How Important is The Front Line Person?

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Recently, my wife and I discovered an interesting new business.

Tee Times Indoor Golf, allowed you to virtually practice or even play a number of golf courses across the globe using a simulator. You get to hit your ball and a computer measures the speed/direction of the club face to estimate where the ball would travel and places the ball into a high definition screen of the golf course of your choice.

We discovered this business online and they had a big special advertising “Our rates are per simulator and not per person”. They also advertised “$25 per hour to practice only (runs by the minute)”

So we thought we would try it out. We checked in and indicated we wanted to practice.

They set us up together in a simulator and we started to practice, each taking turns.

After about 15 minutes, I noticed that the computer was giving us feedback on our shots, but because we hadn’t been given any instruction on this feature, I went to ask the single person working at the location. She was unable to provide any assistance.

I further asked if she would let us know when our 1 hour session was up, and confirmed the price. Whereupon she indicated that the price was based on each person and therefore double what we expected since we were sharing the time on the simulator.

I drew her attention to the information on the website, but she suggested maybe I had mis-read the ad.

I pointed out that we could each use a simulator for the price she was quoting. She agreed and offered her to set us up in 2 different simulators.

As you can imagine, this did nothing to make me feel better since my wife and I wanted to practice together. After all, they even served drinks and nibblies at the facility and being separated into different simulators didn’t exactly fit with our idea of spending time together.

So I suggested that she check the website since I was pretty sure I hadn’t mis-read the info. Her response was she didn’t have access and the price was what the price was.

Needless to say we cut our visit short and won’t be returning.

My Perspective: This is pretty much a case study on what not to do in this type of situation and how critical the front line is in building your business.

Is the Customer always right? Absolutely not. But regardless of whether you think they are there is no reason to suggest that they are at fault. There is always a better way to resolve this situation rather than backing both parties into a corner they have to defend.

In this case, as you can see from the screen capture — I hadn’t mis-read the ad. Is it possible I may have misunderstood something? Possibly, but even now after checking the website again I don’t think so — but it’s always possible

But the reality is I left a very unhappy customer because the employee had bad information and because they had no idea how to deal with an unhappy customer.

Of interest, when we first arrived I was quite impressed and thought it might be an interesting place to hold a client or team event. Golf, food and drinks in a relaxed setting where conversation could flow. However, no way would I bring anyone to this facility after this experience

Lastly, I called the facility the next day (Sunday) and left a message for the owner. I was told he usually came in on Tuesday’s and he would likely call me back then. I didn’t say why I was calling — I just asked that he call.

No return call. Ever.

Who knows, maybe I wanted to rent the facility for a large corporate event — but he will never know.

Probably a good indication of how engaged this owner is in the business and how much mentoring there is for their front line.

I predict this business won’t last long if the management style doesn’t change — in spite of a strong concept and a heavy investment in the facility. The stuff that is easy and inexpensive to fix is broken — and the heavy investment is going to waste.

Not a good ROI in anyone’s book

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