By Dave White, Editor
‘What gets measured…gives you knowledge…gets done…gets improved.’
Words like an old chestnut that are an oft-repeated idea or considered conventional wisdom.
But, with BoardRoom magazine’s ClubIQ, there’s more than a grain of truth to this old chestnut. ClubIQ, another innovation from BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs, holds oodles of promise in helping private clubs deliver on their member experience.
The idea rises from the need private clubs have to understand what their members want and need in today’s very competitive private club market.
ClubIQ finds it genesis in the methodology used to measure the member experience at BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs. An objective of Distinguished Clubs, of course, is to help vitalize and preserve the institution of private clubs by fostering a ceaseless drive to improve the experience private clubs provide to their members.
“We’ve been able to transform the basis of our Distinguished Clubs methodology to measure member experience from our perspective and develop ClubIQ. This means clubs can now also measure member experience from their member’s perspective,” explained Keith Jarrett, president of Boardroom’s Distinguished Club program.
Private clubs are always seeking ways to better understand member usage patterns, either by location or amenity and there’s been a need for a more efficient member name recognition system and timely members feedback.
“During our visits to BoardRoom Distinguished Clubs, general managers and department heads continually have been asking if there is a way to capture information about club members that allows the club and its staff to respond quickly to members’ wants and needs,” Jarrett offered.
“It became clear that we needed a more efficient way to shorten the time period for receiving information, including feedback from members, along with more detailed information, and the fact boards and club management want to enhance member experience ideas based on information a club receives from its members.”
So, BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs’ thinkers have come up with the answer. “A private club using ClubIQ can measure member experience on an ongoing basis instead of a once a year member satisfaction survey, and that makes it even more valuable to management,” Jarrett added.
In a nutshell, ClubIQ essentially is a complete physical exam of a private club. Your family doctor when completing a physical examination wants to know your pulse rate, your respiratory rate, body temperature and blood pressure…your basis vital signs.
So likewise, for a private club, the board and management needs to be fully aware of a club’s vital signs…where the club stands in relation to the club’s average member satisfaction, its member experience index, the net promoter score and quad charting.
And that’s the thrust of BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs’ ClubIQ polling software that allows clubs to monitor their member experience and make timely improvement in response to member sentiment and requests.
It’s on-going daily data collection throughout the year, that’s timely and relevant because it offers insight gained daily about recent member experiences, providing proactive insight.
Since its in 2015, ClubIQ has helped private club general managers gain real-time insight about departments, and what matters most to their members. Specifically, ClubIQ indicates how satisfied members are with a club’s various departments. And it comes from qualitative data including:
Average member satisfaction: This offers the unweighted raw average of your members’ responses regarding satisfaction. It’s comparable to the results of traditional annual surveys.
Members experience index: This answers the question: How good are we at providing the best possible member experience, according to what most important to our members?
Net promoter score: Is a customer loyalty metric based on a direct questions such as: How likely are you to recommend our club to a friend or colleague?
Quad chart: A quadrant analysis allows a club to see quickly and exactly where to focus efforts to improve the club’s members experience. It plots responses to the experience and importance questions to explain the members experience to club members.
And all this data (results from the previous day’s polling) is easily available to a club’s management and departments through daily intelligence reports via email.
Simply, clubs use ClubIQ to supplement or replace their annual surveys, and management knows where their departments stand with their members. As well, it allows for development of underperforming departments, lets management know which staff members are performing well, and not surprisingly ‘replaces emotion with facts.’
As well as providing daily information, ClubIQ also helps clubs allocate their resources effectively to foster higher usage by members.
Here’s how several Distinguished Club responded to questions about their ClubIQ experience.
Several BoardRoom Distinguished Clubs using ClubIQ like the benefits for their club and members, and responded to these questions:
1) ClubIQ allows private clubs to monitor their member experience. What has been your club’s experience in using ClubIQ? How does it give real-time insight and understanding into various departments and what your members want?
2) How have your members responded to the introduction and use of ClubIQ?
3) How and where are you using ClubIQ?
4) How does Club IQ help your club’s management make decisions of what’s important to Sarasota members?
5) Has the use of ClubIQ allowed your club to make decisions regarding improvements and the allocation of resources?
6) Can you give some examples of how the club and its members have benefited through the use of ClubIQ.
