All the conditions were right for a great trip and some great golf. I had been practicing exclusively on my home course, which was not hard in terms of layout. The greens at my course were very flat and there were no blind shots! I had boosted my confidence and was ready for the challenges of the California West Coast course. How hard could they be? I had my swing, I had my putting stroke, and I had my confidence.
It took less than 9 holes and my confidence was shot! These courses had greens I had never seen before and the fairways were so narrow that you had to walk down them sideways to get down them. The next five days were a very humbling experience. Now, I had some good shots and had some great holes. But, by the end of the trip I knew I had to go back to the basics. To bring my game to a different level, I was going to need a strong base that would hold up over the rough times and give me confidence I would be able to recover.
The business landscape has changed drastically in the last 10 years. Like the new courses on the California West Coast, we are not exactly sure where the pins are or how the greens are shaped. Sometimes, like in golf, we must have a solid foundation on which to build to get us through the changes that we will face.
When I finished my trip to the West Coast, the first thing I thought about was how can I get back to the basics of golf. I knew I had to start with the grip and proceed from there.
In business, sometimes we need to go back to the basics with our associates and build from there. Customer service training, which seems so basic to the folk who have been in the service forever, is the foundation on which we build with our associates. Without it we have a shaky foundation which will crumble the minute we hit a rough spot we are unfamiliar with.
So, what can we do to make sure we have that foundation?
- Start with basic hospitality/customer service training. Things that seem simple can be rather challenging to associates who have not been shown basic steps.
- Study customer comments and act! Customer comments can be the key understanding your strengths and weakness.
- Prepare your associates to receive customer feedback. This also sounds simple, but many times we have associates who look to point to blame instead of looking for a solution. All customer feedback can be used to make your business better
- Have a plan of ongoing training for your associates. Customer Service Excellence is not a destination but a journey. The “greens” will not always be flat in your business. You must look at ways to prepare your associates for the changes that are sure to come.
In my quest to make my golf game better, I went back to look at all aspects of my game. With the help of a golf professional, we found out it was a simple fix with my grip. The shots that once were all over the course are straight again! Do you have a grip on your business and the challenges that lay ahead?