Golf Anyone?

Today’s  post comes courtesy of Brian Johnson, COO of Strategic Profits, golf enthusiast and single-digit handicapper.

So when is it ok to piss-off your customers?

I can hear all of you now; “What do you mean? the customer is King!” or “The customer is always right”. Well, I have an answer for that in a moment.golfer

As I am writing this, I am sitting in the Phoenix airport just a day after playing golf at the TPC (Tournament Players Club) in Scottsdale Arizona. And, I am reflecting on a run-in I had with staff there while I was playing…

Before I start, understand that this is a course that any great golfer would love to play. They sometimes charge over $350.00 per round to play and it is part of the club that the PGA professional golfers own. In fact, this is one of the PGA tour stops (Tiger Woods had a hole-in-one here a few years ago).

So, picture this; for weeks now I have been all excited to fly out here to play this course. I have been talking to everyone about going. I get here, check into the hotel, pay hundreds of dollars for my cart and greens fee, buy my TPC hat and all proud to wear it, buy brand new fresh balls new glove, get some drinks, head to the driving range, meet my friends that I am playing with, and get all jacked up to tee off in 15 minutes. AAAHHHHHHH

“We now invite Mr. Brian Johnson and guests to the first tee”… comes over the loud speakers while we are getting warmed up on the driving range.   All excited I say “let’s go guys, time to have some fun” We jump on the carts and speed up to the first tee where the starter is awaiting for us. He greets us and gives us some background on the day and welcomes us to the first tee. Things are great. The weather is beautiful. I am hanging with good friends, and we shake hands and say have a good time guys. The day begins.

Jon Walker tees off and puts it in the middle, Aaron from InfusionSoft hits a great one in the faraway and I put one on the left side. And we are off…

We get no further than the third tee where we were met by a ranger waiting for us. In a militant voice he says; “OK guys, you need to move it along, there are two holes in front of you and you have to rush through and catch up.”

WOW. What the heck just happened?

I was no longer excited, and the guests I was with were just as mystified as I was. The day was going well so I simply responded with an friendly; “OK, no problem” and we do our best to keep things going.

As a side note, we are all avid golfers and no slouches. We were only a 3-some and playing at a pretty quick speed. If you know golf, you know that you want to be courteous to people behind you and not hold them up. However there was not anyone behind us, we were not holding anyone up AND there was space in-between the group in front of us when we started to play in the first place.

It was just their “rule” that you should play at the speed that they (the non customer) feels you should play. It’s a lot like going to a fine restaurant and placing your order. Then they bring your appetizers and then immediately 5 minutes later bring you the main course. Then 5 minutes later come to you and say “Listen you can’t be here all night and we need the table for someone else, you should be able to eat in 15 minutes” How irate would you be?

Fast forward to two holes later. We now have gone through each hole putting without even taking the flag stick out of the hole, did not get a drink when the snack cart came around so we could try to catch up (which during summer in Arizona is not the best idea), ran back and forth to the cart and made up some time while we DID NOT enjoy the golf.

So we get to the tee at the 6th hole and the same ranger is there and says “let’s go guys, you need to hustle” at which point I was at a boiling point and said to him “Listen, we are not holding anyone up, no one has complained about us and there was already space between us when we started” His response was; “If you don’t like it you will be missing golf and I will move you into position where I think you should be”.

My response (in a manner that is unlike my collected self) was “@%#! THIS!” I just spent hundreds of dollars to play here, traveled across the country and have been looking forward to this for a while. Needless to say, I did not enjoy any more of the day and my opinion of the place went in the tank. I can’t even remember most of the golf I played. I felt violated, ripped off, scorned, and totally deflated. The guests I was with were even more upset than I was.

This Ranger does not know me at all, my golf experience or golf etiquette and still he is dismissing me? That’s crazy and customers should never be treated like that.

Right?

Ok, on the flip side I put my business founder hat on. I am thinking that they do this with the intention of taking care of all customers and not just one. Should they piss off one client in the spirit of keeping the other clients happy? Keep in mind we were NOT a hindrance to anyone and the Ranger was “Just following the rules put in place for all customers.” You have to have some rules or policies in place to handle situations where some clients will hurt others.

Right?

I can say that even here at Strategic Profits I am very protective of our company and anyone trying to take advantage (in my view) will have a hard time with me. Notice I said “in my view?” The client might not feel that way. But if I break the rules for one client it might snowball into many clients and now I have hurt the company as a whole, which in turn hurts all clients.

Right?

So the big question is; if the customer is always right… are they always right for YOUR company? This is a question that Spike Humer at Jay Abraham’s office brought up to me when I was telling him this story, and one that I want you to think about today.

It’s truly an interesting dilemma that company owners and founders need to deal with on a consistent basis. What you do, how you handle or not handle or how effective you resolve issues like this can make or break the company you founded.

I am interested in hearing what you would do if you were the owner, manager or founder of this golf club. Please post a comment and let me know. I will tell you what we would have done after we hear from you. Also, I look forward to us helping you with more of these types of issues so that you can avoid costly pitfalls in your company’s future success.

Post a comment, and let us know how YOU feel about this.

To Higher Profits,

Brian Johnson

68 thoughts on “Golf Anyone?”

  1. Sorry to hear about your golf round. That’s extremely frustrating.

    Over the last several years a lot of businesses have been able to treat their customers poorly and get away with it. Not anymore.

    I believe we are in an renaissance of good business practices. Great customer service, good follow-up marketing to leads and creating terrific products. Good enough isn’t good enough any more.

    As the President of the Information Marketing Association every month we publish newsletters and conduct monthly calls to help info-marketers get more customers and keep them longer. It’s never been harder for business people who are sloppy and it’s never been easier for business owners who run their companies like a real business.

    Reply
    • I would think Customer service is important. Everyone should be treated equally. I hope the ranger was equally as rude to everyone else. If there was a backup, I could see trying to hurry up costomers. But when there is no rush, and you are trying to hurry everyone up, I would think it is wrong. In fact I have yelled and made big scenes in some situations to get my way and have done so. Now is the customer always right or right for you buisness? Not always, but even so, you should be able to tell a costomer no and still make him feel good about it. Isn’t that what a good marketer should also be able to do?

      Reply
  2. Great story Brian.

    It sounds to me like an example of one size fits all. The guy in the story had a rule there shouldn’t be gaps between groups and that’s that! One would hope a high-end place like the course you describe would better educate their folks but I guess not

    Mitchell

    Reply
  3. Sounds like this guy’s ego has gotten the better of him. Give someone a badge and a hat…

    I find some “customer support” people can power trip over their “control” of the situation, and are either inflexible with rules because they don’t care, or because they had a bad day over something else.

    After some “diplomacy,” I would go over their head and talk to their superior, or someone who had the bigger customer satisfaction/brand rep picture in mind and try to accomplish my goals that way.