Sarasota Yacht Club, Sarasota, FL:
CEO Bernie Kloppenburg
1) ClubIQ has given us a tool to measure the club experience in a consistent and objective manner. We had conducted summative types of surveys before using ClubIQ. While we had robust data from those surveys, we only received the feedback every other year. This prevented us from reacting to members’ needs in a timely fashion. ClubIQ also assists our management team in not feeling so overwhelmed every other year. The daily feedback allows our staff time to review, react and improve in a proactive fashion.
2) Our members have received the implementation well. We rolled it out at one of our welcome back parties so that it became a fun event. There was excitement surrounding the roll-out and we tied it to our Boardroom Magazine Distinguished Club award. We explained to members that in order for us to continue to improve the member experience and maintain such a lofty designation we needed their feedback.
3) The club is using ClubIQ as its primary tool to measure member experience that has been difficult to measure before this. The management team reviews the output on a daily basis and weekly at management meetings. Additionally, we use ClubIQ in conjunction with other data points in order to create a holistic approach to data analysis. For example, we look at food and beverage sales numbers and then overlay it with the member experience scores for front and back of the house. We then have a more comprehensive view of the business and can determine if there are correlations between the two sets of data.
4) ClubIQ is used to identify areas of improvement and can be immediately tracked to see if improvements have been well received. Knowing that the member experience is measured on a daily basis makes the entire management team be concerned about the member experience in every decision they make.
We also believe that it is important to look at the response rate in conjunction with the actual member experience scores. We realized that it is a great way to see how members prioritize the various segments of the club. This helps us in the allocation of resources including staffing and funding of equipment. A great example is our fitness center. While the ME scores are low in comparison to other departments, our members are also telling us that the center and programs are not as important to them as is the F and B. We then can make a data driven decision when determining budget expenditures.
5) ClubIQ allows us to make decisions regarding improvements and helps us determine how to best allocate our resources. These tools help us identify trends within each department.
We definitely look for trends in our data. For example, we review our overall MEI and our NPS over time. Our MEI scores have remained consistently high and our NPS scores had been strong when we first began. However, while we started to see the MEI scores plateau, our NPS scores began to decline.
We hypothesized that although our members loved their member experience that perhaps they did not want additional new members to be added to the club. We followed up with our members in an informal manner to validate our conclusion. Based upon the ClubIQ data and the informal feedback, our board of directors has decided to cap our membership for the first time in our club’s history.
6) It has helped step up our overall customer service, cleanliness of the gym and schedule for updating equipment and, most importantly our food and beverage offerings. The members told us through the surveys that this was very important to them. Our chef has been extremely open to the feedback and accepted the challenge. He not only transformed the menu but he also improved the presentation of the meals. Our members have loved seeing the positive changes.
We strongly believe that a data-driven private club is a successful club. We know that data needs to be analyzed in a comprehensive manner.
ClubIQ is integral to the analysis process but it must also be coupled with data from other internal and external sources.
Internal sources include daily food and beverage catering versus a la carte dining reports, weekly budget to actuals for all departments, which are discussed at weekly management meetings, fixed versus variable payroll costs as well as monthly and YTD member head counts.
We reference outside sources such as those provided by Club Benchmarking and PCMA to validate our performance metrics as compared to other similar clubs. Through myriad data points our team can then make decisions based upon objective information. The team is committed to the club’s overall success and the data directs us on how to assist one another to cover potential shortages in any particular department. ClubIQ is invaluable to us in this method of conducting business.
Birmingham Country Club, near Detroit, MI:
General manager/COO Joe Basso
1) We were victims of the traditional survey cycle – surveying our members at the end of each fiscal/seasonal cycle to measure operational performance over the previous 12 months. The results often confirmed what we already knew, or in some cases, surprised us with issues that had failed to surface during the year. As a result, the survey results were helpful only in setting objectives for the next cycle in the hope that we had identified the correct solution – since we wouldn’t know until the next annual survey.
With ClubIQ, the daily feedback is critical to how we now manage our operations. We may only get three or four responses at a time, but to be able to track our performance on a daily basis, and, more critically, project trends allows us to respond immediately to projected downturns in satisfaction ratings. For example, if we see that we are on a negative trend in the golf operation, we can review recent operations for issues and seek out heavy users or frequently the golf committee for guidance. Instead of waiting until year-end to take corrective measures and promise everyone a ‘better experience next season’, we now have a management tool that allows us to make course corrections to keep us on track throughout the year, in-season and out.
