Construction isn’t the only behind the scenes work being done to prepare for the opening of Champions Club at The Marq Southlake. City staff have been examining every aspect of the customer experience to ensure the highest level of customer service is provided to members, starting with the membership purchasing process.
Within four weeks of membership sales starting, the Champions Club team met their sales goal of more than 500 memberships. The team attributes part of the success to great team members and using the Lean Six Sigma method to develop a customer-centric sales process.
Several months ago, a City team made of representatives from several departments started evaluating the membership sales process. The team led by City Librarian Cynthia Pfledderer, included staff from Public Works, the Office of Marketing and Communications, Community Services events team and The Marq.
“We were tasked with taking a very complex system with multiple layers of steps and making it into a simple process that would engage the customer,” Pfledderer noted. “This is the very first interaction Champions Club members will have, we wanted to make sure it was a positive one that left them excited to use the facility once it opens.”
Using the Lean Six Sigma process methodology that is dependent on a collaborative team effort to improve a system by removing the “waste” and “variation,” the team first evaluated the membership buying process as provided by the membership management software.
“Initially the process took anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to complete,” noted Pfledderer. “It was a little confusing, in that before you could purchase the membership you first had to create an account. Every step led you to a new page.”
Working with internal test subjects, the team solicited feedback and made improvements to the system.
“We gave people in our departments fake credit card numbers, the link to the test site and said, go buy a membership and tell us what you think,” said Pfledderer. “It was a good exercise and the feedback was invaluable.”
The team also reached out to the Community Engagement Committee (CEC), a citizen committee appointed by City Council, who often serves as a focus group for feedback on City initiatives and projects.
“All the feedback was fantastic, especially the resident feedback from the CEC. They’re really our target audience in this process,” said Community Services Deputy Director Kate Meacham. “We were able to work with our vendor to customize the system to the best of its abilities and fit our needs. At the end of the day we were able to get to about a five minute process from start to finish.”
Both Pfledderer and Meacham attribute the Lean Six Sigma process as a large contributor to the success of the membership sales campaign and high customer satisfaction.
“Ultimately this team approach the City took with the Lean process, helped us to ensure the solutions we found actively met the demand of the customer,” said Pfledderer. “There was a lot of thought that went into the process before we even got to the process improvement part. We wanted to make this as seamless of a process as possible.”
Meacham agreed. “Going from a multiple page, several long-minute process, down to a single page, easy-to-find process you can do in five minutes or less, is huge for us,” she noted. “It’s always our goal to provide the best experience possible and this helped us achieve that.”
Next for the team, is to evaluate the entire guest experience at Champions Club. They will be looking at how guests are met at the front desk, when a guest calls or emails and the interaction they receive on social media.
“We’re just as excited as residents are to open and we want to make sure they have the best possible experience as soon as they walk in the doors of Champions Club,” said Meacham. “Southlake is a great community, we want our guests to feel welcome and at home when they spend time with us.”