    After that, I would wield my Internet sword and grind their reputation into dust, including the ranger’s name. (only kidding!) (maybe)

    …wait…didn’t someone we know do that with a local tire store? 🙂

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  4. First, as owner/manager, I’d need to become aware of this employee’s behavior.

    Second, I’d have HR or myself invite the “Ranger” to a meeting (hey, maybe even a class for the whole staff is needed) and explain the purpose of policies, and why “only following orders” is not best for the company.

    Of course a class in “common sense” wouldn’t work with this turkey.

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  5. Hi Brian,

    It’s sounds somewhat of a “Jobsworth” attitude this ranger has shown – mixed with the old adage “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely…”

    Personally, I deliver training courses to blue chips on Business Process Modelling all over Europe. When talking about the two basic activities you can have (Interactive Versus Automated), you favour automated in all but the following cases where:

    Discretion and/or flexibility are required.

    Policies are all very well but it takes a reasonable human being on the implementation side for any policy to work.

    It’s not a case of “These are my policies – take it or leave it” or even “These are my policies – if you don’t like it I have others” – it’s a matter of showing some common sense in a specific situation.

    The customer is not always right for sure but you don’t have to ram it down their gullet and then expect a tip.

    All the best,
    Tom

    Reply
  6. Well what we have here is failure to communicate. I am sure the owners/managers of this course do not want to communicate “you are not important”.

    The customer is always right if YOU choose him as a customer. As a business owner YOU get to pick your message to the market and YOU are the one that chooses the customers you have.

    On a course like you described players pay for the right to be treated like VIPs in my opinion – this was NOT what was communicated to you and your group.

    If the club wants a customer that will rush through a game they should attract THAT customer.

    So I hope you spoke to the management about how you felt – even if the guy was following rules to a T – I doubt that is the way the management want the customer to feel.

    Bryant

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  7. I say never give people the rule book without explaining to them why there are rules to start off with, teaching them the principles behind it. Rules should be there to weed out time wasters as much as to gain loyalty of legit customers, and staff at all levels need to know WHY they do what they do.

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  8. Great story to illustrate customer service from both sides of the fence..

    The “ranger” was obviously told to enforce the rules no matter what the situation and was given no discretionary power to act in a manner that would benefit the customer. This is the fault of the owners and managers of the gold course…not the ranger, who was simply untrained.

    No, the customer is not always right…but he/she is always right when making an exception will benefit the relationship and at the same time not harm the rest of the customer pool.

    Reply
  9. As an owner or manager I would get the story from both sides, determine what went wrong and implement a strategy to correct it so it won’t happen again. If the customer was right I would make it right with them, by finding out what it would take to make them happy like another free round or ?. If the customer was wrong then I would back my employee however I would still try and satisfy my customer. Sometimes you can not satisfy the customer no matter what you offer them. I would just get rid of the customer.

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  10. Was this guy working for the TSA? Or was he British? If this is a real story and you didn’t go find the general manager and raise holy hell, shame on you. The schmuck ruined your game, for which you paid in money and time. Thus, he robbed you. You and your partners are entitled to full refunds, or a free pass for another day, plus a written apology and a guarantee that the idiot will either be fired or reprogrammed.
    If anyone in a company run by me pulled a boneheaded stunt like this on a customer, they would be fired as unsuitable for the job, no matter who they were.
    The customer may not always be right, but the customer is entitled to the product or service for which he paid, which you didn’t get. And it’s in the company’s interest to see that the customer is always happy enough to come back, which I trust you are not.

    Reply
    • Hello Sam,

      Am I missing something here? What do you mean “was he British?”

      I would be extremely p……….d off by this jobsworth myself and it would screw my game up as well.

      However, this happened in Arizona I believe and the last time I checked it was in the USA.

      Yes, I am what you guys call a “Brit”.

      I would be interested to see what your reply is.

      Regards,

      Dave

      Reply
  11. Hi Rich,

    I’ve heard “The Customers Always Right” many times over from individuals in different situations. In your situation, I think that there could’ve been some allowance for playing the game. If there had been time restraints posted as you played, that would have given the customer/you a chance to understand the rules of this particular Golf Course. However, I think you should have been able to play without being interrupted and told to move on until you were finished. It would have made playing more enjoyable. I’m of the belief each situation needs to be evaluated individually and not just quickly concluded that the customer is always right.

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  12. Let me present a personal situation where I as the customer
    could be viewed as wrong, and right at the same time.

    I was in a situation once where I had a minor fee dispute
    at a tax refund location, as the fee was presented “after”
    the service was provided.

    The manager of the tax refund location pointed out rudely
    that the fees where posted on the walls and I should have
    studied them before I sat down.

    Therefore he had a point,
    however, he did not have to present it in the way he did.

    To take it step further,
    as I then told him that I did not notice the very small postings, and was not agreeing to the fee charged,

    he then THREATENED TO SUE ME!!
    (in front of other customers in the premises),

    Needles to say,
    I walked out, presented the situation to his district manager,
    and a week after that, this location manager was fired,
    and no longer eligible to be employed at that company.
    (apparently this was not the first complaint filed against him).

    The point is that yes, I agree that the fee was part of their pricing. Their policy is that if you sit down and they calculate your taxes, you pay the fee. So who am I to disagree with the fee as a customer right?

    Yes, In this case, as a customer I may have been wrong to dispute the fee from a business arrangement perspective.

    However, as a customer, I am also a person, and I expect to be treated a certain way.

    The initial manager did not handle it properly
    as he threatened me with a law suit in front of other customers.

    This was embarrassing to say the least,
    and leaned in my opinion towards the extreme side of bad customer service.

    His district manager agreed with me, and knew that I would continue to tell this story for many years to come to family, friends and associates. (while adding in the company name in my conversations of course).

    Which is why I was offered free tax services at any of his locations, a sincere apology, and the satisfaction of learning that my dissatisfaction was heard, and that the company as a whole, truly did care about their customers,
    when one person in the organization obviously did not.

    I have lost count of the times I have heard a customer complain about an entire company, after dealing with only one representative who obviously was having a bad day,
    and or skipped one too many customer service meetings.

    In many cases a customer will simply switch companies (or golf clubs) without the owner knowing about what happened, and how it happened. So as a business person, I would inform the owner of the golf club regarding
    the militant ranger, and leave them to handle it from there.

    Reply
  13. Sounds like another example of managing strictly by the book. It becomes too easy to hide behind the book instead of evaluating the situation on its own merit and exercising good judgement.

    Particularly as your group was not holding anyone up, he could have just as easily taken the opportunity to do or say something special that would have made your day and created a lasting memory of the favorable kind.

    The comment you made about whether a customer may be right for YOUR business is dangerous. That could lead to experiences like yours. He may have determined that your group did not really belong on the course and in all likelehood would never be back anyway, so why not punish you with the rule book.

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  14. The bottom line is he needs a reason why–a reason why that is better than A) management policy of B) I’m just a dork doing my job.

