Category Archives: Client Cases

ProAgenda.com news release Silvermere install February 2017

Silvermere’s 15 teaching professionals now use ProAgenda.com

The UK’s most successful golf centre, retail and teaching operation has chosen the market leading online diary and lesson booking system, ProAgenda.com, for its team of 15 teaching professionals

15 of Silvermere’s teaching professionals are now using a brand new online diary and lesson booking system, checking in with their customers whenever they want on their iPads and mobile phones to see who and when they’re teaching.

It’s been developed over the past eight years by Amsterdam based developers ProAgenda.com, and last year alone it was installed by 30 new customers in the UK for nearly 100 teaching professionals.

Director Terry Sims explains: “Not so long ago we were using paper based systems, and then we started using a modified online tee time booking app from BRS Golf. But with mobile technology developing so rapidly, we were acutely aware that tailor-made lesson booking diary apps for teaching professionals were becoming available, and so we looked at three of the best contenders.”

Sims continues: “We particularly wanted a system that handled lesson booking, that could manage all the diaries for our 15 professional staff at the same time, while also offering them a communications facility as well so each pro could communicate with each of their customers and vice versa.”

The value of this particular feature was made very clear by teaching pro Paul Martin of LeftHandedGolf, the niche business at Silvermere. Upstairs in the second tier of bays, a message came through to check with him about the timing of a customer’s lesson, and as Martin was going to be unable to get back in time for a particular slot, he was able to move it into a more suitable time 30 minutes later.

All that was done in a few seconds using his smartphone and his ProAgenda.com lesson diary. As Martin said, “This sort of thing used to be a nightmare, finding you’d been booked by someone on reception who didn’t know you couldn’t make that particular lesson on time. ProAgenda.com means we can all look after our customers much better, and completely avoid the risk of late shows which everyone hates.”

For Sims the choice of lesson diary and booking app was very clear, as he explains: “After looking at each system in depth, the basic drawbacks of two of them became very clear while one was way out in front: ProAgenda.com. Unsurprising really – the guy behind it, Bob Kruijs, used to be a teaching professional, so he’s naturally understood everything any teaching pro ever needed in an online lesson diary.”

ProAgenda.com has a major advantage over their competitors as well, as Sims outlines: “I really liked the fact that ProAgenda.com’s been developed over the past eight years and so its design incorporates everything they’ve learnt from their customers – that’s well over 200 in The Netherlands alone – and they’ve designed all this into their latest version of the system we’re now using. To me, that makes ProAgenda.com fundamentally a better and far more reliable choice of technology for a very challenging retail and teaching operation like Silvermere.”

Sims mentions some of the details he particularly likes: “For example, ProAgenda.com doesn’t try to be a bank that holds the money paid for a lesson. It can be enabled to take payments via a merchant account, but our retail strategy requires that customers come into the shop and pay, and ProAgaenda.com works in the way we want – it doesn’t force us to change to their way of doing things.”

“Another feature I love is the ability to shuffle each of the 15 professionals’ diaries at will. We operate a rotation system so that if someone comes to book a lesson and they haven’t already selected one of our team, we can allocate him or more likely her to whoever is the next teaching pro in the ‘queue’.”

“It’s also easy to upload the recordings of lesson videos and flight tracking data from our own systems into each customer’s account, so they can see the things they’ve been taught, or even send us videos of their swings in between times for the teaching pro to make comments on. ProAgenda.com really has thought of everything!”

When it came to learning and training, Sims saw another advantage of choosing the ProAgenda.com team, as he says: “Once they’d got their heads round it, our teaching staff found it easy to learn as it’s pretty intuitive, and the ProAgenda.com team’s training is excellent. Over the five or six sessions we needed for all 15 of our professionals, Bob Kruijs and Jordy Hagedooren were amazingly patient and wouldn’t leave until they were happy that we’d all learned how to use ProAgenda.com properly.

Likewise, as someone who runs one of the UK’s most successful golf centre operations, Sims’s views on the comparative costs are revealing: “The cost of ProAgenda.com is competitive and in my opinion much fairer to each of our 15 professionals than one of the other systems, and while cost is less important than reliability and effectiveness at Silvermere, it’s nice to know that it’s not going to take an unfair amount off our teaching professionals’ lesson revenues.”

Sims found the decision to go with ProAgenda.com straightforward, as he points out: “Once we’d seen the demo, there was no comparison. All three apps look good upfront, but when you drill down into the features, ProAgenda.com is remarkably rich and multi-facted. They’ve already solved all the problems that have arisen over the eight or so years it’s been marketed in The Netherlands. So I’m very glad they’re now marketing ProAgenda.com in the UK.”

“Couldn’t be happier!” Top teaching pro Gareth Johnston gets ProAgenda.com

Calcot Park’s PGA Head Professional and Director of Golf Gareth Johnston switches over to ProAgenda.com, and explains why he now knows it’s the best decision he could have made.

