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Please do not do this at the golf course!


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Recently we had a long-time customer start working part-time for us. Halfway through his first shift behind the counter, he realized he was the worst customer ever for the last 14 years. I just smil

Sounds like someone needs a different job.

The OP suggested NOTHING BUT polite answers to his customers. And he, working the counter, is talking about someone thinking they paid the greens fees but YOU know better since virtually 100% of all s

Dealing with the public or being behind the public in a check out line or check in line is always fun.

I'm glad I don't work retail anymore. I use to open at my first retail job a gas station.. We opened at 6 am. I would pull in the parking lot at 5:30 with my coffee and donuts and sit there reading the news paper until 5:55. The manager comes to me one day and says a customer complained that they pulled in at 5:45 the other day and that I wouldn't wait on them. I just laughed about it. The manager comes to me again and says well I've had another complaint about the same thing. I mention to him that you know it is still dark when we open and without the lights on why would anyone expect me to wait on them before we are open. He said they knew we were not open but thought that since they were regular customers that I would open for them. I had to start parking behind the building out of sight and pull around at 5:55 to open.

At my current job I work behind the scenes for a major retailer. I worked in the returns for a short time. A guy brings a grill back after ten years and wants his money back because it had rusted out. They gave him his money back. I'm glad I didn't have to wait on him.

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Common sense isn’t too common anymore

For those bashing the OP I’ll continue the format.

He was just getting it off his chest not looking for career advice I bet you saw a little too much of yourself in these complaints and got offended.

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My name is autotune Tony and you can cut the baloney...

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Nothing wrong with anything the OP said. I have been playing for 30 years and always know what day, course, and at least the basic time I am playing. At my worst I may have a moment when I thought my tee time is at 8:10 instead of 8:20. It is not exactly a skill and I am in no way patting myself on the back for merely knowing where and when I am supposed to be. Basic adult skills folks. I come across these idiots the OP posted about when I play in Las Vegas.

One of my huge pet peeves is when I am playing a really nice semi-private type of club in an affluent area. I go inside to check and you have a member at the front of the line that needs to be the center of attention and have his ass kissed to the point you think he is going to ask to be carried out to the first tee. The line just gets longer and longer and this idiot that plays there 3-4 times a week acts that way every single time. He comes off like he cannot even wipe his own ass without help so I always wonder how they managed to make a lot of money. I come across this several times when I have driven up to Lake Tahoe to play golf.

 

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I feel for the OP and understand his frustrations completely. There is just that oblivious, non-thinking element of humanity that makes customer service an infuriating job.

I like to make people's lives easy when they're serving me. I communicate in a way that leaves no questions as to what exactly I want.

There's the idiot who stands in line at Subway for 10 minutes and then upon arriving to the "next please" phase all he says is "I'd like a footlong", and the poor employee has to then ask him for all the rest of the important details in order to begin the sandwhich artistry (allegedly) process. "uh, what kind of bread do you have?" Aaaaaaahhhhhhh!! Unfortunately people like this also like to play golf it seems.

I've worked in sales for too long so my tolerance for this kind of s**t is about nil right now.

 

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I certainly believe any job dealing with the public is frustrating and sympathize with the OP. I am in residential construction and would always rather work on a spec house than a presale and have to deal with a homeowner. I built a screen porch 2 months ago on a new house under construction. I’m still waiting on the homeowner to decide the shade of stain they are going to put on the wood before I install the screen panels. I could go on and on. The funny thing in the OP was the part about not being a meteorologist. We have a guy that works at a course I play that really is a meteorologist and is quick to give info on the weather.

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Almost 30 years in sales and service. Now big box retail, and P/T in the proshop.

OP, you are spot on and I can sympathize. The late people take the cake for me, I tell them, “a 6:30 tee time means you’re on the 1st at 6:30, not standing in front of me in the proshop, I’ll do my best to get you out, but I can’t guarantee it”. They screwed up, but are always pissed at me. Quite frankly, I don’t care anymore

To the “expert” who tells us (even though he’s not in the business) that 99.99 of online tee sites collect the money...someone else here just said they don’t in his situation, and my experience is the same. “But I paid online”. No you didn’t

The people calling for tee times, there is a lot of range in “morning”. C’mon really, you know you have an idea what time you want to play. Just say that first. I don’t actually get too many who want to get a forcast from me.

But, as nuts as they drive me, I always try to remind myself that I’ve been the person on the other side of the counter often enough. They just want to play golf. So I’m always polite (degree of politeness may vary somewhat) and try to help as much as possible.

One last thought though on a customer. He and his group were about three hours in and on the 7th hole. They got booted and came into the shop to tell me how badly they were treated. When I tried to explain he proceeded to tell me he played high school golf and all the matches took eight hours. That was the norm for a round. Somebody tell me the general public isn’t stupid!