    Assuming that there is a management policy to take slack out of the system, and this guy was just doing his job, then he should have provided some evidence to make the case.

    He could have shown you binoculars to see the waiting group behind you. Of course, if there was not a group behind you to see then he has no evidence!

    He also needs some people skills. Delivering a negative message to a customer should be well planned and tactful. You should explain various alternatives and let the customer pick what is least bad for him or her.

    It’s no easy job.

    Kurt

    Reply
  15. It is all about meeting or exceeding the customers expectations. . . however the expectations were never agreed upon when you started playing. If there had been mention when you signed up that the play time from hole to hole is expected to be x number of minutes, with this time being quicker than most courses, then you might have expected to be urged on to be quicker, instead your mind set was at the public course where you self monitor.

    When a customer has expectations you can never meet, you fail miserably.

    Establish the expectations first, then meet or exceed them if you choose to do business.

    CJ

    Reply
  16. I had a similar experience recently at a golf course not quite as nice as the TPC. The starter at this course was awful. I was playing as a single and I asked the guy at the pro shop if I could start on the back nine since no one was within sight.

    He said sure and I proceeded to have a great first nine holes.

    When I got to the end of those nine holes and made the turn to the front nine the starter gave me all kinds of crap for it. He wanted to know the name of the guy in the pro shop that gave me permission to start on the back nine. The starter told me I had screwed up everything and that there is a system in place.

    I was being treated like a criminal. I ripped this guy up one side and down the other.

    Needless to say, the rest of my game sucked. I saw that guy a few more times around the course and I just wanted to strangle him senseless.

    I realized after a day or two that I let this guy “take me out of my game”.

    Every day I have a choice of which attitude I will show up with. There will be people and situations that arise that will attempt to throw me off and leave me with a triple bogey.

    Attitude is the key to pretty much everything. It affects all that I do and all that I wish to accomplish.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. Great story, thanks for sharing.

    Tom Curtis
    GoWhereTheMoneyIs.com

    Reply
  17. This is so classic. The ranger’s behavior is in direct conflict with the customer experience. Any high end operation is built on the vision of the user experience. Listening to Brian describe the positive expectations of the round, only to be disappointed and violated by the course ranger says volumes.

    Clearly the ranger did not understand or was unaware of the Mission and Vision of the course. In either case it is upper management’s responsibility to clearly instill the elements of the Mission and Vision of the establishment.

    We go round and round on the importance of these two critical elements when it comes to customer service. It’s impossible to provide a quality experience if the people who work for you don’t know, don’t understand, or don’t care about how we want the experience to be. It’s impossible to exceed expectations if you don’t even know what those expectations are.

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  18. Brian,

    In this case the customer (you) should not have been held liable for the golf courses inefficiencies or policies. Now had you been causing a problem for their business than it is understandable for the course to take corrective action. Based on the info you provided, you and your party did everything in your power to help the golf course out. So I conclude the customer was right in this example.

    By the way it was nice meeting you in LA this past weekend.

    Reply
  19. It sounds to me like your overreaction to the ranger made it even worse. I would have just ignored the guy since you were just there for a one time visit and who cares what the guy says as long as you are not holding anyone up. Just smile, say yessiree and go about having a fun day. I do find that the customer service skills at alot of golf courses that cater to tourists leaves something to be desired. But, rangers are charged with getting as many golfers thru the course as possible and pushing people along is part of the job. I am sure they have to deal with lots of drunk golfers and morons and that makes them take a certain attitude to their job. But if the golf course is not busy, they should back off and let people play unless they are holding things up. I find the term “the customer is always right” is more about the service attitude than the specifics of the situation. Many times it is in the best interests of the business to look the other way when the customer is wrong than to confront them. It takes a certain skill set to pleasantly get customers to do what you want and I doubt most golf courses spend much time training their rangers in those skills.

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  20. Wrong person for the job…. no doubt whatsoever. Management needs a wake-up call.

    I understand the need to “urge on” slow golfers on a busy course. However, as in many cases, this golf course finds it impossible to describe the goals or circumstance they wish to achieve and leave it up to an intelligent individual to accomplish that. (or at least they did not look to hire such a person… somebody’s out of work cousin was given the job)

    In this case, an “A” player (or ranger in this case) would have seen that no one was being held up or inconvenienced and would be able to make the intelligent decision that there was no situation to correct.

    However they hired a “C” player who only knows how to follow very simple direct instructions with no ability to correct for circumstances or make on the spot decisions whatsoever. In fact, the thought of even making a personal decision scares the hell out of C players. Calling him a “ranger” only compounded the problem for the golf course.

    Pull out your cell phone, call the course, and speak directly to the Pro or Starter right then and there. Explain the circumstances, tell them you are being harrassed by a staff member and to make a decision… either correct the situation with the ranger, or have someone come out with a refund of your green fees and you will be happy to leave.

    A customer is not always right, but they are always your customer if you keep their money. If you (the business) are not prepared to adjust things to their liking or make an adjustment that satisifes them, or if they are not prepared to make an adjustment to your style of business…

    …then state you’re sorry you couldn’t come to an agreement, politely refund their money, and explain that not all businesses are suitable for all customers.

    It’s not about the customer being right and wrong, it’s about the terms of the course’s agreement with you as a customer. It would be impossible to enforce a policy regarding space between golfing parties if they did not arrange such spacing off the first tee.

    They did not, therefore they broke their agreement with you. Just goes to show that price does not always guarantee class or quality.

    Reply
  21. The customer is NOT always right…they are also not always reasonable…but they are always the customer!

    In my previous incarnations as a Corporate Trainer & District Manager, the lessons of Service Recovery are top of mind, even today. If you haven’t already, I would endeavor to track down & relate my story to he/she in a position to do something about it. At my last company, the CEO prowled the halls with Service Recovery problems just like this for his staff to handle, thus indelibly drumming the notion in our heads that there were three kinds of people:

    1 People who serve our Clients
    2.People who served the people who serve our Clients
    3. Cost savings opportunities.

    The ranger in your story is the third flavor & may wish to consider the current state of our economy…& the availability of jobs in it. Scottsdale has been especially hard hit…

    Just this broken-down, baggy-eyed fool’s opinion 😉

    Dirk

    Reply
  22. It is difficult to say exactly where the customer relationship and expectations feel apart here. Golfers may see this luxury course as customers see a luxury restaurant, a place they want to take in and enjoy for as long as they can. Not everyone uses proper course etiquette as you know.
    Then again during this recession, management evaluates and puts policies in place to reduce costs and/or increase sales. So strictly from a profitability standpoint, management (who may not be experienced in golf or the course) may put strict time lines in place to ensure maximum games per day. When they do put numbers in front of service however, there is a price to pay, namely customer satisfaction.
    This overzealous ranger may just be doing his job (and trying to keep it) or he may just have had to settle for a job he doesn’t like and takes it out on those around him.
    Either way, speaking direclty with the person in charge gives the establishment an opporunity to see it from the customer’s point of view as well as gives them an opportunity to reconcile the disappointment.