With well over 400 students in his diary and database, Gareth Johnston is teaching for seven and more hours a day, five days a week and unsurprisingly time is a very precious commodity to him. Besides the teaching time, he’s also having to find time to organise everything, and as anyone who uses paper diaries and ‘phones to do it, agreeing a time and date that’s convenient with a customer/student is rarely just a matter of a couple of minutes.

The drawbacks of the printed diary

Johnston’s been using a paper diary ever since he started teaching as a full time PGA Professional, and was used to having 100% control over all his diary arrangements. But as things got progressively busier, he also found he’d be working into the evening dealing with the admin. If it couldn’t be done by then, it meant there would be that much more to do the next morning.

Then there was the time taken by the simple e-mail or text exchanges to work out a time and date that worked for both the student and Johnston, typically starting with a time and date that the student wanted, but which on checking his diary Johnston would find he was busy and so they needed to try a different time/date etc. “This usually meant at least three or four messages both ways, all of which you can’t deal with while you’re teaching!” explains Johnston.

When Gareth was told about the ProAgenda.com lesson booking software system, and how it would enable his students to check his diary online and book the times that were available, Johnston realised it could be the 21st century solution to his diary management issues. Even better, being online they could do this at any time or place 24/7 without needing to take any of Johnston’s time either, meaning he could spend more time for other things like his young family.

A 21st century online solution

So a demo was arranged with Guy Woodman, ProAgenda.com’s man in the UK, and Bob Kruijs, one of the directors from Amsterdam, and within a short space of time Johnston saw that their online diary was going to be exactly what he needed. He signed up there and then for the branded version called Academy, so that his online diary would fit seamlessly with all his other online collateral, website etc.

What’s it like for a new user?

Johnston’s now had the ProAgenda.com system in the Academy package for just over five weeks, so what does he think of it now? Johnston explains: “One immediate benefit is that I can now see and do everything in terms of lessons on my iPhone, which of course is with me all the time, whereas the old paper diary stayed in the shop.

Booking online saves time and improves customer service
“The next point I’d make is that now with ProAgenda.com, any one of my students can book a lesson with me without having to call or visit the shop, or take up any of my time or that of my assistants. When there’s one person running the shop while I’m out teaching – and I’m teaching between eight and 11 lessons every day – a ‘phonecall may well be interrupting a sale with another customer or member.

“If that call is about a lesson and taking several minutes to agree and organise, your customer’s standing around feeling that no-one’s looking after them, and they may need to be getting out onto the first tee for a particular time. That’s not good service. But with ProAgenda.com, that problem’s pretty well eliminated and you can focus on your customers. That’s great service.”

“The time saving factor’s massive. I’m already very busy every day with teaching, but now all time spent setting up the lesson bookings is being done online by my students, and all I have to do is check my iPhone every now and then to see what my diary’s looking like. I can easily do this out on the range or wherever I happen to be, any time I need to, which is rarely ever in the Pro Shop!”

“So for what isn’t a big investment, ProAgenda.com’s saving me a lot of valuable time.”

Makes you look even more professional

Johnston’s noticed other benefits as well. “Another point I’d make is how good the ProAgenda.com’s pages look on-screen. They look highly professional, while being branded in my Calcot Park colours etc. The diary doesn’t just look like it’s been lifted from Outlook, which a number of the other booking systems do.”

Setting up is easy, training is first class

Deciding to get new software is one thing, but setting it all up is another. Although the training is usually done in the UK at the customer’s facility, on this occasion Johnston opted to go to the ProAgenda.com offices in Amsterdam. A great way to spend a couple of days, but what did Johnston think of their training?

He says: “As part of the deal, although I could have done it in the UK, I went over to The Netherlands to meet with Bob and Jordy who would help me with setting up my version of ProAgenda.com. This was over two days and was a very good experience anyway, but it’s hard to imagine any other supplier happy to go to these lengths to keep their customers happy and fully trained up.”

“The first step, transferring all my students’ contact details database, was all very simple. Like many other PGA Professionals, I’ve been using the GASP and ‘Golf’s the Game’ system for teaching swing improvement, and this had my database of 400-500 students’ contact details. As part of the setting up, Jordy extracted it and loaded it onto my new ProAgenda.com system, so that saved me a lot of trouble as well!”

“The whole training process going through all the features of ProAgenda.com, was really good. It took around six hours on the first day to set up all my appointments throughout the next 12 months, and then the next day was spent double checking everything along with first hand training from Bob and Jordy.”

“The net result was that I came away fully geared up and ready to hit the ground running. It’s a very intuitive system, and so far I haven’t found myself halfway through something and having to call and ask what I do next!”

