More so now than ever, health and safety and proper hygiene practices are something that we are having to quickly incorporate into the way we live our lives.
In just a matter of months, COVID-19 has shaken and shaped the mere fabric of society. Both business and the golf industry has not been spared either. Local and national lockdowns caused the inevitable closures that we have seen and it is only now that we are beginning to realise the full impact and extent of what has been such a damaging period, not just to public health but also economically and socially as well.
As we begin to recover as an industry, the need to be at the top of our game has never been more important. Clubs, golf centres, driving ranges and other indoor golfing venues are taking the health and safety of their staff and customers very seriously for two good reasons.
The first is the obvious: because right now we have a duty of care to one another; to minimise the spread of the virus and protect each other.
The second is not obvious: because doing so is good for your brand.
Here is why COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and guidance have never been more important for you…
As mentioned earlier this is the very real, serious and obvious part as to why we do this. We have seen the devastating numbers off cases, serious illnesses and unfortunately deaths that have been used by the Coronavirus. It has made us all realise that we are not invincible and something so invisible can have a real and serious impact on our health.
It has also raised our awareness of how we behave, including maintaining good hygiene and social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
For businesses, this has also meant following and implementing various practices and protocols to reduce the spread as well. The CPG recently published its own forms of guidance to CPG Member Countries, and created a hub page with various information, links and documents to help advise and guide those who are perhaps a little overwhelmed by the situation.
These are by no means a magic bullet and they will never eliminate the risk of catching coronavirus – it is a fair assumption to think it is here to stay for the meanwhile and that whilst the chances are low, they are still real. However, what they do do is just that – they lower the chances and minimise the risk as much as possible.
I urge you to have a read and consider some of the points that are in there. Implementing them will not only help keep yourselves safe but also everybody who walks through that door into your club or golf business. I think it is fair to say we all have a moral obligation to do so.
02 BRAND CAPITAL
An inadvertent consequence of doing the above is that it might actually help drive sales and customer activity.
As the world is an incredibly inter-connected, digitally-driven place where conversations from continents away can be had in seconds, information (both positive and negative) spreads like wildfire. As a marketing concept, ‘Word of Mouth’ continues to play its part in the understanding of customer enticement. However, 21st century society has seen the addition of ‘Electronic Word of Mouth’ too and whilst it can be incredibly useful, it can also be incredibly dangerous.
As Marketers, we are constantly on the lookout for those comments, shares, reviews and observations made by customers over the Internet – it is probably the most powerful tool you can have to present your business in a way you want. However, just use the example that a COVID-19 case was traced back to a business who happened to have misjudged or even perhaps ignored some of the safety guidance. You can imagine what will happen next, right?
“Irresponsible” “Dangerous” “Lack of foresight” “DO NOT VISIT”
These are just some of the words I can imagine (and have seen) from customer reviews across the general business space related to COVID-19, and it won’t be going away anytime soon. However, flip this situation on its head to a point where your golf club has followed guidelines to the book:
“Fantastic and safe experience” “Really organised” “Safety-conscious”
I know which descriptives I would want my business to be associated with. This is not to say you will not receive the odd bad review. There will always be that one resistive (often younger) customer who complains and disagrees with what you are doing, and that you are infringing on their basic liberties. That is also happening everywhere else and there is not a lot you can do about it other than explain to them in a diplomatic manner the reasons why. Chances are, they will come round and see sense.
Therefore, acting in a responsible and safe manner and follow the guidelines and advice to the book (whether you agree or disagree with them), will help enforce a healthier and safer environment for everyone and in turn, a better experience for customers. I like to view this situation (as with most new customer-related situations and journeys) as a job interview or talent audition – customers are there to interrogate you and your business, and they want to know your strengths, your weaknesses and whether you can stand up to the task in hand of serving their needs and wants safely.
If you can’t, they will pick you up on it.
If you can…well…positive impressions are the most powerful tool you have in your armoury and they will thank you for it.