Call centers help golf courses make money while saving money
Almost every golf course should be using a call center. That may sound extreme but if you consider having a call center ready to help you with high call volume spikes and days when you're short staffed it begins to make a lot of sense. Great golf call centers like our G5 Call Center are designed to help golf courses sell more tee times and book more events, but it doesn't end with tee times. Our golf course call center does a great job of collecting data about each caller, especially the callers who book tee times.
Why are we able to be the best at collecting golfer data and helping our golf course clients with this information?
We custom-designed our software so that we're able to provide the information during the flow that agents need to properly represent the golf course, earn the trust of the caller, and collect their important information. We collect this information on behalf of the golf course and pass along the information through our secure and private golf API. We incorporate in our agent training what the average day is like for a head pro or an assistant golf pro that's working behind the desk.
From our call center agents:
"So we're always focusing on how crazy their day is and why we should do everything possible to help them. We're helping golf courses and golf pros by doing this job and it's important if our agents can put themselves in their shoes just for a little bit and bring that to the job. These guys are jack-of-all-trades in there and the more that we can relieve them you know that makes us happy being able to help our courses."
It's our software, training and culture that helps us be the best golf call center option.
We communicate with callers in a respectful, pleasant tone as millions of golfers have come to expect when speaking with a golf professional or general manager. Our agents have the benefit of not managing all the crazy things golf professionals deal with in their daily routine. When a golf car breaks down on the fifth fairway or the lightening whistle has sounded or the beverage cart has run out of cash, it creates stress for the person managing the pro shop and it's difficult to be pleasant when Mr. Jones has called to learn if his guests are at the course waiting for him. Our team is focused on the caller and helping them buy a tee time. With a friendly voice, we help them make a purchase, preventing them from calling another golf course.
The golf call center experience we provide sounds like this:
"Thank you for calling XYZ Golf Club. This is Frank. How may I assist you?" Frank then educates about advance or limited rates or whatever is of greatest importance related to your golf course and tee times. We have no purpose as a company unless we are doing this on every call. We capture email addresses. Even if a record exists for a golfer, we ask for or confirm the email address. We read back the reservation details. "I have you booked for July 10 for 4 golfers at 8:00am at XYZ Golf Club." Yes, we read the golf course name back. We confirm the advance rate. If the reservation is for an advance or limited rate, we reinforce it when we read back the reservation details. This is extremely important. In the event that a golfer claims they were told a different rate, we want the call recording to be very clear about when they receive an advance rate. "You are reserved at our 5 Day Out advance rate of $40 including cart." If there are better rates within 2 hours of the time, we make sure we let golfers know. "Let me tell you your options. We have the 7:52 at our 5 Day Advance Rate of $30 with cart or 9:30 at our regular rate of $43 with cart or an 11:07 at the 5 day advance rate of $30 with cart."
Golf courses using call centers attract great employees
Golf courses are using contact centers for a number of reasons. One of the most undervalued reasons is the improved work environment the golf course and more specifically the pro shop enjoys and offers it's employees. The stress the phone creates in the pro shop is palpable. We see it across social channels and hear it at the bar, day after day. After looking for five minutes, here's the proof of stress we found almost every golf shop worker endures thanks to answering phones.
All kidding aside, we know the phone can be challenging for lots of employees. We also know just about every single person associated with golf wants everyone to engage more often with the game. When you allow professional reservationists to work with customers and golfers, everyone wins.
A golf call center grows course revenue with no added call volume
Everyone knows one of the top reasons to hire a call center is to make sure every call is answered. No golf course owner wants calls to be missed because they know every call could represent a big sale. What some don't realize is the large number of calls answered that do not result in a tee time. Let's examine this call at TPC and then we'll provide our analysis after listening.
Is Luke a nice person? Is Luke someone you want working at your golf course? Could you envision Luke building a prosperous career in golf? We think the answer to all of these questions is YES. We're not sure Luke is right for golf shop phone calls and that's OK. We can't expect Luke to be great at everything and finding good people like Luke to work at golf courses is becoming harder and harder. This is another reason a call center for this golf course (and thousands of others) makes a lot of sense. We convert calls into sales. The majority of tee times are still booked by a customer making a phone call. When you hire GolfRez, we improve the strategy for managing those phone calls. Golf course owners and managers understand having their team ready to greet customers in the golf shop and the parking lot is how and where the magic happens. Using a call center frees up the team to do just that and to teach, manage events, sell merchandise, and engage with new golfers and help them feel welcome and appreciated.
We've had some fun with the videos and doodles and we've touched on some important points but maybe you're not sure about this call center concept. Here are six proven reasons why tee time call centers and an overall golf contact center strategy is the smart answer for reducing waste and growing revenue, while improving the service you provide your golfers.
