Capital improvements are a big deal at clubs. Check any of the regular publications and you’ll see a list of projects, renovations or new builds that are planned, ongoing, or just recently completed.
That’s for good reason. For starters, capital investments live on the balance sheet. Everyone can see it and have at least a gut sense of what capital improvements will deliver and how investments can enhance the member experience. The results are tangible and everyone can see and experience it when it’s done. But what about your technology?
You wouldn’t let your clubhouse fall into disrepair, but who is keeping an eye on your technology?
If you haven’t noticed, technology is not a trend, it’s essential. The fact is that members interact with your technology nearly as much as your actual club, maybe more, yet it’s rarely treated with the respect or attention it deserves. Member interactions with your technology are an essential part of the club experience today and can have lasting effects for both them and your club. Done well it doesn’t replace the personal touch that you’ve worked so hard to create, but enhances it.
Unlike an over-crowded dining room or a newly renovated outdoor space, it can be hard to tell the state of your technology. Much like you walk around your property to check irrigation systems, schedule furnace check-ups, plan parking lot maintenance, and check doors and windows, you need “to visit” your technology systems and processes looking for outdated areas and opportunities for improvement.
Look for intersections between your members and prospects with your brand, places where staff rely on phones or computers, and activities where members rely on your staff unnecessarily. It’s smart to look at how other industries are raising the standards for customer experiences so that you can match and exceed them. Here are a few examples where investing will lead to improved member experiences in addition to club efficiency and viability.
The Dining Experience
Knowing your members is the key to a great experience and moves your staff from reacting to requests to the ability to be proactive in serving in them. If you’re capturing that learning it makes it easier to replicate those great experiences with all of your staff and makes getting new associates up to speed quicker. It can even have potentially life-saving qualities: one club notes dangerous member allergies, eliminating uncomfortable conversations and ensuring the member’s safety. Sharing that information throughout the club enables the pool grill to have the same knowledge and information as the clubhouse for a consistent experience throughout.
On the Go
One of the biggest trends nationally is the rise of pick-up and delivery food orders – and it’s not just pizza. That doesn’t mean the expectations for the experience are lessened in any way. Clubs will have to keep pace. When members place orders at the club, they expect the staff to remember them, their preferences, and their regular orders. That expectation doesn’t go away just because the order is being placed digitally, and it shouldn’t. Not only does that benefit the members, but it frees your staff from continuously answering the phone while providing a streamlined process from the order to the kitchen to the satisfied member.
After the order is placed members expect to know when it’s available for pick up or when it will arrive. Throughout the process, look for opportunities where technology can make the process more accurate and efficient, and where you can interject the human touch in the most meaningful ways.
Who Isn’t Here? (MAP)
It’s great to walk through and see a full dining room and golfer’s lined up at the first tee in the morning, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, who isn’t here – and hasn’t been for a while? Who is routinely bringing guests and who barely reaches their dining minimum each month? Individually these data points might not mean much. But collectively they can paint a picture of member engagement that enables you to see actual member activity in a way that you can take action. While analytics like this used to be a fantasy, with tools like Clubessential Membership Analytics Predictor (MAP) they are now a reality.
Tee Times and Reservations
Nothing is more critical to members than access to their club. To meet their high expectations and keep your processes in running order requires accurate reservations and tee times. While the pro might insist that members love calling to make reservations, the truth is that it isn’t the best use of anyone’s time. With less time on the phone, the staff has more time to serve members that are present in the shop. And it’s far more convenient for members to book online, a fact we’ve seen born out time and again.
The Website: The Frontdoor and the Gate
The club website has a unique mission. It has to uphold the club’s image to any visitor and present the brand in a positive light, and it has to maintain a private section just for members. Both of these have to accurately reflect the brand. But beyond that, the website can and should serve as a digital hub that connects every aspect of the club. It’s where members can make payments, order dinner, reserve tee times and interact with other members. Consolidating that member information enables you to make smarter strategic decisions about resources and where to plan for growth.
Checks and chits, how quaint. That’s the attitude of the next generations of club members. Only they’re not joining your club for quaint, they’re joining for the experience. The experience they’re used to is online, it’s digital and it’s fast. They’ll expect the same from your club. Payment solutions should enable the members to settle their bills and pay their dues in the most convenient fashion for them. This is great for members, but also great for you. It makes reconciling books exponentially faster. Tying all of your payments into one digital system makes reporting dramatically easier and more accurate.
Just like capital projects, keeping up with technology pays off in the long term. Learn more about how a single integrated platform can improve your operations and your member experience. Download this Digital Inspection Checklist or schedule a tech assessment.