15 of Silvermere’s teaching professionals are now using a brand new online diary and lesson booking system, checking in with their customers whenever they want on their iPads and mobile phones to see who and when they’re teaching.
It’s been developed over the past eight years by Amsterdam based developers ProAgenda.com, and last year alone it was installed by 30 new customers in the UK for nearly 100 teaching professionals.
Director Terry Sims explains: “Not so long ago we were using paper based systems, and then we started using a modified online tee time booking app from BRS Golf. But with mobile technology developing so rapidly, we were acutely aware that tailor-made lesson booking diary apps for teaching professionals were becoming available, and so we looked at three of the best contenders.”
Sims continues: “We particularly wanted a system that handled lesson booking, that could manage all the diaries for our 15 professional staff at the same time, while also offering them a communications facility as well so each pro could communicate with each of their customers and vice versa.”
The value of this particular feature was made very clear by teaching pro Paul Martin of LeftHandedGolf, the niche business at Silvermere. Upstairs in the second tier of bays, a message came through to check with him about the timing of a customer’s lesson, and as Martin was going to be unable to get back in time for that particular slot, he was able to move it into a more suitable time 30 minutes later.
All that was done in a few seconds using his smartphone and his ProAgenda.com lesson diary. As Martin said, “This sort of thing used to be a nightmare, finding you’d been booked by someone on reception who didn’t know you couldn’t make that particular lesson on time. ProAgenda.com means we can all look after our customers much better, and completely avoid the risk of late shows which everyone hates.”
For Sims the choice of lesson diary and booking app was very clear, as he explains: “After looking at each system in depth, the basic drawbacks of two of them became very clear while one was way out in front: ProAgenda.com. Unsurprising really – the guy behind it, Bob Kruijs, used to be a teaching professional, so he’s naturally understood everything any teaching pro ever needed in an online lesson diary.”
ProAgenda.com has a major advantage over their competitors as well, as Sims outlines: “I really liked the fact that ProAgenda.com’s been developed over the past eight years and so its design incorporates everything they’ve learnt from their customers – that’s well over 200 in The Netherlands alone – and they’ve designed all this into their latest version of the system we’re now using. To me, that makes ProAgenda.com fundamentally a better and far more reliable choice of technology for a very challenging retail and teaching operation like Silvermere.”
Sims mentions some of the details he particularly likes: “For example, ProAgenda.com doesn’t try to be a bank that holds the money paid for a lesson. It can be enabled to take payments via a merchant account, but our retail strategy requires that customers come into the shop and pay, and ProAgaenda.com works in the way we want – it doesn’t force us to change to their way of doing things.”
“Another feature I love is the ability to shuffle each of the 15 professionals’ diaries at will. We operate a rotation system so that if someone comes to book a lesson and they haven’t already selected one of our team, we can allocate him or more likely her to whoever is the next teaching pro in the ‘queue’.”
“It’s also easy to upload the recordings of lesson videos and flight tracking data from our own systems into each customer’s account, so they can see the things they’ve been taught, or even send us videos of their swings in between times for the teaching pro to make comments on. ProAgenda.com really has thought of everything!”
When it came to learning and training, Sims saw another advantage of choosing the ProAgenda.com team, as he says: “Once they’d got their heads round it, our teaching staff found it easy to learn as it’s pretty intuitive, and the ProAgenda.com team’s training is excellent. Over the five or six sessions we needed for all 15 of our professionals, Bob Kruijs and Jordy Hagedooren were amazingly patient and wouldn’t leave until they were happy that we’d all learned how to use ProAgenda.com properly.
Likewise, as someone who runs one of the UK’s most successful golf centre operations, Sims’s views on the comparative costs are revealing: “The cost of ProAgenda.com is competitive and in my opinion much fairer to each of our 15 professionals than one of the other systems. While cost is less important than reliability and effectiveness at Silvermere, it’s nice to know that it’s not going to take an unfair amount off our teaching professionals’ lesson revenues.”
Sims found the decision to go with ProAgenda.com straightforward, as he points out: “Once we’d seen the demo, there was no comparison. All three apps look good upfront, but when you drill down into the features, ProAgenda.com is remarkably rich and multi-faceted. They’ve already solved all the problems that have arisen over the eight or so years it’s been marketed in The Netherlands. So I’m very glad they’re now marketing ProAgenda.com in the UK.”
Silvermere Golf www.silvermere-golf.co.uk