Monday, January 25, 2010

Steps for a Better Golf Management Business, Step #2

By Michael Vogt, CGCS
Why Not a Survey?

Why do you think large, customer driven businesses like airlines, restaurant chains and hotels live and die by customer surveys?

Maybe these businesses are successful because they are so in-tuned with their custom’s desires and dislikes! You too can discover the likes and dislikes of your clientele. Conduct a Golf Course Survey of your own. With the internet being so popular and free sites available why wouldn’t you ask the questions that could drive your business into the next level of customer satisfaction?

These are the guidelines for successful survey writing:

Write a short questionnaire
Above all, your questionnaire should be as short as possible. When drafting your questionnaire, make a mental distinction between what is essential to know, what would be useful to know and what would be unnecessary. Retain the former, keep the useful to a minimum and discard the rest. If the question is not important enough to include in your report, it probably should be eliminated.

Use simple words
Survey recipients may have a variety of backgrounds so use simple language. For example, "What is the frequency of your golf rounds in the last ninety days at the club?" is better understood as, "About how many times have you played golf in the last 90 days at the club?"

Don't write leading questions
Leading questions demand a specific response. For example: the question "Do you favor compete sand bunker renovation?" leads respondents to decide on an expensive complete bunker project when the variety of sand is the biggest issue.

Avoid double negatives
Respondents can easily be confused deciphering the meaning of a question that uses two negative words.

Put your questions in a logic order
The issues raised in one question can influence how people think about subsequent questions. It is good to ask a general question and then ask more specific questions. For example, you should avoid asking a series of questions about a tees and then question about the most important factors in an excellent tee surface.

Cover memo or introduction
Once a recipient opens your survey, you may still need to motivate him or her to complete it. The cover memo or introduction offers an excellent place to provide the motivation. A good cover memo or introduction should be short and includes:

• Purpose of the survey
• Why it is important to hear from the correspondent
• What may be done with the results and what possible impacts may occur with the results
• Address identification
• Person to contact for questions about the survey
• Due date for response

Great on line survey sites that can supply you with a format and vehicle for your survey are:

Survey Monkey
Free Online Surveys
Poll Daddy

A survey can guide your maintenance practices and long range plan as well as communicate with members that you care enough to make every effort to supply the best course conditions tailored to their specific needs and wants, that’s a win-win!

Give the survey process a try, I really feel it will open your eyes to another great way to manage your course a keep you in touch with your clientele.

Any questions on writing great membership surveys; send me an email Michael Vogt, CGCS.

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