Some days on the course are better than others—but all days end well for members and guests who are delighted with the services provided by a club or resort leader and his or her staff.
Business 101 tells you nothing trumps great service when it comes to creating a lasting, positive first impression. My guess is that people are inclined to share the story of a great customer experience more than a really bad one—so let me share one of mine.
I traveled Up North in Michigan last month with a group of golf buddies. This is an annual excursion, and previous years have found us at diverse locations including Bandon Dunes in Oregon, Beaver Creek in Vail, Colo., and Red Sky Ranch in Wolcott, Colo. Great golf is a given when we settle on where to go, but this group also pays a lot of attention to the accommodations and the 19th-hole experiences throughout the trip.
“Base Camp” for us this year was True North Golf Club in Harbor Springs, Mich. The club is rated one of the “Top 25 Golf Destinations in America” by Golf Digest 2012. Our high expectations were easily met.
If you were to survey the group on our take-away from the trip, the top-of-mind answer wouldn’t be about the pristine, Jim Engh-designed course, or the comfortable first-rate cabins—it would be about the quality and consistency of the customer service!
From the Director of Golf who accommodated our every request (and helped clean the clubs after each round)…to the Executive Chef who took the time for a personal visit after dinner on Saturday night (and received a standing ovation from our group)…to the pleasant beverage cart concierge who made it a point to see us often (and always showed up the next time with a requested item she didn’t have available before)…to the groundskeeper who stopped to ask us how we were enjoying our round, and what we thought of the course conditions…to our hostess and server who essentially said our wish was their command…the service was fabulous from the start—and then got better.
The “wow factor” was very much a function of the non-golf experience. It’s safe to say True North created a dozen goodwill ambassadors for the club, and it cost them nothing other than a commitment to superior customer service throughout the facility.
Service excellence like this doesn’t just happen. It starts with leadership at the top and is affirmed by clearly defined expectations and by example. At True North, the top is Kevin O’Brien, General Manager/COO and PGA Professional. Kevin took the time to meet and get to know everyone in our group and to make us feel at home—and he did so in partnership with all of his associates at the club. That’s leadership in anyone’s book.
Perhaps the best part of all was that none of this seemed contrived. It’s just the way things are done at True North.
Finally, while True North was base camp, I am compelled to mention that our group also enjoyed a wonderful day of golf, food and drink at Birchwood Farms Golf & Country Club, ably managed and led by another first-rate CMAA professional, John Foster.
Some days on the course are better than others, but all days end well for members and guests who are delighted with the services provided by a club or resort leader, and his or her staff.
Speaking of leadership, the presidential election season gets serious now that Labor Day is behind us. This will be as defining an election as I can remember, so get out there and cast your ballot. As for whom, it’s really a pretty simple choice, once you set aside all of the campaign rhetoric. If you like the current state of affairs and the direction in which the country is headed, you have your man. If, however, you are concerned about where we are now and where our current leader is taking us, you have mine.