How to develop a player-centric approach to club management


The closed loop process, as the name suggests, is not a one-time thing, and you are not going to solve all your issues with a single round of surveys. CxM is a continuous process that requires you to regularly monitor feedback and data results and to reassess your actions.

You will need to set up a player-centric structure in your club that facilitates and drives strategic improvements on a daily basis. This requires commitment from every single employee and it is imperative that upper management makes CxM a priority and leads by example - all the people involved need to be on the same page and be dedicated to providing the best possible experience for players each and every day.

Setting up the survey frequency

In the short term, you can use short and quick comment cards with NPS surveys for your guests that notify a dedicated support team. This enables you to react promptly to issues and thus stop the bleeding before it turns lethal. Players 1st subscribers can configure a variety of notifications to let relevant personnel know in real time whenever they receive feedback, which allows fast response via smartphones and other mobile devices.

Otherwise, the survey frequency should be based on the flow of customers. If you are running a public course with many guests, you will need to survey and monitor every interaction. Guests are often a great indication of your performance because they will typically be experiencing you club for the first time and you can quickly find out how small tweaks in your services and facilities impact the player experience.

Members, on the other hand, should be surveyed with less frequency - perhaps once a year. You could divide your members into two or three pools and survey each group at different times each year, so as to keep a steady flow of member feedback. While member feedback is extremely valuable and sometimes more insightful than what you receive from guests, bothering them with surveys every time they step through the door will be detrimental for obvious reasons - and you can still keep an eye out and stay in touch with your members without daily surveys.

Developing a player-centric club culture

For CxM to be effective it is crucial that you develop a player-centric club culture. Inadequate commitment to player satisfaction, from managers and staff alike, means all your efforts will significantly decrease in value and impact - your data will basically be just another KPI. A club-wide culture of player focus will provide the foundation that supports the actions you choose to take and will ensure swift reactions to unexpected issues. Sadly, too many clubs ignore or completely miss the point of this important aspect of CxM.

Management needs to make CxM a priority and encourage a player-centric focus: Staff should feel like player satisfaction is a vital and inherent part of their job description, and they should be empowered to take immediate action on their own to improve a player’s experience.

Your entire organization should have access and be able to monitor customer experience data; responsibility starts with higher management but should involve every single employee. Everyone needs to be on the same page, share the same goals and the same perception of reality in order for your efforts to bare fruit. Make CxM an ingrained mechanism in your club - the more employees that are regularly involved, the more effective and profitable the process will be.

Frontline staff affects player satisfaction to a high degree. They can make players feel welcome or quite the opposite, so communicate clearly to staff that the player experience is important to your club; convey your service expectations and your core values; educate your staff to be skilled and enthusiastic about delivering a great player experience or hire new people with the right attitude.

Ultimately, it is important for everyone to step up and set good examples for each other to emulate, especially people in leadership roles. It sends a very negative message if management doesn’t follow through on declarations of dedication to player satisfaction.

Once everyone is dedicated to your player-centric values, empower your staff to take action and encourage them to take ownership of their job – do not encumber them with rules and oversight that gets in the way. Empower everyone to be a customer service leader - cultivate happy, empowered, committed staff that will:

• Take responsibility and develop their own creative ways to serve the players

• Delight players in their own personal voice

• Do whatever it takes to make the players happy

• Meet and exceed service standards

While staff should always be encouraged and empowered to take action on their own, collaboration is pivotal to the success and effectiveness of the actions you and your team choose to take. Develop easy lines of communication that enable staff and management to cooperate and to ensure that nobody is facing a difficult problem alone.

Admittedly, achieving an established player-driven culture made up of staff and management that operate and cooperate seamlessly will take time, hard work and true dedication. Remember to always defend your player-centric focus - if someone is out of line or not acting according to your standards seize this opportunity to teach and help the employee grow to be more successful in the future. A club culture that treats players with dignity and respect is only attainable if the same is true between literally everyone who works at your club.

Finally, remember to celebrate your successes and appreciate your hard-working staff. For instance, it is always very effective to give staff a bonus if they deliver great KPIs. However, there are many ways to show your appreciation: A pat on the back, recognition at the weekly meeting, a mention in the newsletter or perhaps even a nomination at the annual awards dinner. Recognize and reward your staff regularly for good customer service - it may be just the motivation they need to take it to the next level.

Morten Bisgaard