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Why should a club invest in staff knowledge and training for its technology systems?

Clubs are unique within the hospitality world, offering a multitude of services under one roof that would normally be delivered by multiple stand-alone service providers. When you combine this specialized offering with the need to optimize and standardize service levels throughout an entire property, clubs often find themselves with a unique technology challenge. This challenge requires a vast array of specialized capabilities all focused on a single data point—the member.

Whether your club has sourced multiple systems or partnered with a single solution vendor to address your technology needs, the rubber meets the road when technology is placed users’ hands. This is when technology either enhances or inhibits service and members are either delighted or disappointed. It’s with this in mind that it’s disheartening to know that most technology solutions in use at businesses are underutilized, and we don’t need to look at club technology systems to find an example that we can all relate to.

Most of us would comfortably reply “yes” when asked if we know how to use Microsoft Excel. However, often when speaking at industry events, I use a simple example where an audience volunteer is asked to combine words in multiple cells into a string of text in a single cell. The command in Microsoft Excel is “CONCATENATE” and it performs the function very well, but the knowledge of even this simple and very useful command is often unknown.

This example of Microsoft Excel barely scratches the surface of its available functionality, but it perfectly highlights how we all use technology. We typically only use the features and functions we need in order to accomplish our daily tasks, and rarely if ever do we examine the technology we use every day to try to find better ways to accomplish our tasks. What is worse is that many of us are never formally trained in the technology we use, instead relying on notes and crash courses offered to us by colleagues to get us through our days. But when the technology we are relying on is responsible not just for crunching numbers, but for enhancing or delivering service experiences, this underutilization can become very troublesome.

Much like the Microsoft Excel example, leveraging more of your technology feature set isn’t about adding more to someone’s daily tasks, it’s about working smarter and allowing staff to optimize the technology features at their disposal. This often comes by way of ensuring that systems are configured to meet your current operations, not those of your club 10 years ago. Even in the case where systems have been in place for years, updates, enhancements and new configurations are likely available to unlock a host of new potential. This ongoing updating and streamlining of your technology is an essential part of keeping staff on the cutting edge of service delivery.

This has never been more relevant than during the current staffing shortage. Right now, hospitality industry workers are leaving their jobs at twice the rate of other industries, and new staff are being asked to hit the ground running. Ensuring new staff receive effective technology training is vital as it ensures a high level of member service and will help prevent frustration in their new roles.

Annual and semi-annual staff training is becoming more popular as club technology stretches further from the back office and into members’ hands. To compliment this training, many clubs are creating staff portals where team members can access HR and business documentation as well as resources from their technology providers. Lastly, adding new staff to your technology service providers’ communication channels such as email, YouTube or LinkedIn is effective for getting up to speed and staying informed.

Often, only those of us who work for technology companies who wake up every day thinking about how to optimize technology, but a small, regular investment of time can make all the difference at your club.

As for myself, now that I’ve given away my long relied upon Microsoft Excel example, I’m off to find another example for my next presentation.

Can anyone show me how to do a VLOOKUP?

Trevor Coughlan is vice president, marketing at Jonas Club Software. He can be reached at [email protected].