique needs and desires, and this in turn enables them to offer superior service that anticipates rather than simply reacts.

Once you have this level of data on your members, you can begin to tailor offerings to their history. For instance, you can offer them a special sales promotion in the pro shop, or some variation of a “buy 3, get 1 free” deal on the beverage cart. This CRM data is also invaluable for up-selling — you know exactly what types of purchases your members make, what they are likely to need in the near future, and what they might most enjoy. Whether it’s upgrading them to a more expensive bottle of Merlot or trying out a new driver, CRM facilitates service in a way that makes your members feel like they are personally known and cared for.

Consider Your Business Objectives

Ultimately, your choice of a CRM system and your club’s need to collect, access, and use this type of big data comes down to your business objectives.  If your goal is to provide outstanding member service — the kind of service that keeps members coming back and makes them tell all their friends about their club experience — then CRM is a wise investment. And as everything trends toward mobility, instant access, and synchronicity, finding a mobile CRM system that is integrated with the rest of your operations becomes an even wiser investment.

Your members deserve the very best, and a CRM system that allows you to collect, harmonize, and access big data will help your club exceed member expectations and build loyalty.

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Photo credit: kdinuraj / Foter / CC BY