I’ve heard people say putting is 50 percent technique and 50 percent mental. I really believe it is 50 percent technique and 90 percent positive thinking, see, but that adds up to 140 percent, which is why nobody is 100 percent sure how to putt.
– Chi Chi Rodriguez
The single biggest driver of stickiness, by far, was “decision simplicity” — Harvard Business Review, “To Keep Your Customers, Keep it Simple.”
I don’t recommend playing golf if you have a remotely OCD or addictive or obsessive or solipsistic personality (however I do recommend playing if you’re in to self-improvement–I’ve never played a sport that is so instructive in that regard). You find yourself playing for the two or three split seconds when the club strikes the ball perfectly, crisply. Language falters at that moment. You just know it happened and that it’s gone. Then you chase the dragon and fall in love with the pursuit. For guys like me tt’s impossible to perfect.
My grandmother always said: “Drive for show and putt for dough.” Putting is hard work. And because you use the putter more than any other club in your bag it’s important to be a better putter than, say, a big hitter. I use my putter three times more than my driver. So when my putter started making a weird noise it wasn’t good. I’m already a master at bogey and double bogey golf. A funky putter wasn’t going to help.
The local pro thought the noise was from loose epoxy or something in the shaft of the club. His assistant volunteered to take the putter apart. Another pro recommended I call Callaway. His suggestion illustrated a critical point of doing business: keep it simple and earn loyal customers.
I called Callaway. The service was incredible. A gentleman answered the call on the second ring. His tone was easy, friendly, concerned, and familiar. He apologized for the problem and thanked me for calling. He sounded genuinely interested in helping! Here’s what he didn’t do: make it difficult. He didn’t ask me questions like: “Did you buy the putter from an authorized Callaway dealer?” or “Did you always keep the putter in the protective cover?” or “Are you sure it’s an authentic Callaway product?” He didn’t tell me that the putter was not under warranty or that it was no longer in stock. The CSR eliminated all of the potential friction:
“I’ll ship a new putter to you today. Once it gets there send the defective putter to us. No charge. By the way, are you ok if we send you the new 2017 model?”
A new putter arrived three days later. Flawless customer service. Simple customer service. A win-win solution.
Customer service is the crucible at which a company’s claims and missions and values are tested. Many companies talk about putting the customer first or being customer-centric. Not as many companies practice what they preach. Difficult customer service erodes customer loyalty. Simple customer service improves it significantly. When it’s time to buy a new set of clubs I’ll certainly look at Callaway. Aren’t they also benefiting from a little free press as well?
Simple service, empathetic interactions, win-win solutions, and fast follow-up. Sometimes the secret ingredients to improve service and sales aren’t that secret. Keep it simple.