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You hear the term CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and you think ‘boring’, right? Wrong!!

Huge multi-national companies right down to your local community businesses have been using CRM for years. It’s time the golf and club market also started using it to their benefit.

We all know that recording customer communication is a tedious job, but it is vital in the battle to retain customers or members. Profiling your customers and members allows you to cross-sell and up-sell a multitude of products and services, and secure that vital repeat business.

Let’s imagine you are hosting a family birthday party event at the club for one of your members. From the moment they enquire, you capture all communications and requests made from start to finish. This way, if the events co-ordinator isn’t available, another member of staff can pick up easily where they left off and have all relevant information ready at the click of a mouse. More importantly, on completion of the event, the member who organised it says, “it was fantastic and we should do this again for my mother’s 70th in three years’ time“. Normally this would go forgotten, but logged in a CRM tool for a future call in, say, 2½ years’ time, you have every opportunity of securing the repeat business. Place your trust in the CRM system and let it remind you automatically.

Now, is that boring?

The above example is just one way in which CRM works for the club market. Gone are the days of rolodexes and notepads, and along with these manual processes, the mistakes that inherently came with them. The new age is here for clubs, so don’t get left behind when it comes to revenue-generating solutions that really do have a great return on investment.

Customer Relationship Management is becoming the essential ‘piece of kit’ for any club looking to drive sales and increase revenue across the board,” says Steve Salter, Head of NFS’ Golf and Leisure Division. “CRM allows you to look after the most important component of your business – the customer.

Most of the solutions on the market are inexpensive and you can become an accomplished user within just a few days. The better products include integration and synching with your email, so you don ‘t have to copy and paste emails into the customer profile, which is a real time saver.

Another feature to look out for in a CRM product is one that includes campaign software. This allows you to design your own emails for marketing purposes and have the ability to mail-merge the customers in the CRM system. Subsequently you can then target specific people in your database and send them the right offers and the most relevant information.

We all know that in the current economic situation, club managers find themselves fighting, on a daily basis, to increase revenue through all departments within their club. Prospecting for new members is becoming increasingly difficult within this saturated market, but CRM really is an area worth investigating. You will never forget that call, email, meeting, game of golf or show round ever again, as the CRM looks after your diary, communication and tasks. With waiting lists gone and a huge selection of clubs for the consumer to choose from, CRM can secure that vital business and won’t let your potential customers or members slip through the net.

Michael Barrett, IT Consultant to the golf and leisure industry for the past 15 years, comments, “Clubs that implement CRM and fully commit to using it properly show a remarkable improvement in member and customer retention.

Clubs are becoming more sales focused as business is no longer falling in their laps. The reactive sales approach isn’t generating the revenue it used to, so forward-thinking clubs are using CRM as part of a proactive sales approach in their marketing to local businesses and individual customers. We can learn a lot from hotels and other similar businesses that capture the all-important customer data so very well. As a customer we sit on their databases and from time to time receive offers. Why don’t individual golf clubs work in a similar way?

Grow your database, grow your business
All of these ideas are possible with good data collection and a powerful CRM tool. You can send regular text messages or emails with specific offers and information to the right customers, and generate more business for your club. Marketing using CRM is a numbers game. As you collect more data – either by buying a database or by collecting customer data from visitors – your database grows, and in turn so does the business generated from it.

What solution is right for my club?
NFS Hospitality have been providing IT solutions, services and advice to the leisure industry for over fifteen years. We help clubs to better generate business through IT implementation and the latest club management software, including fully integrated CRM.

The CRM module complements the already excellent functionality of NFS’ IBS Club Management suite, and provides Private Member and Golf Clubs the opportunity to market to their existing customer base with much more ease, due to a built-in HTML email designer and the ability to sync with Outlook.

NFS’ CRM module also offers a host of functionality, including Outlook Sync for email, making CRM admin obsolete; customisable security levels for all employees; quick communication panel for instant call logging; audit trail for all communication by staff, date, time and group; and a reporting suite for campaign statistics, including viewed, opened, clicked through and bounced emails.

Not only does CRM help clubs manage their clients, but the module can drastically reduce the time staff spend on CRM admin, and a built-in triggers feature automates management processes. For example, a new member is converted from a prospective member to a full paying member. Next step? Send them a welcome letter, welcome pack and current newsletter. Managers can use triggers to have the CRM send this automatically and instantly, the moment they are converted, using their pre-saved mail-merge template. This feature can also be used to tell staff around the club of any new members joining by sending automated emails to relevant employees.

These are just a few of the ways that CRM can take care of those time-consuming but essential tasks that club managers face on a day-to-day basis. With full integration across the club, recording any and all communication, driving marketing campaigns and sending task reminders, users of the new module can let NFS’ CRM software take the strain off everyday club business and communication.

Having been in sales for almost 15 years I have used many CRM products, but our new offering really makes life easier for the end user,” Steve Salter comments. “These improved marketing processes should be a real benefit to those clubs striving harder to build new business and retain existing clients during these unstable times.“

Steve also notes, “Not only does the solution deliver operational benefits to effectively manage the process of client retention and customer acquisition, but it also enables clubs to up-sell and cross-sell to their existing membership. Taking a long-term view, the increase in lifetime value of such members can be substantially increased.

NFS has a growing client base of successful Clubs across the UK, including The London Golf Club, Naval Club, Phyllis Court and London Clubs.

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