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  23. With my business owner’s hat on, I’d hope that you (the customer) would let me know of your experience. I’d follow up with the ranger to get his part of the story (were you guys drunk or unruly?). If I found that that he was simply enforcing MY rules, and that those rules damaged your experience, I’d change the rules. I’d likely also do some training for the rangers. I may even fire the guy if it seems he has a chip on his shoulder about “those rich farts who play golf while I’m working.”

    Rules are necessary. Rules can also be changed. What would happen if the owner of the club called you and apologized, offering you and your friends an all-expense paid trip back to the course? Would you change your opinion?

    As a side note, I hope that the club’s staff is savvy enough to have Google Alerts enabled. How many others have had a similar experience, and they don’t know it’s happening?

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  24. The customer is NOT always right – and neither are the customer service reps.

    The Ranger rushing you along when there were gaps in front and behind was completely unreasonable.

    I hope you brought this to the attention of higher management. VIP customers pay a premium for the privilige of a premium product or experience. And EVERYONE deserves consideration and respect, regardless of paying class.

    Robin

    Reply
  25. I’m facing a similar dilemma. Next week I’m beta launching a new tool that helps independent sales people organize and track activity with their contacts. I’ve been privately demoing the tool over the last couple weeks.

    The challenge is that everyone wants something different or unique. They “demand” that a certain feature gets built in. Most of these features would only be used by a few people. The get in the way of most other people (this problem is why I built the tool!).

    So, the million dollar question is: Do I add a new feature to satisfy a loud minority. The answer I’ve settled on is NO. I’m not the government.

    Instead, I stay focused on the core purpose of the product. Any new features and upgrades MUST fit within that purpose. I know that my members have a basic need that isn’t being met and I am trying to meet that need. If I get distracted, then the tool will get watered down and not be as beneficial.

    I think the same philosophy can be applied to the golf situation. If a client is fundamentally affecting the business in a negative way then something should be done. Otherwise, leave me the #$*&! alone!

    Reply
  26. I don’t see any problem… 🙂 After 20 years in the military I mean. We were treated like that all of the time, maybe he was prior military.

    I always like to think of it as the old “coding and decoding”. What is said is not always what is heard. It is very possible that your perception is incorrect, not likely based on what you said, but possible.

    I think I too would address it to someone higher up and let them deal with it. You know, that chain of command thing.

    I am sure you were very diplomatic and handled it well.

    Will Buckley

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  27. It doesn’t sound like a question of a customer being right here.

    It seems the “dismissed you” part of the equation is where this guy went most wrong. Some how he made you feel like 2nd rate, chopped liver. Sure you are a tourist there. You paid your fees though. You’re a customer. It doesn’t sound like it’s the following policy that caused the irritation.

    Certainly, it doesn’t sound like he needed too. But he chose to. & it’s how he did it that made all the difference. You chose to react with anger to his manner. Your expectation was once you paid the fees you were “entitled” to a unmolested time on the links and first rate treatment.

    Perhaps he sees guys like you every day. Perhaps he perceives he knows the value of his regular repeat players or members versus the passer by. You, on the other hand, think you are just as valuable as any customer and expect to be treated better than a caddie playing for free.

    How often do we all have a habit of treating the $10.00 customer “worse” than the $100.00 customer? & the $1000.00 better than the $100? probably, very often. After all we know on which side our bread is buttered, right?

    It’s a great reminder – today’s small customer might grow into a big one if treated well. or they might have input to other potential customers. What will they say about how our businesses treated them? Do they perceive we value them?

    Thanks,
    Wes.

    Reply
  28. The customer is not always right but an honest attempt must be pursued to make the customer feel that they are right, even if the ultimate outcome is a denial of the customers demand(s). I would NOT assume that this ranger was acting outside policy or just power tripping although that may very well be the case. If indeed this “club” has extremely rigorous rules those should have been made crystal clear BEFORE accepting any payment from the prospective customer. If this was not done, strike one for management. All employees must be trained in proper etiquette at all times and it either was not done in this case or the effectiveness of the training was not properly evaluated and monitored resulting in this rangers inappropriate etiquette. Either way, strike two management. Before the customer departs, feedback – good or bad – must be solicited from every customer as to their experience with all aspects of their stay. This should be in writing and delivered directly to management PRIOR to customer departure. Any negative feedback must be addressed and remedied PRIOR to the customer departing. (a good business practice in general but absolutely critical for any high-end service/product). If this was not done, strike three management. Although 3 strikes equal a total failure, a failure of any one of these equals an inexcusable failure of management. Although every customer must be respected and valued, the greater the investment by the customer the greater the required investment in the customer. In this case the ranger is just the symptom of the core disease which is failed management.

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  29. First there is no indication that you notified the owner/manager or anyone else in management of the problem. Therefore if I was the owner/manager of the club I’d do nothing because I would not know about it. May I suggest at least forwarding this blog entry to the club management?

    If I was the owner/manager I’d want to know. I’d investigate the situation. As an operator of a club I’d not want to piss off the source of my profits. I’d want to make sure that rules were being followed for the enjoyment of customers and not for the sake of power tripping.

    I’d make sure that course rangers were only instituting the rules when they were necessary and I’d make sure that any rangers reported for unreasonable application of the rules — more than three times within a given time period were disciplined. I’d have video cams at each tee off and green so that both ranger and customer could rely on objective evidence for the judgement calls of rangers.

    I’d supply each customer and ranger with a written list of guidelines so that customers could self police — and also compare notes with rangers when confronted with a potential violation.

    Obviously some of these suggestions, such as video, are not cost effective for budget courses but for multi-hundred dollar per person green fees — it surprises me that such things are not already in place.

    Reply
  30. Had a similar experience at The Boulders in Arizona some years ago. Very expensive. Nice day. Paired with a couple from Chicago. We played for a few holes without incident. Came to a par three, raised Tee. Ranger arrives and says. “You’ll have to pick up the pace. You are holding people up.”
    I said, “Turn your head to the left.” He did and saw four people on the green putting. We couldn’t hit, of course, until they left.
    No apology from this jerk so I tore a strip off him.
    Rules are rules, sure, and some people do hold others up, sure. But you have to know your facts before making accusations. The customer is not always right but he is sure right when the provider is so obviously wrong.
    Each situation wuill dictate the action required. In this case, no good PR for that golf course. many repeats of the story

    Reply
  31. I believe the customer is always right. Unfortunately, in business, the words of one unhappy customer (whether totally right or not) will reach many more ears than a happy one. If a customer is mad as heck, they will usually stop at nothing to get their story told. Sometimes it is just easier to agree with the customer and quiet down their noise. Now in this case with the ranger, I am not sure if it is not s**t running down. Maybe management gave him a rash because someone complained he was not moving people along fast enough, so in turn he went over the top…maybe to prove a point to management.

