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The Open Opportunity

With all this excitement about The Open coming here in July, our Business Engagement Officer Joanne decided to go along to one of the WorldHost customer service training programmes earlier this week, to see for herself what it was all about and what she could possibly learn about golf, the golf followers, the entourage, indeed the opportunities presented by the event itself!

She hasn't stopped talking about it since. 

Here's Joanne in her own words........

 

Back to the (World) Classroom

I attended this course in Royal Portrush Golf Club on the most glorious sunny day last week.  Workmen were out in force, getting the building and grounds ready for The Open before the golfing world, players and fans alike, descend on this beautiful part of the world.  If we get a week of weather like that, wouldn't it be amazing! This event is expected to attract over 190 THOUSAND spectators from around the world, not to mention 500 journalists and 80 MILLION of a TV audience.  Who DOESN'T want to get ready for the economic benefits of that volume of attention!

So, onto the training itself.  Expertly and interestingly delivered by WorldHost Trainers Wendy Gallagher (Causeway Coast Foodie Tours)  and Steven Chambers (Chambers Consulting), we were motivated and enthused from the very start of the day, to embrace the opportunity that was coming in July.  Even the most ardent golf cynic couldn't help but be caught up in the enthusiasm of this dynamic duo. 

 

Customer Service is Key (to your Bottom Line!)

We began by watching a comical video about how to and how NOT to treat customers.  Seamus the taxi driver was an hilarious character, however he exists in real life, shattering all notions of customer service, not to mention a tip! One word. CRINGE!! But a point well made! Just go to the training for that alone!

This was a thoroughly interactive workshop, with a good balance of not-so-boring statistics (there's money to be made!) and anecdotal humour for good measure.  Whatever the method of learning, the serious message of providing excellent customer service was instilled in every single person in that room.

And we were almost moved to tears, watching the promotional video for the event. We've Come a Long Way, by Martin Stalker.  I challenge you not to well-up watching this.

 

Golfers, Courses and Competitions

Finally we were given a short talk by Gary McNeill, who has been the Head Professional at Royal Portrush Golf Club since 1999. We learned about the refurbishment plans, e.g. two holes are being repositioned as part of the preparations.  We also learned a bit of the history of Royal Portrush Golf Club and how The Open competitor field will be whittled down from 156 to one.  We even found out about golf handicaps, which, to me, was a bit like the offside rule..........it won't stop me being interested though! Because I've learned about the importance of golf tourism to our economy, even if I don't fully understand the game itself. Maybe I will play a round soon.

 

Main Learnings from my Golf Ambassador Training

I don't want to tell you EVERYTHING about the day, as I would hope you might take the course yourself.  However here are some of the main learnings, including inspirational quotes that I took away from the day, to whet your appetite:

  • The phrase WorldHost is a reference to being ready to "Host the World".   (AHA! Penny heard dropping.)  
  • There are business benefits to offering great customer service. These include repeat custom and referrals. 
  • Respond to people according to their individual needs.  If you don't cater for them, they'll go elsewhere or they will talk negatively about your business, all of which will affect your bottom line. 
  • "Customer service is the experience we deliver to our customer, It's the promise we keep to the customer, It's how we follow through for the customers,.  Its how we make them feel when they do business with us."   Shep Hyken, Motivational customer service speaker and author.
  • The door to opportunity is wide open, if you are prepared. Do your research on The Open, and be prepared to answer the same questions over and over, with the same smile as the first time you answered it. 
  • This is the BIGGEST tourism event ever to come to the island of Ireland. We are in the BIGGEST tourism centre outside of Belfast. Do not underestimate the business benefits of this opportunity to showcase our area to the World. 
  • A smile doesn't cost anything and may indeed increase your chances of upselling.  Smile, take initiative to speak first. 
  • Customers often now expect the same level of customer service via social channels, such as Twitter and Facebook. Are you ready?
  • Never assume loyalty because of brand, age or profile of company.  Treat everyone friendly and warm regardless of first impression.  We have influence over the impression, treatment and behaviour towards others. Make them all positive. 
  • "People will forget what you've said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  Maya Angelou, American author, poet and civil rights activist.

 

Joanne can be contacted at joanne.mclaughlin@causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk 

 

Want to Be Ready to Host the World?

Please let us know your interest in training, as we will add dates subject to demand.  Once we get a minimum 9 expressing interest, we can justify the course costs.

Wed 29th or Thursday 30th May 9.30am-2.30pm at Roe Park Resort https://worldhostgolf-roeparkresortlimavady.ya-yaonline.co.uk/

Further sessions may take place in evenings and at weekends - to express an interest in this please contact industry.development@tourismni.com