As a club, your customers are your members – players and parents – and your spectators or fans. If you hire out a clubhouse or pitch, you’ll have additional customers to whom you provide a service. You need to look after this group carefully and make sure they feel part of the club too and come back again, by having clear tactics for speaking to them regularly and providing them with relevant information and a good experience.
1. Good customer care. Your customers are the reason you exist – your club provides a service to the community and you want this service to be the best it can possibly be. Your club should offer a consistent experience across different teams and treat every player and parent with the same respect. You may want to agree a commitment to customer service – with your players, parents and the local community – to show your club’s ethos, values and commitment.
2.New members. Think about how you welcome new members to your club and make sure they have a great first impression to ensure they come back. Do you always return calls and emails from interested players and parents within a couple of days? Are you able to meet parents at the first training session or match and explain what your club is about? Do you have the capacity for a new player coordinator or buddy system to help them through the first few sessions? You could even hold regular parent meetings to get ideas and involve them, this is also a great opportunity to recruit more volunteers to help out with the club.
3. Matchday experience. How welcoming is your club on a matchday to both ‘home’ players and fans and visiting teams – and their parents or fans? Are your pitches easy to find and well signposted? Try to have someone greet the opposing team and match officials. Can you offer refreshments and toilet facilities? Are the changing rooms as clean as they can be? You can also go to TheFA.com/Respect for help on implementing Respect to ensure a good atmosphere at all of your club’s matches.
4. Suggestions and complaints. Feedback is important to the running of your club. Make sure you allow your members to have a say on how your club is run, for example offering parents the chance to be on club committees or having a suggestion book at your clubhouse. Could you have a youth committee or forum so young players get to have their say on club matters? Do you have a known complaints procedure if anyone has an issue with how the club is run or if there is an incident? If you have youth teams, you are required to have a dedicated Welfare Officer to deal with any safeguarding children issues.
5. Database. In order to communicate with your members and/or fans, you will need to collect and store their data in a secure document, such as a spreadsheet. You need to ensure you keep to legal requirements for storing data and communicating with people. Click on the Creating and storing data document below for more details.
Consider also how you will communicate with your database. There are several different ways of keeping your members up-to-date and also using your database to promote matches and events. You could have a regular monthly e-newsletter or printed newsletter that is circulated to your database, or you may look to communicate differently with sections of your database – such as a dedicated Under-10s or youth section e-newsletter. You should make a decision on how often you will communicate, who will be responsible for pulling the relevant information together and sending it out, and ensure you stick to this timeline as irregular communication is not effective. You may find that monthly or quarterly updates will work best. Check out our Promotional materials section for advice and templates on club communications.