Understand your golf club’s customers’ journeys!

By: November 23, 2018

It was a great pleasure and honour to give a presentation on customer journey mapping in golf clubs at the latest CMAE European Conference on Club Management 2018 in Marbella.

I thought to share with you what do I think of the importance and role of customer journey mapping.

Customer journey mapping in golf clubs

As competitive pressure increases, golf clubs need to set themselves apart — and exceptional customer experience will do the trick.

I might say that customer experience is the only factor differentiating successful golf clubs from others. According to a recent Gartner research, customer experience will overtake price and product as a brand differentiator by 2020.

We cannot afford to neglect that our customers care intensely about their own needs, desires, and goals. People are instinctively self-centered! Every customer is unique by expectations, needs, what he likes or hates etc. They want one-on-one customer relationship and communication.

Nowadays, customers don’t revolve around our golf clubs, rather, the golf clubs must figure out how they fit into the lives of their customers. People expect some benefit (e.g. money, time, attention) when they use the services of a golf club.

By taking the time to truly understand how your customers view their experience, you can discover the moments that matter to create customers who love your brand (=golf club/resort).

Today, people are becoming more demanding and impatient since they are moving faster. Just think about scrolling and swiping and tapping.

Understand your customers’ journeys!

To be able to provide an exceptional customer experience, we must first understand who our potential customers are. We should understand our customers’ journeys and not just their interactions.

the importance of customer journey mapping

Customer journey maps are foundational to a customer experience program.

Be aware of the differences between customer journey maps and experiment maps and experience maps and service blueprints.

In the past, we used funnel concept. However, today they fail to capture all the touch points and key buying factors resulting from the service & product choices, digital channels coupled with the emergence of the empowered customer.

As we are moving towards two-way communication (e.g. chatbots), golf clubs need a more systematic way to satisfy their members’ and guests’ demands and manage word of mouth.

The dynamic customer journey is strongly influenced by social technology, mobile technology, and the role of the connected customers (aka Generation C).

Today’s customers are interacting with brands and golf clubs through an omnichannel and always-on approach. Just think about how they use your Facebook page for instance for customer service or even tee time booking purposes.

Would you believe that US and French adults spend on daily average more than 3.5 hours on mobile? An eMarketer research predicts that mobile will surpass TV as the main medium by 2019.

This is why I believe that today most of the customer journeys begin on mobiles. Yes, we can say that customers are overwhelmingly mobile-first. This should motivate us to design best-in-class mobile experiences.

We should organize our efforts around the end-to-end customer journeys. This means identifying the critical customer journeys and providing the perspective on the customer journey end-to-end and where the value is.

Customer Journey maps - Experience maps - Service blueprints

As you will see in reality, there are more than one customer journeys. To be successful, golf clubs need to identify the market segments and journeys that matter the most.

A simple approach is to follow the Pareto principle or the 20-80 rule: 20% of journey-segment combination (the biggest segments and the most frequent journeys), when optimized, have the potential to make 80% of the business impact.

Determine what moments matter most to your customers! So PRIORITIZE!!!

By using customer journey mapping you will learn:

  1. The steps the customer takes, their expectations, their needs, their goals, their desires.
  2. What success looks like from their and your/golf club’s perspective.
  3. What you as a golf club can influence by changing internal processes and policies to meet the expectations of the members and other guests.
  4. ‘Moment of Truth’: the points in a journey that define the overall customer experience. These are the moments that present opportunities to delight the customer + things the customer expects and does not notice unless they are missing.
  5. ‘Pain Points’: which touchpoints are not working for your customers and needs improvement.
  6. What the golf club needs to do to deliver the desired outcomes. You should identify at least 5-10 touchpoints that are both ‘Moment of Truth’ & ‘Pain Points’.
  7. You will be able to identify the key channels that the ‘Voice of the Customer’ program and its solutions should encompass.

It is also important to know what you are measuring or not measuring. This is an important first step. Be sure the goals you set are based on best practices.

You can be sure that your customers compare you to all the other experiences and interactions they have with companies regardless of industry and geography.

10 critical components of a great customer journey map

  1. Represent your customers’ perspective;
  2. Use research! E.g. qualitative research, review sites (e.g. Leadingcourses.com, Tripadvisor), use social media monitoring softwares, solicited customer feedback collection methods (e.g. transactional surveys, customer satisfaction surveys), industry reports + ‘voice of the employee’ program (=ask your employees!!) etc.
  3. Represent customer segments;
  4. Include customer goals;
  5. Focus on emotions;
  6. Represent touchpoints;
  7. Highlight ‘Moments of Truth‘ (=interactions with high impact);
  8. Measure brand promise = how experience supports brand promise;
  9. Include time! –> the length of interactions in time;
  10. Don’t use PowerPoint at all!! It is not developed to visualize a customer journey map. Instead, use customer journey mapping softwares like Smaply (used by Hyatt, Thomas Cook, Singapore Airlines), Custellence etc.

+1: Incorporate components of your ‘Voice of the Customer’ program (e.g. NPS, Satisfaction surveys, Customer Effort Score etc.).

Customer journey mapping - guest satisfaction survey - Las Colinas Golf and Country Club

Employee journey mapping

I believe our employees have got the biggest impact on customer experience since they are in a daily contact with our members and other guests. Happy staff is key in the hospitality industry.

By empowering them with the right training and tools they can make miracles and at the same time provide us touchpoint specific insights and improvement ideas.

Just like the customer journey map is the backbone of customer experience development, the employee journey map is the same for employee experience. We can ask ourselves: How can we improve upon something if we have no clue what ‘it’ is? 

It gives you the opportunity to ask yourself:

  1. What are the people who work for you saying about your golf club to their friends?
  2. What are they saying (or not saying) on social media?
  3. What is your employer brand?
  4. What are you doing to attract the right people?
  5. Who are the right people?
  6. What sort of recognition do you have as a workplace?
  7. How often do your employees introduce their friends to come and work for you?

Rather than focusing only on employee engagement and culture, I recommend developing an integrated focus on the entire employee experience.

To succeed all I mentioned above must come from the top management of a golf club/resort because it touches so many parts of the organization of a golf club.

This is core to the business, and it will touch IT, HR, supply chain, marketing, everything as a matter of fact.

Are you ready for the JOURNEY?