1. Professionalism, presentation and profitability:
I have a confession to make - I was a Subway sandwich artist. That was my college job and I loved it. I loved it so much I became one of the more successful Subway franchisees in Ohio, in the mid-nineties. I can personally attest, everyone involved in the scenario where there's a customer on the phone, a customer waiting for service and an employee figuring out who is more important, HATES BEING THERE! It's an awful vibe in the golf shop and using a call center fixes it. Golf professionals know it happens multiple times per day - can you imagine how much better everything gets when it never happens?
Call centers offer customers a friendly, professional, and low-friction phone reservation experience that isn’t rushed. Our reservationists are there to help the golf course, to take golfer phone calls and give the best service possible. They are skilled at capturing the data that was discussed earlier and that leads to repeat customers and continued success throughout your club.
When your golfers begin to have great phone experiences with your business, they think of your business as one of their preferred 'everything'. They think of you for weddings, they think of you for events, they think of you for gift giving and they think of you when they tell their friends where they play golf. Think of your phone experiences like your front door. Do you keep your front door clean and free of clutter or is it dirty, busy and confusing? Regardless, you know what your front door should look like and now you know what your phone experiences should sound like.
2. Build the best local team in golf:
The last time you interviewed someone for your golf shop team, did you direct the conversation away from the phone responsibilities you put on your staff? When they asked how many times per day does the phone ring, did you cut the number in half and hoped they wouldn't run for the door? Can you imagine being able to say:
"I'm not sure about the last golf course you worked at but here, we use a professional call center to handle our inbound calls and some of our outbound confirmation and sales calls. So when you're deciding where to work, don't worry about phone stress here and dealing with lots of calls for free golf donations and only wanting 10:00 am tee times. We've got all of that taken care of."
You can have the best work environment in your local golf market and that leads to having the best local team in golf. The best local team in golf works at the best local business in golf. That's the business you want to own or manage.
3. We guarantee golfer data capture:
We know first-hand how difficult it is to capture data over the phone when speaking with a golfer. That's why it's so important that we built the software we use to answer your calls and complete tee time reservations. This is called eating our own dog food. We reward our reservationists on data capture and for them to want to continue to work with us, they have to believe the platform they are using is the best to help them record the golfer data. You have to be satisfied with the amount of data we capture or you won't continue to work with us - often, it's all about the data. This is why we make data capture part of our guarantee. It is core to who we are and we believe we're better at this than any option out there.
4. New incremental revenue:
Don't forget about lovable Luke. Luke is great but he's bad at selling tee times. We're not. We want to turn half of all calls we answer for you into a tee time reservation. Do you currently track what percent of your calls turn into reservations? We estimate about 25% of your current inbound calls result in a tee time reservation. We believe we can double that conversion rate. What does that mean for revenue? It means we will prevent calls from moving on to golf course two, three, and four in their call list and they'll book with us without making those calls. That's real incremental revenue. Beyond improved conversion, we make you more available than you currently are. We answer calls before and after your open and close times and we answer about 10-15 calls a day you would have likely missed during open hours. Do you own a golf course? How's it feel when you call the golf shop and no one answers? Many of those callers want to book a tee time and they keep calling through their list of golf courses until someone gets them booked.
5. Flexible operating strategies:
Freeing your staff from the counter - the counter with the phone and tee sheet allows you to do so much. You may be thinking we can do that already because we use the fancy cloud based tee sheet and phone plug in our ears. We're happy for you but that's not the point. The point is about being present with the golfer. You can't provide great service and a great experience when you're trying to multi-serve more than one person. In fact, you should not try to do that. It will lead to poor golfer experiences.
When you know we are there to answer your phones, you can truly improve the way you operate your golf course. You can increase service around collecting golf bags. You can wire yourself to a headset and conduct simple putting exhibitions with your commentary heard through speakers spread around your putting green. You can enhance NFL Sundays and announce golfers when they tee off and make them feel extra special on the days you work the hardest to win golfers. And what about training?
You can now have the time you really need to turn a new hire into an expert golfer services employee. When we ask golf professionals what they wish they could do more of the say teach and they don't just mean golfers. They want to be able to teach young and new workers how to provide superior hospitality service and today, they don't have the time. When you add a call center you can be flexible and make the time.
6. Outbound sales and service calls
In this article we've not spent enough time discussing outbound sales and service calls but they are important. You may or may not remember but in the 1980's and 1990's golf courses made lots of outbound calls during off-season months. Calls are made to increase outing sales and league sales. Calls are made to sell range passes and gift cards. We do all of this but we also make important golfer follow-up calls. We offer a service that includes calling 5% of players one to two days after they have played. We record the calls and we ask them about their experience at the golf course. We allow the call to last up to six minutes and we capture one or two items we're intentionally tracking but we find immense value in just letting them talk. People want to be heard and golfers are no different.
So there it is. Six reasons we know a call center can improve your business with a little fun along the way. If you enjoyed this article please send it to a friend. If you would like to receive blog posts like this by email, Sign-Up HERE.