This is a true story and actually happened a couple of years ago to a new client of ours shortly after launching their social media strategy. You guessed it, it is a golf course client. The client was interested in using Twitter and Facebook to enhance their current marketing plan and engage more with current customers and maybe reach some new people as well. They wanted to make their interactions more personal and have less of a corporate feel.
What happened was right around the time their strategy launched and sort of caught everyone a bit off-guard as the golf course was such a new player in the social sphere. A golfer (or customer) teed off on the first hole in an over-cast day with some spitting rain drops. By the time the group had reached the first green it had turned into a downpour to the point that the golfer felt they could not or did not want to continue to play. Upon return to the golf shop to ask about a refund or rain check they were informed that the golf course’s rain check policy was that once you had teed off you took your chances with the day and “rain checks” were not offered.
The golfer turned to Twitter and wrote something like this (it was a couple of years ago so we don’t remember it exactly) “So disappointed in XYZ Golf Course, downpour on 1st green and no option for a rain check #fail”. Remember, even if you aren’t using social media platforms, there is a good chance your customers are talking about you. We saw the Tweet and discussed it with the golf course’s General Manager.
We determined the best strategy was to move the conversation off-line and invite the Tweeter to have lunch with the General Manager and Head Professional at the golf course to discuss a “rain check policy” that would work for the golf course and improve the customer’s view of the golf course. We sent the Tweeter a direct message with the offer.
What ended up happening was the Tweeter immediately turned to social media and told all his followers how great the golf course was! How they reached out and turned a poor experience into an excellent one. He went on to further recommend others play the golf course. And he never actually came out for the lunch. His negative experience had already become a positive one. The End In the end the Tweeter now plays the golf course about 10 times per year (based on his Tweets). Each time he plays he posts a photo and says something nice about the golf course to his 4,000+ followers.
Who says listening to your customers is over rated?
The negative ones are in fact the best ones to have, they like to spread the word.