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.
Power of Communication
By Scott Mitchell
Remember the days when we simply made a quick phone call to share information? Do you remember when that was our only option of communication when not in person? Maybe I am showing my age, but I certainly remember those days. It was the quickest way, the clearest way to share information. It took a little extra work to coordinate the time you would call to be sure that the person on the other end received it. Good thing we also had the large, physical answering machine just in case they were not home.
A few years ago, a gentleman by the name of Tom Peters did a study that found out that there are two glaring reasons that customers or members leave a facility. The two biggest reasons are because of too little contact by staff/lack of communication, and the quality of staff was poor. This still holds true these days and is something that is absolutely devastating to some facilities around the U.S. I have done quite a few club surveys over my career as well as in the past year, and these two are still at the very top of any facility survey. Now with some facilities, these two concerns are one and the same. There needs to be a better process in place of on-boarding employees, training them, and making sure the types of communication, when and how often there is communication, all need to be part of the training for many staffs around the country.
We know that the perception by customers with the lack of communication is sometimes because we are using the wrong type of communication. We do know, without question that many facilities struggle with the lack of communication from their pros or staff. I spend quite a bit of my time when working with clubs or professionals on communication aspects and processes that need to be put in place. We know that the very best type of communication is when you get an opportunity to be face-to-face with a customer. Nothing can replace an opportunity to sit with a customer and have a deep conversation in person. In this article, we will discuss additional opportunities other than personal, face-to-face interactions. Ones that we seem to use on a daily basis. We will briefly look at and how well they work, and the power they have when communicating to your customers.
Email is a form of communication that we have used for many years and is probably the one that your staff uses the most. It was the next step in communication once we moved away from phone calls. Unfortunately, customers get countless emails each day. If they aren’t expecting it there is a very good chance that the email will get overlooked altogether. Statistics show that less than 11% of our customers are opening emails. As I said, this is the communication avenue that most staff and email newsletters are using, but is this time and resources well spent? I don’t believe so and statistics are saying so as well.
Social Media is a type of communication that we see, and use each day on our phones and computers. We are swamped with notifications, ads, and posts throughout each day. We are viewing so many that only 15-20% of your customers are interacting with your posts. It’s still not a horrible percentage, especially if the post is engaging and encourages those reading to interact. Another way to get engagement is to tag friends, or customers so that they know to engage with the post. The next question, but not for this article, is which social media platform is best to use? This depends upon the demographic and the purpose of the post, but again, we won’t cover that in this article.
Phone call is a type of communication and is typically a big part of what management and staff should do on a daily basis. We know it’s not happening enough as facilities, staff and pros tend to rely too much on emails. We also know that in many cases there are phone calls being made but no real process behind them and in that case, many calls go unanswered. Statistics show that if we are making calls from a number that our customers do not recognize, only 22% will pick up the call. We know that if you spend the time to widely publish your number, be sure that all your customers know that number and that staff are all using the same number, it will make a huge impact. Statistics show that 78% of your customers will answer that same call if they recognize the number. One of the important elements that a manager will need to address is time management around the process of phone calls. Statistics show that this is one of two of the most powerful forms of communication.
Text Messaging is another avenue that has really been successful when it comes to engaging and communicating with your customers. It can be quick, and direct to the customer and sees 78% respond to an engaging text. The key is to keep it simple but engaging when sending a text. This is a form of communication that is gaining in popularity and is something that can be extremely successful. It needs to be personal, engaging, and have a purpose for when and why it is used. Most facilities struggle with this aspect as they have random texts with no purpose and they aren’t seeing the results.
As you can see there are quite a few avenues to communicate with your customers. All of these can and should be used but there needs to be a clear plan in place so that you are getting results. The one thing I would suggest to all facilities is to rethink your email communication plans. I would imagine it’s not nearly as successful as you originally thought. For tennis professionals, texting is great as well and should be used often to touch base with your customers. Using technology certainly allows us to communicate from anywhere to anyone, which is something that keeps us connected. Using the correct type of communication will give you amazing power to connect, build relationships, and see you and your facility thrive like never before!