Harmonizing Technology and Personal Service

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Advice, High Technology, Process, Retail, Service, Uncategorized | 0 comments

High-touch and high-tech.  Customers are coming to expect these two service qualities more and more in their consumer experiences, and that trend is not going to go away.  On the contrary, retailers and service providers who excel in providing both highly-personalized and high-tech experiences to their customers will stand out, winning customer loyalty and getting an edge on their competition. Although some people see the dreaded Self-Checkout Lane as the harbinger of an ever more alienated and isolated society, where people shy away from interaction with strangers — even the cashier in the checkout lane — having a self-checkout lane is unlikely to make a lasting impression on a new customer.  Offering exceptional service using clean, modern, efficient technology will. In the past, some industries were better at providing one or the other of these qualities — for instance, the club environment has always been renowned for providing excellent high-touch service.  The Apple Store has been a pioneer in integrating high-tech buying options.  But it doesn’t have to be one or the other.  And in the days to come, retailers in all sectors of the economy will need to learn to embrace both high-tech and high-touch service. So what can you do to bring high-tech and high-touch into perfect harmony? 1. Realize that high-tech can enhance and encourage high-touch. In the past, the staff at your favorite club or restaurant might remember you from visit to visit without the use of technology, partly because people tended to stay in the same job for years at a time.  Today, the job market is rather more fluid, and while there are people who do stay in their jobs for the long-term, staff members, especially in the lower pay-grades, will likely come and go.  A high-tech CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system will help your staff keep tabs on your customers’ past purchases, preferences, likes and dislikes, so that they can provide more personalized attention and service even when you experience employee turnover. 2. High-tech POS solutions free your employees to provide better service. Two annoying things can happen when low-tech POS systems hamper your employees’ ability to serve your customers.  Either the employee gets chained to a stationary POS terminal, where they are inaccessible to customers who might need help or advice elsewhere in the store, or the employee leaves the stationary POS terminal to help some customers and leaves those ready to purchase waiting at an empty checkout — annoyed, impatient, and possibly rethinking their purchase.  Unleashing the sales process by implementing a mobile POS allows your employees to be available to the customers who need help, when they need it, where they need it — whether it’s help finding the...

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Top 4 Club Innovations for 2014

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in Advice, Process, Uncategorized | 0 comments

2014 is in full swing, and it looks to be a big year for club establishments throughout the country.  In the news recently, ClubCorp, Inc. announced that it would be undertaking $20M in renovations for 10 of its clubs, designed to make them more appealing to the young professional demographic.  Here are the top 4 innovations to keep an eye on this year, as country, city and speciality clubs look to improve the famous club experience for their members. 4.  Better Services for Business Professionals Few things are more annoying than an off-site meeting in a conference room that ranks somewhere between the Jurassic and Neolithic Periods in terms of accessibility options. Look for more clubs to offer integrated charging stations and wi-fi accessibility as improvements to the business meeting experience. 3.  Innovations in Food — Fresh, Local, Creative Troy Tolbert, Executive Chef at San Luis Obispo Country Club (SLOCC) in California, has taken a new approach in the kitchen by using local sources to bring in the freshest food for his creations.  Going local is an innovation that not only supports growers in the area and brings high quality ingredients to diners, but it also gives the club a totally unique flair. Given the great success of Tolbert and SLOCC, more clubs will likely look to adopt this approach to food and beverage in the near future.   2.  New Kinds of Clubs In coming blog posts we will be looking more closely at a brand new club — and a brand new kind of club — in the DFW metroplex, The Frisco Gun Club.  This innovative establishment combines the luxury and personal attention of a country club with the amenities, training opportunities, and retail options of a more traditional gun range.  The Frisco Gun Club is a pioneer in the club setting, taking the famous club environment beyond golf and yachts.   1.  New Look for a New Generation Just as clubs are looking to provide more modern amenities for a new generation of business professionals, they are also seeking to improve the club experience for a younger generation of members and their families.  One of ClubCorp’s planned renovations involves providing new lounge and media rooms for families to gather, watch the big game (or, play the big game!), relax and enjoy great food and great accommodations.         Photo Credit:  VIP Lounge courtesy Frisco Gun...

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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Country Club

Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This post on the Friday before the New Year will center on resolutions some country club managers might entertain for their operation in 2014. These are inspired by various other blog posts on the Country Managers Association of America’s Back of the House blog. If you’re reading this as a country club manager and you haven’t known about the CMAA already, you owe it to your operation to learn more there. 1. Open the doors wider for younger members. A country club based in Orlando has found some success in welcoming younger members (i.e. those ranging in age from 35 to 44) with lower initiation fees, taking in 22 more members than expected. Whereas some other clubs imposed full initiation fees and dues on members in the same age range, the Interlachen Country Club instituted a progressive schedule of initiation fees for those younger members as they realized a real need to attract more. This particular club decided on a $25,000 initiation fee for members under 45, which can be paid in installments, and will keep the fee at that level until individual members passed their milestone. Member dues for this age range were also reduced to match. If you are facing a similar problem in your own membership scheme (and your bottom line), take a page from their book and incorporate it, especially if your program offers all privileges for one price. 2. Buffer your social media presence. You may or may not have an account on any of the big 5 networks, namely Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. If you don’t, open a few and have your social media manager seek out your club members to connect and share the best things about your club. If you do and already have an established social media presence in one or multiple networks, consider the following: No matter the network, you should “incorporate visual elements that are consistent with your club’s overall online brand identity (e.g., same logo, same banners that are used on your club’s website, etc.)” Ensure that your social network admins conform to the same standards and guidelines as your website admins, so that the networks don’t post anything that can’t be posted on your website. This will protect your members from any confusion that may arise, as well as your club from the effects of confusion. For more detailed tips, read this handy article, which covers Facebook, Google+/Youtube, Twitter, and Pinterest. 3. Conduct an environmental management risk assessment. When assessing whether your property passes local legal requirements in any area of environmental management, ask yourself the following six questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Every answer to these questions should provide a...

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