    In any case, your story about your less-than-wonderful experience on that course will be read by more people than management would have dreamed. Just think…if it would have been handled a little differently what the lasting impression would have been.

    Reply
  32. Brian,

    This is actually a very simple issue to resolve based on your story.

    First, as you pointed out, there was space in front of you when you started, and there was nobody on your heels complaining that you were too slow.

    The simple fact of the matter is, upsetting one customer to adhere to a rule at a time when that rule has absolutely no impact on any other customers, is foolish and bad business.

    Had there been someone behind you who was having to wait, or had you guys been being bad sports and goofing off, that would be a completely different issue.

    But, pissing you guys off so he could follow a rule that at that time, in that circumstance, did not benefit the company or other customers, is just plain dumb.

    Was the company protected by the person enforcing the rule? Were other guests protected as a result of this employee enforcing this rule?

    No, neither the company or any other guests were protected by this employee’s actions.

    To the contrary. My guess would be you have no interest of ever returning there to play again.

    So, in the end the company was hurt by this employee’s actions.

    In some cases, rules were meant to be broken. And this is the perfect example of “when” it makes sense to break a rule.

    This should be common sense.

    Reply
  33. I live in Phoenix – I could have told you the guys at that course are a**holes. Sorry about that.

    In the greatest book on selling ever written Hank Tristam said” Sometimes you just have to let the customer see the mistletoe on your coattail” I agree. This is relevant to your request by the way, not your experience.

    Reply
  34. Brian

    As a PGA Professional, I agree with a lot of what Bryant has to say. The golf business (much like internet marketing) is one of creating a complete and enjoyable experience with repeat business as an ongoing caveat, (maximizing the premise that a happy consuming customer has a high likelihood of returning thus creating lifetime customer value for all participants involved). At a high end golf facility, customer service is the key to separation from other like-minded high end facilities by striving to create a golfing experience that “has be experienced and repeated” and is one where a testimonial is often given freely with the highest conviction.

    After the customer group has made their experience known to management (an absolute must to ensure awareness of the challenge), I as a supervisor, would have called in the ”
    “player assistance” representative, heard his/her side of the story and based upon a set of policies and procedures in place, made an objective evaluation. Placing an individual who has the capacity to be devoid of empathy and compassion, in a high impact position, where their interaction, with people accustomed to and expectant of exceptional customer service, destroys the dynamic and integrity that most golf facilities work hard to demonstrate repeatedly on a daily basis. The exponential effect of negative reviews and experiences are very difficult to explain and overcome.

    The customer(and staff) is not always right when they become maniacal, arrogant, belligerent, pompous or threatening without verifiable justifiable cause. In those circumstances, they need to be appeased (as well as possible) with empathy and diffusion strategies, then politely asked to leave the premises.

    In this particular instance based upon past experiences and review of this person’s body of work history, a suspension without pay and or termination is a distinct possibility. A phone call of apology and/or a special delivery of free golf rounds, lodging, spa treatments and other perceived value gifts could serve as a second chance for the facility and management to restore the trust lost in this experience to the threesome of valued customers.

    Being the best you can be is hard work and many, many people have challenges at times with exceptional customer service (most of us have at one point or another). It is very hard “to be on all the time” in the golf business; it’s strenuous work; the pay is not always the best and there are many extenuating circumstances in the course of a shift that can beat rational people down and make then say and do dumb things. When in that situation, there should be a policy in place that allows for empowerment by staff: to switch work assignments and grant a break to allow individuals to clear their head and to get back on task. This should be strongly encouraged and considered exceptional service policy by management.

    Reply
  35. Sorry to hear about your golf trip. You certainly do have a gripe,i have been in the business world working directly with customers daily and would never expect to see such a nasty disregard for ‘the customer’. As a rule the customer should always be right, but there certainly is some exceptions.
    While putting my wife through college i had the priveledge of waiting tables in a four star restaurant, without fail if you are respectful with others you will almost without fail get the same in return.
    Thanks for your post on this subject and you deserve to be treated with respect!!

    Reply
  36. Well, customer is not always right, but you have to treat them with respect. Seems, that’s what owners of that golf course forgot to train their stuff about.

    As to the problem of policies and their implementation, it’s a management problem. I guess most people on this blog don’t have that big set of management problems, at least not of that kind. But overall, you set a policy and put some mechanism in place to force your people use their heads when implementing it. There are tons of stuff to keep in mind, for example, if you treat your people poorly, they always will “just do their job”, like you’ve experienced. So, yes, I agree, it’s hard.

    Reply
  37. My relative was in that very position in Florida! It was awful. Spent BIG money only to be rushed around. Took all of the enjoyment out of it. He personally met with the director of the course after the round. That night room service delivered a bottle of the finest champagne and a side of dessert as an apology. He also comp’d him a green fee ($250) to use any time during my stay, which of course, he did. As a result of the director’s apology, He said he’d go back to that resort again. He did the right thing. The marshal was stupid and the higher-ups bailed him out.

    Lesson learned: evaluate policy on a case-by-case basis rather than apply it across the board regardless of circumstances.

    Fredrick

    Reply
  38. Hi Brian,

    I would have been extremely p.o.’d with the situation. If they had such strict time rules on the course, that should have been made very clear to you before you decided to play. You should also have been told that someone would be checking on your group’s position to keep play moving along at a certain pace, and that you are expected to keep up with it.

    Had you been told exactly what to expect, you might have chosen to go somewhere else and leave them with all their rules that ruined your day.

    Had you known this would be the case before you started, would you have played this course? I think not. Y’all were there to have a good time, not to play race golf.

    If a company is going to impose specific rules on clients, the clients should be very aware of the rules and how it will effect their experience.

    This golf course didn’t do any sort of job managing your expectations, nor did they tell you what to expect. In this case, the company was wrong and the customers were right. No customer should be treated in that manner, whether you paid a lot or a little. I hope you complained loudly to the highest person available before you left.

    Sherri

    Reply
  39. Wow. I’ve only paid $250+ dollars to play golf twice. Once in Mexico and one in Hawaii and I would have been livid given the circumstances you presented. Business rules and processes are meant to optimize the customer experience, maximize operational efficiencies and earn more profits. In my opinion rules/processes can be broken so long as it doesn’t harm those goals. In today’s competive world, the client experience is the centerpiece of business growth and this ranger clearly didn’t care. I get the “I’m just doing my job thing” but let’s get real. I’ve got a friend in the area and he’s always invited me down to play…when I go, we’ll definitely not play this course.

    Reply
  40. The customer should *NEVER* be treated like this. No matter how bad your day was, no matter how boring he/she is, no matter what. If a situation comes that puts a conflicting interests between your company interest and your customer interest, the least you can do is to offer a reasonable explanation why the customer is not being served as he expects. The customers may not always understand but if you explain it to them properly they will (if they are reasonable) understand. In most cases they will be reasonable.

