On my last visit to the opticians, the doctor fitted lenses to meet the needs of my eyes. Likewise when I go to the shoe shop or buy a suit, these products are fitted to me.
I recently read the latest edition of International Golf Pro News, which featured some excellent articles on club fitting and other such contributions on how a personalised solution often saves money, time, frustration and so on.
Surely fitting cannot be confined to just products can it? What about services, can they also be fitted to meet the needs of the consumer? Of course, they can, airlines have changed to offer choice in the level of services that we want.
We can book a specific seat, choose the number of bags to take, have insurance or not. Hotels offer a choice of breakfast with the room, newspapers and late check out. Gymnasiums offer access at certain times of certain days. Internet and mobile phone providers offer different download speeds and call tariffs. The list is endless.
The goal, is for the consumer to participate to the level that meets their needs, satisfies their desire and is a comfortable fit with their priorities, lifestyle, and other commitments.
There is nothing much wrong with the sport. A simple definition could be that you take a stick and hit a ball to a target that is in, on or above the ground. People have been doing it for years and it has a fair level of challenge if we play from the most suitable distance.
In recent times golf has started to change, but for so long effectively it has said, “this is our sport, this is how you will consume it and these are the rules of that engagement.” This attitude has shaped public opinion.
It is the same as going to a shop and being told that we must adapt to size 44 shoes or a 52 jacket, “just spread your toes or puff out your chest if the size is too big, or vice versa if the size is too small”. Sure someone with size 44 feet and a 52 chest thinks that everything is perfect, you can hear them say “why doesn’t everyone shop here”? I am sure that everyone else will be less than fulfilled and may well go elsewhere to have their needs satisfied.
Could we offer consumers more choice in how they engage with the game? Certainly we have asked many non-golfers why they want to play, but have we listened to their answers and acted upon their perspectives?
A very good friend of mine, when asked what is the most important language for doing business, says without hesitation, “my customer’s language.” She is not referring to any one of the more than 6,000 mother tongues that a quick search on the internet reveals, but instead to the narrative that her customers use.
What is important to them, resonates and builds rapport? Sometimes we can know our product or service so well that we really do have something to sell, but if we do not become relatable to others, then we will likely have no-one to buy.