When you are in a customer service industry you tend to notice things more and see examples everywhere.

Most weekends I go out to play golf with a few friends, we tend to start early so we still have the rest of the day free afterwards.  We like to try different golf courses for a bit of variety.  Last weekend, I arrive at the golf course and head to the club shop and while waiting to get my scorecard, a friend of mine walks in.  He is in the insurance business and is a prime example of great customer service in the way he conducts his business and himself.   We exchange pleasantries and he explained he had organised a game and invited three other people to play.

The issue:

When he tried to get his scorecard the woman behind the counter informed him he hadn’t booked!  He calmly explained that he had booked online two days previously and she then asked him for proof, to which he just looked at her, confused.  I was watching all this and wondering how far she was going to take the accusations and embarrass him in front of his friends and the busy club shop that was filling up with other golfers arriving to play.

3D white man golferHe again explained that he had booked it and got confirmation when the owner then asked if he had booked the right course and spun the screen round to show his booking was not showing up.  At this point I was about to jump in as I had seen enough when he very calmly looked at her and asked ‘Ok there is an issue, what do we need to do move forward?’ 

What a show stopping question!  It was a shame that it had to be the customer that asked the question but the point was it had been asked and now the owner had make a decision.  She issued him a new booking tee off  time (which ironically was 5 minutes earlier than the time he had actually booked!  So the slot was there all along and all she had to do was give it to him in the first place…) but not before informing him quite bluntly that he was going to have to pay again!

Now I stood there and I watched all  of this take place and thought to myself how hard that was and how much effort she had just put into making a point?  All she had to do was accept there was a mistake, give him a new time, apologise for any error in the booking system and get him going then sort out the issue afterwards. 


The lesson is be part of the solution NOT the problem – fix the customer first then sort out the how and who and issues afterwards.  Can you now imagine if this situation had been handled properly it would like this:

Customer: “Hi I have a booking for 7.50am for four of us.”

Staff member: “Oh I apologise but for some reason that booking doesn’t appear to have come through, I have a spare time slot at 7.45am you can have though. If you don’t mind paying again I will look into the issue while you play and if I find it then I will put the refund through.”

Business outcomes:

As a result of me watching this interaction I was thinking of joining the club but now I have decided not to because of the hassle caused if and when something goes wrong.  The person I was playing with has also made the same decision, so that’s two new customers they aren’t getting for a simple mistake that could have been easily fixed.

To top it off, they are currently running a half price membership special to attract new golfers, if they were good at customer service, they never would have needed to drop the price in the first place and as the course is so picturesque, it would have been flooded with members by now.

Don’t fall into the same trap, you never know who is talking about your business and what they are saying!  If they are talking, make sure they are raving about your fabulous service!

Needless to say, I am back at my old club and loving every minute of it!