    If they are not reasonable, then you probably don’t need that customer. But again, if you have to dismiss him, being polite is again the least you can do.

    I’m not interested in how exclusive or how well known a restaurant or golf club is. Both should be place to enjoy. The offer a service and ask for a fee. If they cannot render the service properly they are not doing the job right and it is their loss, not a thing to question if the customer is wrong.
    And these are the basics of business, if you still don’t understand this and you still question this maybe you should not be building business, maybe you need to do something else?

    So, if there was no valid reason for this ranger to treat you like that he needed to explain company policy and that you were playing under that terms.

    Much more likely is that he just had a bad day and needed someone to take it to and you just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time 🙂

    Reply
  41. By the way, have in mind that the ranger is not a business owner and he thinks in a typical employee mentality (“do the job, the less job to do the better, go home”). Furthermore I’ve seen some people that are just rule-addicts just to enforce some rules whether or not they make sense. It’s just a bad employee and the company doesn’t do a good job training their employees.

    The rules may be in place but they are not made of steel and unbendable. And always think of how much bad publicity you’ve just made to them by posting your frustrated post. How many golf players here will go to play on that course? Not many I think. I wouldn’t even though I couldn’t care less about golf.

    Reply
  42. I’d have to ask first, what could he have done if you’d refused to ‘hurry up’?

    He’s not a police man and, even if he was, you weren’t breaking any laws.

    He couldn’t have physically forced you as then he would be breaking the law and you could sue him for assault.

    So, looking at it that way, and considering you weren’t a nuisance to anyone else, and you paid the club a huge fee, I would have told him to get lost (but not that nicely).

    What could he have done?

    Rezbi
    Direct And Digital Marketing

    Reply
  43. Don’t you just hate the golf police? They’re like the Gestapo of the golf courses.

    I believe that unless someone was comming up on you, or actually starting to wait on you, the golf police should have kept their mouths shut.

    I think the only time you should try to push a customer forward is when you have abolutely no choice, otherwise let them take it at their own pace. As long as they’re still moving forward everyone should be happy.

    Take care,

    Karl

    Reply
  44. I think its ok to have rules and to make them be respected but its the way the guy talked to the clients that I really don’t like and would never do in my companys.

    Each time I hit a company with customer support/service like this, I get really angry, even sad and I could cry in some case! I want to blast them out and never buy there again, I even think about educating them and changing how they work.

    On the other side, when I get a company who tells me what they have to tell, me, are transparent completly, are gentle, polite, take there time to explain, respond to ALL my questions and concerns and talk to me in a COMPATIONNATE manner, even if I can’t get it my way, even if I don’t have or cannot have reason as a client, the result is I Respect Them Highly and I just LOVE them and want to stick with them FOREVER.

    Those who make there rules be respected and at the same time stay close to the customer using compation and comprehension ARE THE BEST.

    And I saw it in the success both styles had in the short and long run.

    I recommend reading about, and using Non Violant Communication, Its a way to use compation and great communications methods in wich everybody feals great even in hard times and issues. We do not need to piss off people to get our way as a company. NVC is applyable to any discution, issues, anything that requirers communication. NVC was found studied and prooven by Marshall Rosenberg and you can use it in your business, love relation, family, between friends, ect. Check it out. Google it.

    Love and Success,
    Kim (Québec, Canada)

    PS TO THE TEAM: Don’t forget to shoot a email to tell me when your follow up on this topic will be available so I can come back to read.

    Reply
  45. Hi Brian
    Preception always varies vs management, employee, and customers.
    From you the customer, frame every item you bought. Take a picture of
    it, along with all the comments and send it to the management of that
    course.
    As physicked as your threesome was in getting to play. I personally would
    not have let that ranger ruin my day. Thus applies 20/20 hind sight “defuse”.
    1) You could have said: Cool we feel like pros today, start the clock. Then
    defer to management.
    2) If that was the hole Tiger got is hole- in -one. Did you get physicked out!
    Either way when you follow up with the management opt-in for passes to
    Pebble Beach. Just keep hitting straight.

    Reply
  46. When I got the E-mail sending me to this post I was ‘very’ intrigued as I’d only just (Friday) submitted an article on the same subject to EzineArticles.com and thought it had been ‘snatched’ even before it went live 🙂
    However, it looks like were on different slants of the same problem, and in my own experience I’ve found a growing trend in ‘proffessional’ customers who not only ‘know’ they’re not right, they go out of their way to make sure they’re not right ‘legally’ so that they can then claim extortionate refunds or at worst, compensation.
    As for the golf round?
    I’m sure you were made aware of the club rules?
    Did you read them? If not, why not?
    If you did, you know you were winding the club ranger up as much, if not ‘more’ than he was doing to you. Irrespective of how much you paid for the privelage. Glof clubs as you know, are in the happy position of never having to pander to the ‘Master’ we all call money. Bill Gates or Richard Branson would have been dealt with in the same way.
    Your behaviour was that of a spoilt brat who always has ‘yes’ people around him because he can ‘afford’ to pay them to say yes whenever required. Then, when you suddenly find some lower species of the professional chain saying ‘NO!’ to you, you throw a hissy-fit 🙂

    Does this answer your question eloquently enough?

    Good luck with your next round of golf, which will be after you’ve eaten a big helping of ‘Humble Pie’.

    Pete.

    Reply
  47. A customer is mostly never always right…but always the customer.

    The ranger was having a bad day. and just did not know how to control himself.

    You and your guest were totally blindsided and the joy was completely destroyed.

    I hope,eventually,when the owner got the story,appropriated more training to this staff member,refunded your money and gave you and your guests a complementary round on a next visit.

    I’m sorry to hear this happened to you and your guests.

    Customer service is only a part of the experience..what happens is the relationship you bond in that experience…that, is where the glory is and what you will not forget.

    Sonny

    Reply
  48. The customer is not always right, but the customer is always the customer. And customers should always be treated with courtesy and respect, even when they are wrong.

    This was clearly a training opportunity for the golf course. The ranger involved — and all employees — should have been reminded of the basics in customer service, and you as the customer should have received an apology and some compensation.

    Savvy companies empower their employees to be flexible and make judgment calls so that they can do things that will delight, not offend, the customers–even if a particular customer isn’t right.

    Reply
  49. Dear Brian – oh have you hit a hot spot !

    No customer should have to tolerate poor customer service whether at such a prestigious location or a local store.

    I’m the Queen of ‘positive complaining’ when on the receiving end or poor service (and first to recognise and reward good service). To me it’s about basic courtesy and value to the customer – it makes or breaks a business!

    Learnt in my early career in a service passionate company to ‘start with the Head not the feet’ when complaining because the Head (CEO or MD) does care and also has authority to put the situation right.

    If I was MD dealing with your issue – you’d receive a personal response from one of my senior team to apologise and listen to your complaint in full (to help you feel better and collect full info), a promise to fully investigate and feedback and without question to offer a repeat day (or other upgrade on your original booking) for you and your guests, fully expensed and at your convenience – (perhaps voucher style).

