Identifying Opportunities through Unbiased Survey Data

Thursday October 6, 2022

If only we knew! Clubs have a lot going on right now. Economic uncertainty, all-time employee turnover and whipsaw fluctuations in membership demand have managers seeking to batten down the proverbial hatches to stay afloat in an angry sea of ambiguity. There are decisions to make – a lot of them – but what is correct? What do my players want? What do my employees need? Why did that dues-paying member leave after 12 years at my club? Can we afford to greenlight that capital expenditure? Can we afford not to? Clubs and club managers need answers, which means first they must ask the right questions. And if you and your club aren’t armed with data to support your inquiries and decisions, you’re effectively stumbling around in the dark. Best way to illuminate your path? Survey data.

Let’s look at two examples of how direct, first-party survey data arms decision makers to increase satisfaction at their club.

The New Member Example

After a lengthy courting and onboarding process, new member “Andrew” seems underwhelmed. He doesn’t seem to be taking advantage of club amenities he said he would love to use and hasn’t attended many club functions over the course of his first few months. The sales team is high-fiving and lighting cigars – it took a while to get Andrew into the club – but the member concierge is worried Andrew is experiencing buyer’s remorse. Could Andrew’s apathy have been avoided?

As we’ve discussed before, the new-member onboarding process is incredibly important, and if it needs to be changed, so be it. Adapt or die. But how should it change? That’s where first-party data comes in. Through member surveys, managers can identify not only what Andrew would have wanted during his first few months on property, but also what all other members would have wanted when they entered into their club agreement. Maybe a more robust orientation or a new member meet and greet would have helped break the ice for Andrew. Maybe the entire onboarding process is insufficient for a club of your caliber. Using survey data from existing members allows club decision makers to identify weak points and make important changes so predicaments like Andrew’s don’t ever happen again.

“If Only We Knew” Example

Perennial member-guest medalist “Jerod” wants to break the news in person – he’s leaving the club after 12 years. Jerod has grown with the club and loved every minute of it, but his life has changed and he needs to move on. Club managers understand – things change – and wish him the best. After a few months, another long-time member is leaving. Then another. Membership sales are through the roof so the exodus of a small few doesn’t seem to move the needle.

As the player experience coordinator is making his rounds at lunch, he strikes up a conversation with one of Jerod’s regular playing partners who tells him Jerod – and his three young daughters – are now members at a club with onsite childcare. The realization hits the concierge like a ton of bricks. THAT’S why Jerod left. If only he knew that’s what Jerod – and the other members – needed from the club.

In-depth member exit surveys eliminate this possibility. Whether or not the majority of your members need onsite childcare, understanding the reasons for member exit only strengthens your club’s ability to adapt and change to meet the needs of your members. Don’t get caught saying “there was nothing we could have done” or “if only we knew.”