Scott has been an Executive Director of Tennis with 30 years’ experience at private clubs, public facilities, and resorts.
Scott is considered an industry leader in first-class facility management, junior and adult coaching, and program design and implementation.
As CEO, Premier Tennis Consulting providing innovative and profitable solutions for clubs/facilities and professional tournaments. He has been involved in some of the largest and most prestigious facilities in the U.S. and many of the worlds’ leading professional tennis tournaments.
He is married to Ashley a former Florida State University player and ACC doubles champion and they have 3 children, Brady-11 and girl/boy twins, Brooklyn and Cason, 8 years.
Very little of what we do is between the lines
By Scott Mitchell
I am a big fan of Disney, always have been but probably not for the reasons you might think. Yes, as a kid I loved Mickey, loved the rides, and could not wait for the next Disney movie to come out. After much of my career in the private club world, I realized a whole new element of why I and millions of others enjoy private clubs or love Disney. It is almost a “hidden” element that many do not even realize is happening, but Disney spends hours, years, and countless dollars perfecting.
As tennis professionals we provide great coaching and instruction, we help get our league teams ready for their next league match and work to give countless customers a much better backhand. Some professionals are better at this than others, which is why people flock to particular pros for programs and lessons. At the end of the day, if all of these above were true then why do many clubs, programs, and professionals struggle to find hours and lessons? Why is membership dropping at facilities and why are people spending their time and money elsewhere? Remember, customers can spend their time and money anywhere, why would they spend it with you? The same reason that if Disney were not Disney, and do Disney things, they would be struggling too. As a tennis professional or facility, you will spend less than 10% of what makes you successful between the lines of a tennis court.
Think of Disney parks as your tennis facility. There are quite a few people coming and entering the park or your facility. What will make them have a great time and even plan to come back? The rides are great, food is good but all the above is pretty expensive just on its own. People could spend that money just about anywhere they wanted. So why do they continue to spend it with Disney or with successful facilities? It all comes down to the overall EXPERIENCE they have at these establishments. At Disney, customers typically have such a great experience that they do not walk around thinking about how much money they are spending to have this amazing experience. That thought takes a back seat to the experience as they thoroughly enjoy their time walking around Mickey’s playground.
As a facility or a tennis professional, customer experience is where we need to spend 90% of our time focused on to be successful. Most of the private clubs, facilities, or the hospitality world call this area customer service. Most believe customer service is the communication or interactions that customers have with staff. Customer Experience includes the communication but takes it several steps further. We should be thinking about the entire experience and things that influence that experience when interacting and visiting your location. That means everything including, but not limited to, lights all working or are some burned out, what does the parking lot look like, trash inside or outside, paint chipping, locker rooms, and more. Customer experiences impact your members before, during, and after each visit or interaction. It all is part of the overall product that a facility or tennis professional offers. Not just the product on the court or between the lines, but the entire product. Why do so many not let the pricing of Disney parks influence their decision to travel, book a hotel room, eat in their dining rooms, and stay for days on end? If you have a great product and there is a perceived value to what you are offering, people will overwhelmingly choose the experience over the price. On many occasions, the cost of doing business becomes secondary to the experience. This is what Disney does so well. Customer experience in every area of your facility is something that every facility or tennis professional should spend valuable time getting right. It will without a doubt, influence participation, revenue, and membership growth/retention. Either positively or negatively?
The mindset of great facilities or tennis professionals is to make Raving Fans of their customers. I know as a young tennis professional I thought I would be successful if I taught a great lesson and my players improved. That only takes you so far. What you want as a tennis professional or facility is loyal, raving fans. You may ask yourself, why is this article more about the service industry and not about teaching and coaching tennis? I believe many clubs and tennis professionals fail because they do not realize that the tennis industry IS the service and hospitality industry. Amazing customer experiences and making loyal, raving customers of your “Brand” is what you, what all of us, are thriving for.
For years there was a restaurant chain that was routinely in the top 3 in the U.S. when voted on for customer service. It was not anything special from a food standpoint, I would rate it average. Where they received the highest marks were certain touchpoints. They were the first restaurant chain that designated staff to open doors for their customers. Now many restaurants do this small gesture at interaction points. This same restaurant did not just take your order, the server squatted down next to the table or on many occasions slid into the booth with you to take your order. Now that was cool! And it was an element of the experience you received nowhere else but at this location. These days, and for many years before, we have a well-known fast-food chain leading the industry as they make you feel special and once you have thanked them, without fail, staff will chime off “my pleasure” with a smile. Can we offer similar experiences at our facilities? It will force us to think more about the items that are outside the lines of a tennis court. The truly successful facilities and tennis professionals already do this very well.