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OP, you are spot on with how the general public lack any common sense or general willingness to be prepared.

When I book a tee time for me and my group, I text everyone the confirmation and tell them what is owed. I also read the screen if I paid in full or partially or nothing (cc used to hold tee time).

Sorry to all the people who think they know better and telling the OP is do better/get another job. Maybe they should work in a pro shop first and see how their “better Customer Service Skill” works out for them. Because written/scripted scenarios works out all the time in the real world right? Just like how they can drive the ball 300+ yard all the time and hit all fairways and score 4 touchdowns in every game in High School Football and lead the team in Sacks at the same time but forget if they paid a tee time online or not.

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#1 seems like the biggest problem but also the most fixable. wasting $$ on fixable issues is actually an opportunity to improve.

if i were in your shoes i would track (e.g. on a piece of paper) how often this happens each day as well as an estimate of how much time was wasted. get management's attention with some cold, hard, fact$. maybe throw in a story or two about how this bad customer experience has held up lines during busy times and caused people to get impatient, and maybe how a bunch people have vowed not to come back because they think the course is so disorganized, etcetera...

since i don't know your system i can't suggest what's the root cause, but i suspect there's either no option to email tee time confirmations to playing partners during the booking process, or this feature/option is hidden or not prioritized very well. SMS confirmations with reminders sent out 30 minutes prior to tee time for each member of the party could be another option.

aside: your marketing team would probably love the opportunity to send marketing emails/SMS to more people so they should be totally on board with making this happen. maybe you could get the ball rolling by simply asking someone on your marketing team if they would like more customers to market stuff to. if they say no they should be fired on the spot! but i can guarantee you this probably won't happen. and when they find out it's a "kill two birds with one stone" opportunity they will likely be very keen to help.

lastly, since sometimes it can take a while to develop new technical features, it might be possible to change the body of the email confirmation you send out to the person who made the booking. for example, at the very top of the email, you could suggest forwarding the email to playing partners (as long as the booking was NOT for a single). obviously, this doesn't guarantee every playing partner will get a forwarded email, but it is a simple stop-gap fix that could improve the customer experience and make your job a little easier while your company works to fix the root cause of the issue.

good luck!

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You said #1 is the most fixable but offered no (real) solution.

In real life how are tee times reserved ? Either someone calls up or does it online, yes ?

Phone - "Do you have a 4-some available on Friday at 10 A.M. ?" Yes we do". "OK then, I'm Joe Schmoe and it'll be a group of 4". "Thank you sir. See you on Friday" About 30 seconds if no credit card is required, yes ? Maybe 1:30 or 2 if the CC is required. Now add the collection of names, phone numbers and emails. Yikes.

Online - for the Pro shop, possibly not too much but their system certainly has to "talk to" the booking engine's. There is certainly a cost involved there for the course. And then there's the issue of the Joe Schmoe making the booking. Do you think HE wants to spend that time on his computer or phone typing in the other guys' names, phone numbers and emails ? Assuming he even knows who's going to play with him ?

Either way, at time of booking, it takes time and effort to collect names, email addresses and/or phone numbers to do the notifying you suggest. And then all the info of everyone in the group needs to be on the course's computer.

In either case, who's going to want to take the time to do all that ? Net-net, I'm thinking the current way, although frustrating at times, is the most timesaving. At least until such information can be transmitted much more efficiently than at present.

But I can still see it being annoying.

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The best people I’ve seen that deal with the public have a lot of patience, and just have a conversation with the customer. Usually if the employee just knows the right things to say, they can work things out. There will always be a few customers that just won’t be satisfied, and you just thank them, and tell to have a nice day. We have had guys show up, and say they have times, but they are not on the sheet. They say they made the time on line, but our course. doesn’t make times on line. They made times at a course in California with the same name as our course in North Carolina. Every time, the pro has worked these guys in.

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who's going to want to take the time to enter their playing partner's info online at the time of the booking? the people who don't want to act as a reminder service for each of their playing partners.

i don't know about you, but when i'm planning a group outing i always make sure each person who is going to be there has their own copy of any relevant confirmation, whether it's for accommodations or tee times, etcetera. it's just too much of a pain to have people bugging me at the last minute or ending up at the wrong place or time because they didn't write something down when i called them. the point is i am going to have to send this info to every playing partner anyway. if i have their info handy at the time of booking i would just enter it then. if not (or if the option doesn't exist) they are going to get a forwarded copy.

