American Golf, NGF partner to assess customer satisfaction

American Golf Corp. (AGC) has begun implementing the National Golf Foundation's Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction Program (CLASP) in all 200 of its public facilities with the goal of determining who their customers are, what they think of their facilities, and how AGC courses compare in golfers' minds to the competition.

"The principal reason we're so excited about this, is that for years we've compared ourselves to our selves, through our own eyes. But, we haven't systematically looked at value, quality and service through the eyes of our guests," explains AGC Co-CEO David Pillsbury. The California-based golf facility management company will use the NGF's analysis of the data to provide the golfer with a better overall experience. "To do this," adds Pillsbury, "it's not only important to find out what customers think of your operation, but also what they think of it in comparison to other facilities. Through CLASP, we're going to be able to establish service, quality and value baselines to comparable markets."

The program, which was introduced to the industry earlier this year, was created by the NGF in response to the growing need of facilities to increase their rounds played. Administered in both an Internet-based and a printed survey format, CLASP will provide detailed information about what customers value most, enabling facility operators to gain a better understanding of their customer base. Using the program, management will be able to determine:

-- Who their loyal customers are

-- What percentage of their customers' rounds go to them and what goes to the competition

-- How their facilities compare to regional and national benchmarks

-- Their facilities' perceived strengths and weaknesses

"CLASP provides quantifiable data on how satisfied customers are with a facility's course conditions, pricing, food and beverage service, etc., in addition to presenting indicators on customer loyalty," explains the NGF's Kelly Olshove. "In the current economic climate, it's more important than ever to know what tangible things at your course keep customers coming back and spending more."

The ease of implementing CLASP is something that attracted American Golf Corp. to the NGF's new program. "We've had several courses that have fully implemented the program, and we've found that it's very easy for the operators to use," explains Ken Guerra, AGC National Director of Marketing. "It's simple, fast and effective."

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