2) We launched ClubIQ in April when we reopened for the 2017 season. We have had a few members critical of the length of the survey, but the response of almost 1,500 surveys since April 1st speaks for itself in terms of member support. I believe what lends credibility to the process is that they see corrective measures being taken as a result of their input. The outcome is a more consistent, high-level experience in every area of the club.
3) Every operational area of the club is subject to the survey. I get the daily results in my inbox and once a week I distribute them to the senior managers in advance of our weekly staff meeting – as much as a reminder to review the data on their operations.
4) Here at BCC, EVERYTHING is important to EVERYONE. That sounds cliché, but it is very true and actually makes the decision-making process easier. We don’t have to weigh improvements in one area against another. Each manager identifies the resources they need to respond. Having this information available to each manager to identify targets is considerably more efficient than casting a wide net and hoping to catch something.
Additionally, we have tied ClubIQ results to compensation. We have looked for an effective way to measure member satisfaction for a long time. Now as part of the year-end merit compensation formula, ClubIQ scores constitute 50 percent of the calculation – 35 percent based on individual department performance and 15 percent based on the overall MEI and Net Promoter scores.
5) We can see areas within each department that are lesser in importance than others and shift resources to higher ranking priorities. Having had ClubIQ in place for less than a full cycle, it is difficult to comment on comparative analysis, although within the current cycle we can judge the effect of our corrective measures.
6) BCC is coming off the heels of an $8 million capital improvement program that touched virtually every club area. The golf course came first and that project involved wall to wall conversion of turf types. A significant segment of the membership was critical of course conditions early on, even through the midpoint of last season. As a result of being able to see this, we stepped up our communications efforts to set step-up expectations (here is what you can expect now, in the fall, in the spring, etc.) to help everyone understand the grow-in process.
Over the last two seasons, we have made some significant personnel changes – new executive chef, adding supervisors to the service team – and experienced the growing pains that come with that. Using the ClubIQ feedback allowed us to ‘test’ programs and initiatives pretty quickly and identify which ones were steering us back on course and which ones were not as effective and thus not an efficient use of resources.
Crane Creek Country Club, Boise, ID:
General manager Ben Hay
1) Managing a club is so much about being proactive and anticipating members needs and preferences. We are constantly getting feedback and reallocating resources to meet the expectations of members. It is very easy to look at data (covers, rounds and usage) to make decisions but determining qualitative feedback has always been challenging. Before MemberIQ we operated under the assumption that if usage increased we must be delivering a good member experience, but quantitative statistics alone can be misleading.
In the club, you always hear from the vocal 20 percent who say they speak for the majority but sometimes they don’t. ClubIQ gives us the real-time member satisfaction feedback we can use to enhance the member experience quickly. We have used it to increase and decrease staff and service levels in departments as well as change pricing to see how price elastic specific items are.
2) The members have been very engaged in the introduction of ClubIQ. When we are making longer term investments in the facility the data to support specific investments has been validating for the management team and board. The members also care and want to give feedback on their club so by asking more frequently they know we care about their experience.
3) I review the MemberIQ daily, it fluctuates but will alert me if we have an immediate issue with a few poor days in a specific area. I present the report to the managers every Tuesday and then to the committees and board monthly. The monthly review looks at the long-term trends in a specific area and identifies investment opportunities or possible resource allocation adjustments. We then do a thorough review during the budgeting season to make strategic operational investments in experience and capital investment in the facility.
4) We have many members that speak up on behalf of their fellow members to help us run the club. It is so great to have statistical data from the entire membership to support or refute specific experience suggestions. It really helps me and the team maximize the resources to create the best experience for the membership in the areas that are the most important to the majority. It is also great for me when coaching managers to give them data for what is important breaking the myth of the manager knows their area best.
5) We began using ClubIQ when the club was halfway through a $7.5 million remodel. The results from the first month of ClubIQ mirrored the member survey strengthening the justification for the investment. What was really exciting to see was the improvement of member experience and net promotor score as we finished the project and delivered on the promises to the membership.
The project was a little contentious and we experienced above average resignations and some members openly spoke out against the project. As the data improved so did member satisfaction leading to fewer resignations and more new members. While the project was the result of the improving score, it was a valuable lesson to look for trends in member experience and potential resignations in the future. Club momentum is so important to running a successful club and any warning we can get as the COO to alter future resignations is valuable.