yes, i didn't mention phone bookings, and i wouldn't recommend taking everyone's info over the phone and entering it into a system. for that i would get either the email or mobile number for the person making the booking and rely on using more persuasive language in the email or SMS confirmation so more people forward the info to each relevant party. and i would make the friendly suggestion (over the phone) that whoever makes the booking should send a copy of the confirmation to their partners because the property is expansive and people regularly show up for tee times at the wrong property. as i mentioned earlier, the confirmation email (or SMS) should very plainly suggest forwarding/sending the booking confirmation to each playing partner. the current email/SMS confirmation may already suggest this, but since OP says "every day countless people" don't have their booking info i can guarantee you there is absolutely room for improvement with the language in the email/SMS.

and yes, of course there's a cost to making changes like this. that's why i suggested OP track how frequently it happens, how much time it wastes, etcetera. this helps quantify the actual problem to determine which business solutions are cost effective. management may find that updating the email/SMS template fixes the problem or lessens it to an acceptable degree. or maybe the friendly over-the-phone suggestion settles it. or perhaps they will need to work with the techs from the booking engine to improve their product or find an entirely different booking engine. or maybe the marketing department assigns a monetary value to each email/mobile number in their system and would be willing to allocate up to a certain amount of budget to a new project if it meant increasing their marketing qualified leads by X% while improving the overall customer experience.

anyway, there are too many unknowns to be certain what's going to fix this. i'm just sharing some things i've learned from my years of professional experience in technical marketing in the off-chance there's a better solution out there for OP.

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Firstly, nobody was talking about booking an outing. But good job anyway.

But you say (in answer to "who's going to give all that info") "the people who don't want to be a reminder service". Yet one of your suggestions is it to put "please make sure you inform the others" in the email ? And "more persuasive language" ? LMAO

I would suggest the average guy gets the email, and (maybe) checks the date/time and # of players, and that's it. If these forums don't teach us that people just don't (care to) read, I don't know what does. At least with SMS you stand half a chance.

Add to that the fact that more and more people don't want their personal info "out there". I give my phone number and email to my friends. I don't want them to just give it out as they please - and I would hope they know that.

IMO the ONLY language that would work is to have someone's credit card and notify them that if you don't cancel at least XX hours in advance and we can't fill the tee time with "walkups" you MAY be charged a greens fee for every "no show". Now, in the climate as it is today, few, if any, golf course would alienate customers like that - but in normal times ? Sure, why not ? That'll make 'em show.

You didn't mention phone bookings ? But the scenario you're trying to fix is at the counter. How can you not include phone bookings ?

 

Anyway, "sticky wicket". Not sure there's any great answer right now,,,,,,,,,,,,

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Having done this for far too many years (this season might be my last), most people just don't realize how tough it is to even get the basic information out of people.

Your tee-time or group name? Blank stare. Your name (repeat it several times while they keep telling you who the time is booked under. Yeah, I've already got that)? Walking or riding? Do you require anything else? Balls, tees, etc...? Cash, Card? And 5 seconds after they have answered all those questions and you have initiated the transaction they change their mind and you cancel and add or delete items. Praying that there aren't any further changes.

You are unfazed by all of this, but the guy behind him is losing his mind and wants to put a wedge through this guys skull (even though he does the exact same thing the guy ahead just did when it's his turn). And these are the people who golf regularly and should know the procedure.

Then just when you've had it and you are ready to go over the top rope and pile drive someone, you get the guy who knows what time they have, who they are, walking or riding, they've got whatever else they need (balls, glove) and they have their card ready. Takes about 15 seconds to complete and you momentarily climb off the ledge and smile. NEXT!

 

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One of my unpopular opinions. There should be no advance bookings. Show up, sign in, get in line. Your wait time is called warm up.

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you're starting to take things too far off topic. you also seem to have a negative tone when all i've tried to do is present some possible solutions for OP. find someone else to argue with about conjecture and hypotheticals because you are a waste of time.

if OP or someone at his workplace is interested in my professional feedback about how to reduce the number of "countless people" who show up to the counter without the correct booking information, feel free to PM me. or use any of the generic suggestions i've made and build upon those.

good day.

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That was the 70’s and early 80’s. Bookings were a rarity. You got to the golf course and waited. There was so much demand and so few public courses, it wasn’t uncommon to have a 2 hour plus wait for your round if you didn’t have a tee time. People were golf crazy back then. You could push 400 golfers a day thru a course and almost everyone walked. If that happened today, you could fill a Super Max in a week.

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I'm starting to take things off topic ???

I am sticking to the OP's issue(s). You are the one who brought up an outing, something that was never mentioned by the OP. So you could pat yourself on the back ?

That aside we were having a discussion of what can and can't be done. Guess you're like an awful lot of posters - when challenged, instead of backing up your claims and politely going back and forth, you choose to suggest someone's "attacking" you, and take your toys and go home.

Not that there's anything wrong with that,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Want more posters to read and reply ? "[EMBRACE] THE LINE BREAK"

 

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