The COVID-19 pandemic affected almost every aspect of life and business in 2020. It will not be very different in 2021.
Before I would detail the customer experience trends in 2021, let’s see who are the winners of the 2020 59Club Service Excellence Award.
59Club has just announced its quarterly 59Club Service Excellence Award winners.
The designated UK & European awards focus on 4 categories spanning:
- Golf Operations,
- Golf Course, Retail, and
- the Food & Beverage experience.
59Club Service Excellence Award winners
Brad Gould of The Grove recognized for his outstanding performance within the Leading UK & European Golf Operation category;
Golf Course Experience
- 1st place: Alex Millar of Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel.
- 2nd place: Phil Chiverton of The Grove.
- Angus Macleod of The Belfry Hotel & Resort, Craig Parry of Edgbaston Golf Club, and Terry Wharton of Haydock Park Golf Club came in 3rd and joint 4th position.
- Jack Heginbotham of Long Ashton Golf Club who claimed 59club’s Leading UK & European Retail Experience award.
- 2nd place: Sean Graham of Foxhills Country Club & Resort & Tom Davies of Ashburnham Golf Club.
- 3rd & 4th place: Matt Lacey of Hurtmore Golf Club & Alyson Lilley of The Gleneagles Hotel.
- Steven Marshall of Gullane Golf Club and previous winner Jacques Hobson of The Belfry Hotel & Resort.
- 2nd place: Houssem Belabed of The Gleneagles Hotel;
- 3rd position: Greg Smith of Edgbaston Golf Club & Simon Ibbotson of Kingswood Golf & Country Club.
Customer experience trends in 2021
Do not think that COVID-19 had no effect on customer experience expectations in 2020. It changed for both customers and the brands (e.g. golf clubs, resorts, suppliers) that serve them.
We had to figure out overnight how to operate in the drastically changed health and business environments.
Our golf club guests and members have real needs in real-time, and we must deliver them in the fastest and safest way.
Here are my 7 customer experience trend predictions for 2021:
- Customer trust will depend on our health & safety measures: provide them visible pieces of evidence! Customers want to feel clean and safe! E.g. Hilton’s CleanStay program.
- Smartphones will gain momentum. Think beyond touchless solutions. utilize digital assistant technologies (e.g. Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby, Siri) and A.I.-based chatbots. Get used to have a restaurant menu in your mobile app, pay with your mobile, check-in & out with your mobile, book golf lessons & tee time, etc. Smartphones will become another sales channel for golf clubs.
- Due to health constraints, customer journeys will change. We’ll need to rethink and redesign customer journeys + utilize service blueprinting too to tackle the new circumstances. You should use such questions in your survey as “What improvements would you like to see in the coming months?” with an open-text box for the customer to leave their thoughts.
- Employee experience development will be a must-have. To develop a deep trust in your golf club you must show how you will protect your guests, members, and employees. You must demonstrate that you are a socially conscious and engaged golf club/resort.
- B2B customer experience development – our business partners will expect the same level of personalization as our golf club members.
- Mental wellness as a new service. It is a $121 Billion Market. This is also due to the effect of the coronavirus crisis. Mental wellness includes: senses, spaces, and sleep + brain-boosting nutraceuticals & botanicals + self-improvement + meditation and mindfulness.
- Local experiences – the majority of golf tourists find local experiences important.