    Internally the matter would be investigated and the problem solved appropriately – this could be by refreshing corporate values, changing rules, retraining, putting spotlight on customer service delivery at all stages and by all staff (get them involved for good ideas) – it might also involve discipline if ‘rogue employee’ was threatening business by poor service.

    Whatever, the internal issues – you would get feedback and action to ensure you felt happy and truly valued by the solution and it’s delivery to you.

    Why would I seemingly overcompensate to you ?

    Easy – it’s good for business.

    No customer deserves such disappointment and I want you to tell the world what a great organisation you dealt with.

    How many people now know about the atrociously bad service from that organisation and will use word of mouth ‘de-recommendation’when relaying it to friends/family etc .

    Who’d want to book with them having read about your experience.?

    Reply
  50. Brian

    I’m firmly convinced that a customer is “not always right”, but as a business owner, maniacal on customer care, I always strive to make sure that the customer feels as he/she is always right, and that goes through educating the customer, that is, letting them know beforehand that there are certain rules to follow, certainly not after they are engaged in my business, therefore harassing them which will result in their saying farewell to me.
    Where I live, every clothing shop has a “No Food or Drinks” sign outside the store, if I don’t like it I don’t enter, yet, knowing it gives me assurance that they are serious and I won’t bring food or drink into the store.
    The management at the golf club is surely at fault for not instructing their staff first, and then not educating their customers for their best interest. It’s all about the “great” experience that the customer has in doing business with you.

    Reply
  51. Besides, what a great marketing strategy that is, if I were the owner of a golf club I would make as a rule that my establishment is “fast-paced”. Certainly it is not for everyone, but at the end of the day I would in that case challenge the future customer to become better somewhere else, then take the challenge of testing himself on my course, and paying top dollars for it … and keep coming back …

    I have an idea for my business … thanks a lot for that Brian

    Reply
  52. To me it looks like another typical example of a society and education system where people have never learned to think for themselves.

    Everything they do is fixed by the rules. If it is not in the book they have no answers. Where is the adaptability and critical thinking?

    Management is at fault here for not educating staff why customers want to come to the golf course and ensuring they will have a great experience.

    The trouble is the demand is far higher than the spots available so they can get away with maximizing their profit without caring for the customer.

    Reply
    • I fully agree with Stan and I also emphasize the management responsibilty for not educating correctly the staff in direct contact with customers.

      Of course, there exist rules to be followed, but there should also be flexibility and good criteria from people in charge of customer care. This good criteria only comes from a fully understanding of what our business is about and what are our customer expectations.

      I believe well educated/trained people is the bottom line for a sustainable business in the long term.

      Reply
  53. Like you, it’s highly likely I’d never visit again, but before I made that decision, I would demand a meeting with the head honcho and let them know about the negative experience. I would also demand a refund or ask them what they would do about fixing the problem and give them the chance to do so. If they chose to address the problem and resolve it, great. If not, I’d let them know exactly how I feel and that I’d let all my friends know about my experience. No one wants to reward someone who treats us badly and I think you’ve done a great service by making this post.

    The phrase, “The customer is always right” is true to a point, though there comes a time to fire the client, but that’s another story.

    Nathan

    Reply
  54. My question is will you go back? I wouldn’t. The rules are just a little too rigid for my liking. Now they not only upset you but everyone who reads this will think twice before going to that golf course.

    I know that not everyone is a “fit”, but a business owner should work to protect their reputation. We struggle with this issue every day. There are customers who do take advantage, but we found it is best to be reasonable.

    If we have a client who is not happy and can’t be satisfied we give them what they want (in most cases) and dismiss them in a polite way. This way there is no hard feelings and we have eliminated a drain on our resources.

    Reply
  55. My two cents…they were probably right, as you state they have a policy and they were trying to uphold it. If they “bend” the policy for you, where do they draw the line with other customers.

    With that said, their delievery of this message was HORRIBLE, and that’s where they screwed up.

    Most rational people can understand a business following a set policy, even if it doesn’t make perfect sense for their situation, but nobody will understand being treated rudely.

    The truth is the customer is not always right, that’s the facts, but a business is NEVER right in treating the customer poorly, or devaluing them when delivering the message. It’s too bad, they cast a pall on your experience, and surely have done this with others, when all it takes is better communication to allievate the bad feelings.

    Matt

    Reply
  56. Whether or not they were “right”or “wrong” doesn’t change anything. The question is damage control.

    If I were the founder or owner, or CEO, I would have had a ratings survey in place for everyone who passes through, whether it is for a golf outing or a drink in the bar. People aren’t always inclined to fill them out if things are ok, but trust me, the message will be loud and clear if a customer isn’t happy. In that case, a free round or some kind of conciliatory gift or credit would be necessary.

    If there is a wrong done, and a customer isn’t happy it’s far less expensive to offer them something to make up for it, than to hire consultants to repair a damaged reputation…(work travels fast. Look at this blog post!)

    The company should have a ratings card, questionnaire or whatever, in place so that they can be on top of these things and make the changes that need to be made in order to safeguard their client base.

    Golf courses I deal with are all feeling the pinch of this economy. Rubbing existing clients the wrong way is the path to ruin. If customers can afford to fly across the country, pay over $300 for a round of golf and bring guests, it’s just as easy for them to fly someplace else next time. Nobody wants to lose customers.

    The right thing for you to do would be to write a kind note to customer service or higher up, and suggest that they take a closer look at their policies, or to employee training with regards to the fact that policies can help the flow of business, but that the customers are human beings and there should be allowances for variations in situations.

    Reply
  57. My first Marketing prof. said – the average person has about 200 people in their immediate sphere of influence. If you do something right, maybe 10% of them will hear about it. If you do something wrong, all 200 will hear. They’ll make sure of it.

    Unfortunately for TPC (Tournament Players Club) in Scottsdale Arizona your sphere of influence is significantly bigger than 200 and your circle likely includes a lot of the types of elite customers this club would like to continue to attract. But now we ALL know that if you want to have an enjoyable, stress free, high end golf day that you’ll remember in a positive way, DON’T GO to TPC. If you want to pay a lot of money for a day out, to be abused by low level staff and stressed in a way that you’ll think about EVERY time you play golf for the rest of your life – go to TPC.

    I don’t think this issue was about the customer being right or sticking with the rules. Seems to me the business of golf is about having some fun, getting a chance to spend some quality time with people you enjoy and de-stressing. This club should have added – have a great experience that only a few people will ever get to enjoy.

    So after reading your story, my question to the owners/managers of this golf club would be – “What kind of experience do you want your customers to have at TPC? and “How do you want your business to be remembered?” and a third question – “What are you going to do for Brian, John and Aaron to turn around a truly disastrous customer experience that several thousand people all over North America (or further) now know about?”.

