Mark Gore, general manager of Firestone Country Club, says that customer service is what is most important at the prestigious country club.
“What really sets us apart is when you ask people that have experienced it what’s special about this place, it's about the employees and what they created from an experience standpoint,” Gore says.
Firestone employs about 350 people and serves 950 members, and it is Gore’s main objective to make sure each and every employee provides the best possible customer service to anyone who walks onto the Firestone property.
“Our staff puts forth an effort to create warm welcomes, create magic moments and create a fond farewell,” Gore says. “That’s what we call our three steps to service. We try to portray that to every single person that comes to the club.”
Companies in the customer service industry strive to provide service that no one else can provide. Firestone encourages employees to consistently go above and beyond what their job titles say they should do as part of the club’s Star Recognition program. The program was designed to allow members, guests or other employees to recognize a Firestone employee who is deserving of being rewarded for providing great service. The employee being recognized earns points that accumulate year to year and gets rewarded accordingly.
“The STAR program is something that really holds them accountable and makes them want to provide the service,” Gore says. “We wanted to find something that was appropriate where we could reward and recognize all employees for good work habits. It’s about trying to keep your employees engaged and keep their morale up.”
The program is an ongoing recognition system for employees who are going the extra mile. Gore says that the recognition and reward are what encourage employees to continue that quality of service.
“You’ve got to stay positive and be somebody that’s smiling and doing the right things,” Gore says. “It doesn’t cost anything to walk up to an employee and shake their hand and say, ‘Thank you for a good day, thank you for what you did today and thank you for what you’re doing this year.’ It’s all about staying in front of it and recognizing them in front of their peers. I think that goes a long, long way.”
The members and guests at Firestone constantly ask how they can say thank you to employees who made their day at the club special and the Star program gives them an easy way to do it. It has proved to be a great way to keep employees coming back each year, as well.
“We’ve kept the staff pretty much in check,” Gore says. “We’ve had the same staff and haven’t had too much turnover and what turnover we have had, we’ve done a great job of bringing good people on.”
The executive and management team at Firestone also recognize employees for outstanding service whenever they get a chance or during employee meetings.
“You have to recognize that a compliment like that coming from an executive or a department head, especially in front of other people is huge,” Gore says. “The more you can do it and recognize good performance, the better your experiences will be and the better the service will be. It just gives the employee a warm feeling inside. In the service industry, if you can recognize your employees as much as you can, I think you’ll find that your results will be extraordinary.”
How to reach: Firestone Country Club, (330) 644-8441 or www.firestonecountryclub.com
Employees of Firestone Country Club understand that great customer service and an overall great golf experience is what people come for. The management team at Firestone appreciates the effort shown by employees and rewards them whenever possible.
“I think surveys have shown that people being recognized versus pay is more important to most people,” Gore says. “You’ve got to be recognizing people all the time and do it in front of other people. Communicate with your employees. You should recognize employees’ anniversaries, birthdays and accomplishments and give employees a chance to take advantage of company benefits. We let our employees bring a guest out to play golf. We have a nice employee golf outing series that gives an employee an opportunity to come out with a guest, have lunch and enjoy the day. Keeping them active in the club and recognizing them in tough times is the key. If you hide behind the door because you can’t deal with the day and deal with the staff because there is some grumbling, [that] isn’t the way to do it. You’ve got to nip it in the bud, be positive about it, smile and do the right things and recognize people for doing a good job.”