The most important customers are not the ones you gain, but the ones you keep.
It’s a whole other thing to understand who is really listening and what they care about. Numbers and traffic are nice to have and even nicer to talk about, but they mean nothing without engagement, building a relationship and being relevant to them.
“Reaching” people (open your emails) is not the same as “impact” (number of people who reserved a lane or reacted to your email or Facebook or instagram or twitter announcement).
And the flip side is that the customers you keep are not just choosing you—you are also choosing them. The fact that you make this choice means you get to do your best work and not the watered down version for people who might care someday.
The foundation of your business is built on today, not some day and your work is too important to be diluted so that it appeals to everyone.
So decide who for and who you are for. Then be for them and not just for anyone.
If you’re business is now more open play then league, but league play is still important then you have two important types of customers. Make sure you are able to impact them in a way that is meaningful to them.
For example, many proprietors have a league benefit package. Yet inside of their center, there is no mention of it. Worse, the league bowlers aren’t really aware of it and even worse, it hasn’t changed in years. Has anyone asked their winter or summer league bowler what a relevant benefit package could be?
How about your open play bowlers? Do you let them reserve lanes on line? My estimation is less than 20% of centers have an automated reservation system that they use. I might be wrong, but that’s my estimate. There are some proprietors that still don’t take reservations at all!
I am sure that modern scoring systems from Brunswick’s SYNC to AMF’s BES have these features. And other scoring manufacturers have these as well. I just wonder if anybody has told their customer that they can reserve a lane on line.
Restaurants take reservations on line “OPEN TABLE” and you can buy movie tickets on line “FANDANGO.” Why doesn’t bowling have a system like that?
Ed Kinsley who owns North Bowl in N. Attleboro MA has been ahead of the technology curve for years. He has three reservation systems and he told me that this past holiday season, it was nice to wake up in the morning and see how much party business he booked in the past day. And boy did his customers love it.
Here’s what ED said on December 31, 2017. 8:12 AM
I was thinking of you and wanted to say that I think something you should share with your clients is the importance of online reservations in today’s world. As you can see on the screen there was a flood of reservations for New Year’s yesterday. They continued booking long after I went to sleep. With both bowling centers going full tilt for Christmas vacation, we never could have captured all the orders we did over the phone and we would have frustrated many of the customers who did try to book by putting them on hold or taking too long to call back. This week, between lane reservations, New Years and birthday parties we have done about 150 transactions online for approximately $15,000. Obviously that is not a normal week but it underscores the importance of creating online booking pathways through whatever means will work for the bowling center. We actually use 3 different systems for different types of reservations. Anyway, I just thought it was something you might be interested in and I hope you have a Happy New Year.