6) I feel the members best value is getting to give that club leadership real time data to how and experience is and what is important to them. Through arming me as the general manager, the department managers, committees and board with this information, we are better stewards of the resources the members have entrusted us with and we can better deliver on the member experience.
Other comments: Just to echo comments that I learned from Keith Jarrett (president of BoardRoom’s Distinguished Clubs), this doesn’t replace a member survey. Members still want open ended questions to voice specific concerns of which some are actionable but most are a relief valve. ClubIQ is the best feedback I can get to better manage member experience.
Hershey Country Club, Hershey, PA:
General manager Ned Graff
1) We have been utilizing ClubIQ since March 23, so we have been able to survey our entire membership within the past 90 days. It’s a great opportunity to benchmark our performance moving from our off-season into the height of our season. We have been fortunate to see relatively good numbers thus far, but have used ClubIQ to both work with the board on trends, as well as use the results to motivate our team either to improve scores or show how their hard work has paid off.
2) Our membership has been very responsive to the survey with our participation being in the 40 percentile of taking the survey. The opportunity to provide feedback each quarter verse our previous once per year has been extremely well received. It enables us to observe trends in survey results and look for opportunities enhance/modify our operations based on those responses.
3) We survey our 700 memberships once per quarter. One of the reasons we like ClubIQ is when they answer they have not used an area in the past 30 days, they do not get to answer the survey questions for that area. Our responses have greater meaning because it is a response from a member who has utilized that part of the club in a timely manner. In our old survey method, we had people comment on experiences they had three years ago.
4) Each of our department leaders receives the daily results of the survey. We individually look at those results and trends that come from those daily reports. Our leadership team meets once a month to discuss trends we are seeing, reviewing individual questions if we are seeing downward and upward trends. Either looking for opportunity or what we are doing that we are seeing the upward trend. Can we do the same in other areas of the club?
5) The responses and trends we are seeing through ClubIQ has helped use identify club use and participation through response rates. The ratings we are seeing has enabled us to see where our membership perceives different part of our club verse their experience which has been both a strong source for enhancing lower perception and addressing any challenges we may face in experience.
6) We review the results of the survey with our board each month. It has help us to show that the overall membership is pleased with the direction the club is moving and enables us to concentrate of the areas that are in need of our attention for improvement verses potentially changing our operations for a few people. It has helped us also confirm that changes we made from 2016 in golf course care is showing positive results in the surveys.
Other comments: I like the ability to utilize the BoardRoom magazine team to review and help understand trends and numbers that are derived from ClubIQ. Frank Gore and Jeff Briggs are very good at looking at the numbers and helping me to understand the numbers and seeing trends that we should utilize.
We implemented the use of WIGS that we were introduced to at the 2016 Distinguished Ideas Summit in Philadelphia from the leadership at Dessert Mountain. The results of ClubIQ are used in each area of the club as part of the scorecard to show how our team is performing for both our member’s experience as well as their perception of the club.
We have been extremely pleased with the use of ClubIQ as a strong tool to continue to enhance the Hershey Country Club experience for our membership. It has also provided us with a significant tool to improve the service culture in our staff.
San Luis Obispo Country Club, San Luis Osbispo, CA:
General manager David Stocke,
Janelle Meyer, membership and communications manager
1) We have enjoyed using ClubIQ as a portal to our member’s thoughts. The daily reports are easy to read. Each week we can monitor satisfactory levels by department.
2) We have received mostly positive feedback from our membership. They feel like they are being included in the overall performance of their club. Being anonymous gives the members freedom to answer how they are really feeling.
3) Each of our department heads have a chance to see where their departments are being rated by members.
4) With the rating response of each question, we can make adjustments to improve the member experience at the club, creating more impressive events and special moments for the members to enjoy.
5) Yes, we do take into consideration the numbers that are being reported by our members. We are fortunate that our NPS has remained steady and that listening to our members keeps them happy with their club. When the members have a voice, they feel more engaged at the club, which in turn increases their participation.
6) With the reports being in real time, we can quickly adjust any areas that we see a dip in performance or when an area is outperforming and deserves kudos. It is a quick tool to share with department heads and the board for both positive feedback and opportunities to grow. This is beneficial to every member regardless if they take the survey or not. BR