    How sad that one low level employee, taking care of his postage stamp sized patch of grass that he’s surrounded by electrified barbed wire fence, managed to make somebody else’s day as sad as his…

    Reply
  58. In any business it’s about your customers experience so I agree with Susan’s post.

    I’m not sure how I’d handle your experience at the TPC but I know I’d forward a link for this blog to someone that cares.

    Maybe it’s time for a “Ranger Retraining Class”. You know being in the hot Arizona sun all day and spending hours of time alone can challenge anyone’s people skills especially if they’re envious of someone elses good time. I’d hate like heck to think I made someones day by allowing them to ruin mine.

    Oh, the question about the customer being right?? I’d say that depends on the intent of management. The rightness of the customer is proportionate to the scarcity of the intended result so as fewer rounds are played a customers value increases. Hey Ranger get with the program!!

    Reply
  59. It a matter of how we react to the situation we are in… Stephen Covey’s 10% Event 90% Reaction Story.
    Maybe you should try to understand the perspective where the ranger is coming from? It could have ended up in a more pleasant experience.

    Just curious, did you ask him why you have to catch up or why is he rushing you off when you can play at a more relaxed pace as it was not crowded and that you are not lagging behind?

    I learned it the bad way too, one’s emotion is hard to control, especially, under the intense heat and exhausted condition.

    My partner does what I called “Jedi mind trick” some times, especially when she’s interacting with the service people. Basically, she just gave them some “attention”, talk about the weather, about them, etc. And it almost always turns out with extra freebies and better services, simply because she have made them enjoy interacting with her.

    That poor guy could be less educated, less than fortunate background, past experience, under the hot sun getting a “low” salary for that, he must have been frustrated, and who knows how many bad customers he got to face, that hardened his attitude.

    And the one thing that he may not understand is that he is shaping the Customer’s Experience, as a representative of the company. I am sure the company’s owner would not have wished for this to happened… But how would the company owner knows about it?

    The ranger could just tell his direct management “its another bad customer…”. So what would his direct management thinks, especially if he knows the ranger well…?

    Unless, there is a better channel for customer to feedback.
    Those agony may never reach the management levels. And the angry customer will just go away, and maybe start to dissuade people from doing business with this company.

    Likewise, in our online world, many support helpdesk is in this situation. The lack of feedback to higher management for the customer…

    Here comes my story…

    My very bad experience with an online marketing Guru’s Customer Service… In less than one year, I bought thousands dollars worth of products from this Guru.

    But it all came to a STOP one day, when I didn’t receive a product that cost me a few hundreds dollars. I live in Singapore, the product was rejected & shipped back by the custom officers due to lack of detailed information about the product and no contact was available.

    Maybe the fulfillment house in US screwed it up or whatever happens… The Customer Service had literally ignored or put it nicely, “overlooked” my first ticket, finally willing to see to my subsequent persistent ticketS.

    They verified my order, asked me for the shipping address again, and say that they will ship the product to me. Because Singapore was so far from US, I gave them a month allowance to ship it to me… Each time…

    End of the month, it never arrive… The whole customer service process starts all over again… And the important part is that every time I ask for the tracking ID, this question seems to be invisible to them, they just reply me with something else…

    The back and forth emails continues for more than 1 WHOLE year. Same scenario every time, “the product is sent”, asked for tracking ID, no reply on the tracking ID…

    They are kind enough or should I say creative enough to ask me for an alternative address. I asked them to check on my previous purchases which was shipped to this same valid address. Why has all the previous purchases arrived and not for this. I wonder…

    I believed in them so strongly that I was still requesting for the product over a year. In the end, I ask them to either ship me or refund, since they had so much problem in shipping it to me… Same thing, no reply on those “sensitive” issue…

    Because this person was a BIG TIME GURU, and that I had enormous respect for him and the quality work he has done, and because I know that he wasn’t even aware of this incident. I never complained about him openly…

    I believe no one will even believe what a bad experience
    I had with this well respected guru. I still trust his work, but I never bought from him again. Maybe until one day, where I have the confidence in his OPERATIONS or the fact that I can afford to lose hundreds or thousands of dollars in failed delivery.

    The point I want to bring across is that if only this multi-millionaire guru knew about it, he would not have let me suffer this…

    In fact, he would have send it to me and that I continue to be a happy customer, whom he could have made another few thousands dollars for the subsequent products.

    This days, I feel that some operations has gotten so big that they lost the personal interaction with the guru. Or that there are so much going on for the guru to that he wasn’t even aware that his “outsourced/hired” resources was failing some of his “could be big” customers.

    If only, the support system that the gurus used so commonly, has some sort of direct rating feedback (like the one in hostgator, where you can rate the support service) to him. The owner of the company could never know how badly was the experience of some customer, especially when his operations has earned him millions of income per year…

    “If only, the owner knew…”

    Reply
  60. Brian,
    I am the Director of Marketing here at TPC Scottsdale and first and foremost, would like to apologize for the way that you were treated and your experience here at TPC Scottsdale. That is NOT what we want anyone’s experience to be or even feel like.
    I do wish you would have come in to the golf shop and let someone know how upset you were. I didn’t see anyting in your blog about this, but if you did, again, I’m sorry that it wasn’t handled better.
    As was metioned, we do have a pace of play policy that we have taught the Course Advisors to follow and being a Sunday morning – it was packed out there with every tee time full until 10:30. I am, by no means, making an excuse for the Course Advisor, but being full that morning, we pay very detailed information on pace of play.
    We do know who the Course Advisor was at that time and we will be talking to him.
    We would also like to talk to you about the situation and try to rectify it. We don’t want this to be your impression or anyone else’s of TPC Scottsdale.
    I will have my General Manager follow up with you directly and again, I’m truly sorry for the Course Advisors actions/ tone and for your overall experience.
    Sincerely,
    TPC Scottsdale

    Reply
  61. How funny that my friends and I had a simular situation while golfing in ST Croix golfing to begin with is not cheap and this was the only course to play we had not even made it 1/2 way when we were warned to hurry and we did not see anyone behind or infront of us by the 2nd warning we were purturbed but ignored them then they kicked us off the green, because a tournament was comming we were not warned of this and we left the green and I complained to the girl who gave us the tee time that we did not appreciate being kicked off the course and that she should have warned us, and we could have reschedualed our golf game, however she made it up to us by giving us free golf, for are remaining stay which was 3or 4 days no hard feelings and I will golf there again.

    Reply
  62. Hey !
    I am sorry to hear about the incidence. However, if one wants to think about this incidence as owner, then it might sound rude or crude to you but the truth is that the problem of being human beings. Human beings, who might be working with others, would never have same destination. So you would never know at what level of work this way of behavior got enforced. There can be few sugestions from my side, though.
    1. Clarity in basic terms of behavior with customers.

    2. Significant work on attitude & thinking at appointment level.

    3. Openness & continuous attention to complaints

    4. Reaffirmations at important events of company by higher authority.

    I sincerely hope, it helps.

    Reply

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