Pro tips

5 steps to conduct effective interviews at your golf club

Are you looking to enhance your experience and build stronger relationships with golfers? If you are in this situation, it'll likely be a good idea to sit down with the players and give them the opportunity to express what they think and what they feel about their time at your club.

Emilio Adan Soriano
April 2, 2024

Customer experience has become an important factor for golf clubs today. For this reason, achieving excellence is not just about having the best facilities - it's about deeply understanding the needs and opinions of golfers.

Satisfaction surveys and interviews with players are essential for gaining this understanding. Beside allowing you to dive into what's on their minds, interviews enable you to forge stronger bonds with them and level up your services with finesse.

But, conducting interviews may be somewhat challenging. Each step in the process plays a fundamental role in creating a trusting environment and obtaining the correct and necessary information. After reading that, you might be wondering: how can I conduct these interviews effectively? Luckily, you are about to learn a strategy consisting of five tips that will help you answer this question.

Step 1: Define your research goals

Starting by clearly defining your research goals is crucial to ensure that interviews with golfers are effective and productive. Clear objectives allow you to focus on the areas you prefer, whether you seek to boost members' satisfaction through the club's social life or improve club operations in general.

For example, you may want to know what golfers think about your facilities, the food at the restaurant, or their ups and downs at the club. The important thing is to define what you want to achieve and what you want to learn from the interviews.

A helpful way for golf clubs to know what areas to focus on is to conduct guest surveys. These surveys give golf course operators a general idea of the experiences of many golfers as they answer the same specific questions. Then, you can complement the surveys and your closed loop feedback process with interviews, aiming to understand the reasons behind the respondents' feedback even better.

Step 2: Create tailored questions

Once you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, it's time to create the interview questions. A great idea is to tailor them specifically for each golfer.

Personalized questions provide you with more realistic insights into their feelings and impressions after visiting or participating in activities at the club, and you obtain relevant feedback from each one. Remember that customer experience management is especially key because it allows you to discover improvement opportunities and highlights. Therefore, having the most accurate opinions from golfers will help you progress in the right direction.

When asking interview questions, some golf clubs might seek to inquire about their golfers' individual goals, whether it be reducing their handicap, overcoming a personal challenge, or advancing to the next level. This is a very nice approach, as understanding these personal objectives helps clubs improve their golfers' current and future experiences.

If a handful of the respondents talk about their goals and how the golf club can help them achieve them, their ideas can inspire the club to identify possible opportunities and points for improvement. Perhaps you can work on offering personalized classes or tracking the progress of your golfers to help them achieve their goals. And this will maybe also benefit others.

Figure 1: 3 advantages of customizing interview questions for your golfers
Figure 1: 3 advantages of customizing interview questions for your golfers

Step 3: Create a comfortable interview environment

The conversation with the golfers should feel less like an interrogation and more like a friendly chat on the golf course. It's not about a formal investigation - but rather an informal conversation that respects their experience.

The goal, beyond obtaining valuable insights, is to make them feel comfortable during the chat. That means creating a laid-back atmosphere where your golfers can freely and confidently share their thoughts on their club experience. A relaxed setting paves the way for them to respond openly and honestly to all your questions, leading to richer conversations and deeper understanding.

Inviting the interviewees for an informal coffee, engaging in a small conversation about golf, or even taking a walk might be some actions to take, making the golfers feel relaxed and more open.

Step 4: Analyze the data

Once the interview is over, the next step is to analyze the information. Now, you may wonder how you can do this. Actually, it can be done quite simply.

You may have gathered a lot of elaborated information on various topics, such as what your golfers think of the prices compared to other clubs, whether they think there is a friendly or welcoming atmosphere at the club, or even what they think of the PGA lessons.

If you already have existing survey data, comparing the interviews with this data can help you understand the patterns in depth. Why are the lessons getting bad scores? What can you do to make people more satisfied with the atmosphere? This information will allow you to make specific improvements, leading to greater satisfaction and loyalty.

Another way to analyze interviews is to go through or transcribe the recording while jotting down all the points the golfers highlight and repeat. Try to note everything related to the different focus areas, like the golf lessons or the atmosphere. This way, you can structure and divide the information into various topics. Then, you will definitely notice some categories that have gotten a lot of attention, making these the ones to proceed with.

Step 5. Create an action plan

Lastly, you should turn the information into an effective action plan. By tapping into the insights gathered from conversations and combining them with additional data, like survey feedback, you can start pinpointing key areas for enhancement and fine-tuning your game plan. It's all about blending those chats with the hard numbers to really dial in on what needs attention and where to steer your efforts next.

Let's say that survey data show that many of your golfers are actually so satisfied at the club that they fall into the NPS category of being promoters. On paper, they'd be happy to recommend your club. But you don't see or hear their recommendations anywhere and want to take this into your own hands, hoping that obtaining and showcasing recommendations will boost your online reputation.

Now, do the interview questions answer your original purpose of creating the interviews? Can you leverage the information to make more informed decisions? And does the elaborate feedback even come with a solution or ideas for your plan of getting more recommendations that you can use in, for example, your golf marketing?

If you can say "yes" to the questions above, you're good to go. Creating an action plan should be pretty straightforward from here if you simply use the best practice methods for customer experience management in golf. This includes setting up KPIs, assigning tasks to the right staff members, and monitoring the actions made.

The questions might also have shown you another area to improve, and a new interview process might be necessary to create a new action plan. And you should not see this as a waste of time. Getting familiar with conducting interviews is a skill that will likely benefit your golf business going forward. So why not practice it as much as possible? At least now, you have these 5 steps to take your interviews with golfers to the next level.

Figure 2: 5 steps to conduct effective interviews
Figure 2: 5 steps to conduct effective interviews

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