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River Bend owes customers apology over coupon book

Re: Andrew Gilchrist’s letter to the editor on Tuesday, July 22.

I have golfed regularly at River Bend since 1989, and as a pass holder for a number of years after I retired. Along with several of my golfing buddies, I have chosen not to golf regularly there any longer. The golf course is a terrific layout and is in beautiful condition this year! So it is not because of the course that we have gone elsewhere.

I agree with the concerns expressed in Jane White’s letter to the editor (July 18), as I had the same unfortunate experiences regarding the Tee-Off Coupon Book. My friends and I were even told rather heatedly by the director of golf that if we had concerns, we should address them to the company that published the book! Having spent a career working with and training not-for-profit boards, I believe that an organization is ultimately responsible for advertising using their logo. If this coupon book went out without their approval, it surely is not the customers’ responsibility.

The coupon book concern is only one of many issues. Gilchrist’s comprehensive letter provides some examples of why River Bend’s reputation is suffering measurably. He defends the organization throughout, while strongly questioning the perspectives of his customers! Everything is someone else’s responsibility. He professes excellence in customer service, but wishing does not make it so. The letter does not seek to build good will with customers.

— Where is the apology to customers who have been misled by the coupon mix-up?

— Where are the assurances that this oversight on the printed information will be corrected and will not happen again?

— Where is the thanks to a customer for expressing her concerns?

— Where is the wish that she will return for a positive River Bend golf experience?

These omissions clearly demonstrate that Gilchrist and his senior staff have created an organizational culture that is not customer-centred. Many of the staff (not all!), from senior staff to the clubhouse workers to the on-course marshals and the course maintenance staff, seem to not fully understand their roles in supporting positive golf experiences for their customers.

Until considerable effort is dedicated to building a strong culture of customer service, in an increasingly competitive golf market, a fine facility will continue to lose support.

The society board and the City of Red Deer would be wise to monitor this operation with care.

I intended to follow Gilchrist’s invitation to send this letter to the River Bend Golf and Recreation Society Board as stipulated in Policy 4.2, but the website provides no mailing address or email address to communicate directly with the board. Instead, I have sent it to Dianne Wintjes, city council representative to the board.

Darrel Morrow

Red Deer

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