A common topic of conversation in our classes at the Golf Academy of America is customer service and specifically, as it relates to the golf industry. I can tell you this: the Golf Academy of America Phoenix Campus 3rd Semester Graduating Class of April 2016 doesn’t think the customer service in the golf industry is all that great.
At one time or another, just about every single one of us has recounted a less-than-stellar customer service experience we’ve had at a golf course or driving range. Whether it’s the guy in outside services who grumbles while he’s cleaning your clubs or the gal inside the pro shop who snatches your money because she just broke-up with her boyfriend, we’ve all basically wondered the same thing: why is the customer service in the golf industry so bad?
In fact, just the other day, after hearing yet another horror story, I reminded my classmates that we have an opportunity – and an obligation – to make sure the stories we’re telling never happen again. Not on our watch. It’s up to us to break the cycle of poor customer service in the golf industry, and we have a chance to lead by example.
I don’t know if you’ve ever stopped to think about it, but something happened in this country. Somewhere along the way, America transformed from an industrial “look at what I can build with my own two hands” nation into a customer service “I don’t give a rat’s ass” nation. We’re not building anything anymore, and customer service is more of an intangible.
Here’s the not-so-dirty little secret. We’re not very good at customer service, regardless of the industry. In fact, I would say that our customer service stinks! But I think I know why. You can’t fake good customer service. Good customer service happens when you actually care about the person you’re serving, and most of us are too self-absorbed to care about anyone or anything other than ourselves.
In Managing Golf Facility Operations, PGA Professional Warren Pitman reminded us again today how important it is to establish and adhere to a set of customer service standards. He encouraged us to come up with an acronym to remind us how we should treat our customers.
The PGA of America has an acronym: GEODE. Greet. Enquire. Offer. Deliver. Evaluate. Is that the best you can do PGA of America? Inquire is spelled with an “I” not an “E.” As for an acronym for how we should treat our fellow man? That’s just basic human decency.