Covid-19: How Junkyard Golf improved customer service post-lockdown

The hospitality sector has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic and Junkyard Golf Club is no exception, having only just resumed trading this month across its five sites. The indoor crazy golf venue, beloved by hipsters, was expanding rapidly and had intended to open more sites this year - plans which are now on hold. 

But the last few months have still been a busy time for the business, which has been using  Zendesk's customer management software to continue to engage with customers during lockdown as well as using the data to help plan for reopening.

"We started with Zendesk last year. Before we had a clunky way of working where we'd get an email query and reply to customers – which would sometimes take 2-3 days even if they were just letting us know they were running late to the venue and stuck in traffic. And we'd log onto Facebook and Instagram manually and reply,"  Ruth Derry, customer service manager at Junkyard Golf tells Essential Retail. 

"We found we were chasing our tails constantly, which was why we decided to go for a ticketing software to collate all those channels... Facebook, live chat and email all in one interface," she says. 

"You can churn a lot of tickets very rapidly." Other features also allow the business to pre-populate emails with responses and bulk up tickets by searching for queries about lateness, for example, and send the same email response to several customers in one go. Live chat has also helped hugely, with up to 70% of enquires now coming through that channel. "We tend to push customers towards live chat chat first, as they can get a response in six minutes."

Open for business

During lockdown the business had constant contact from customers, who either wanted to be rebooked in for a later date or receive refunds. Derry says the tool allowed it to stay on top of those queries, gain an overview of the number of customers wanting a refund, and get a sense of the numbers it could expect to return once it reopened.

"Without it, we wouldn't have a clue. We'd be stabbing in the dark," she says. "Having those stats and data was crucial to making a proper plan going forward."

Naturally, the venue has changed to the experience prior to lockdown, with limited numbers, plastic screens and social distancing in place. "Before customers were checked in, got a wristband, grabbed a drink and then played on the course. Now we are limiting our customer contact in the venue," she says.

"They get tickets online and check in at desk – that is still the same. But when they get in they are seated and have to order a drink on the app via a QR code. That is with Good Eat, which is part of Good Tillthe company we use for our tilling system.

"The order goes to the bar and the bar creates the drinks. And then there are QR codes around the course, so we just have runners who are doing table service... as opposed to customers just queuing at the bar."

It also uses its Wi-Fi provider Wireless Social to handle the government's track and trace programme. "They are working with a company called Purple who do all the data protection. So the customer comes in, scans the code and puts their names in, with that information going to Wireless Social and Purple... so we done need to handle the  data."

A lot of planning went into the whole process of reopening she says.. "It's been a busy few months, but we're really glad to be open again."