Time to tell everyone

Johnston had a surprise when he checked his diary for the first time. “Once everything was ready, we talked about launching my new ProAgenda.com to all my students, and while I was setting that up I saw that four of my regulars had already booked lessons online! That really impressed me, as they’d proven to me that it’s a very customer-friendly piece of software design.

ProAgenda.com’s feature-rich, so which of the new features is he starting to use the most? “I also like using the video (of their swings) upload feature,” he says, “making, sending and sharing my notes with them. That’s incredibly useful, and creates a whole new aspect to the service I provide my students. I feel that much closer to them, and likewise, my regulars feel that much closer to me. I’m effectively on tap whenever they want to send me a message.”

What do the students and customers think of ProAgenda.com?

This is perhaps the one biggest benefit for Johnston, aside of the time saving. “My students love the new ProAgenda.com system.”, he comments. “I’ve already got some 50 to 60 using it on a regular basis to make bookings, and they’re doing it at all sorts of times of the day and night as well. I’ve had a lot of feedback saying how easy it is for them to use, and how much better it is than calling between 8am and 5pm to try to agree a time and date – now they can pick whenever they see I’m available.

Coming soon: online payment

This is a new feature for the UK customers that Johnston’s just learnt about, and he’s very keen to start using it. “To learn that the boys back in Amsterdam are just about to announce that UK users can now pay online for their lessons as well, is fantastic news, and I’ve no doubt that this will make an even bigger impression on all my students. I imagine it will also make my financial administration significantly easier as well, and I should be able to see the projections of each month’s or quarter’s income.

Summary: “Couldn’t be happier!”

How does Johnston sum up his latest business and communications tool? As he puts it: “Overall, getting the ProAgenda.com system has been a great decision, and it’s obvious that it’s impressing my students and customers as much as it has me, because it’s so easy for them to book their lessons at the time that suits both of us.”

“Thanks to ProAgenda.com and the chaps in Amsterdam I can focus my teaching time, check my diary wherever I am, and I’ve now got quite a lot more of my precious time back, time that I can spend with my growing family, and so I couldn’t be happier.”

To see how we implement our system in the website check www.garethjohnstongolf.com

Client case: ProAgenda.com helps MY Golf Academy save time and maximise income

ProAgenda.com helps MY Golf Academy save time and maximise income

As well as being an unrivalled lesson booking tool for golf coaches and their customers, Mike Yorke rates ProAgenda.com as a terrific business tool for helping him manage MY Golf Academy more efficiently.

One of the UK’s most successful golf coaching entrepreneurs, Mike Yorke’s MY Golf Academy is a highly successful golf teaching business that has evolved into a successful brand. So it’s hugely significant that Yorke has been using ProAgenda.com’s MultiPro online diary and lesson booking system for 12 months, and he rates it as the best time management and marketing tool in his bag.

MY Golf Academy: a busy brand working with thousands of golfers

Yorke’s coaching business now operates from five golf clubs and centres, including Horne Park, Horsham Golf & Fitness, Slinfold, Rookwood and Foxbridge, with 10 self employed PGA qualified teaching professionals tasked with improving the swings of thousands of golfers.

In short, MY Golf Academy is very busy, as Yorke put it, “As an Academy, we can typically be delivering over 400 hours of coaching a week, the formats of which range from:

– 30, 45, 60, 90 or 120 minute lessons with, or without, Trackman

– Roll up groups for seniors, ladies, juniors

– Structured groups – ladies, juniors and Get Into Golf

– Playing lessons

– After school golf classes and/or holiday camps

– Custom fit sessions

– and Putting Studio sessions.”

In addition to all the normal day to day golf coaching business, Mike’s also developing and managing major schools outreach programmes, as he explains, “We’re working with up to 20 schools a week through after school clubs, or as part of their sports curriculum, or even Sports Day events,”, he said, “and it’s our goal to make golf much bigger in schools, and turn it into one of their major sports.”

Finding the right online diary system

For Yorke, managing five golf coaching facilities is a full time job in itself, and to keep costs down and focus his time effectively, he started looking around for an online diary and lesson booking system two years ago, but nothing he saw ticked all the boxes he wanted the software to deliver.

“The few I looked at were visually poor anyway,” he said, “and as a business, we’ve spent a lot of time and money on our branding. So when people landed on our website, we wanted them to see on screen something that looked every bit as professional as our branding and indeed that of our parent clubs.”

“At the time we were using an offline diary system, which wasn’t ideal but it was miles better than a paper-based diary, as we could back it up but we didn’t like the support that came with it.”

“We came across ProAgenda.com when we signing up our newest site at that point, Slinfold G&CC in March 2015. They made it clear that they wanted us to be able to offer their members a modern, cutting edge online diary system for lesson booking, and after speaking and meeting with Bob Kruijs of ProAgenda.com, the software was set up for MY Golf Academy in April 2015.”

How the MultiPro version works

Yorke uses the specially designed MultiPro version of the ProAgenda.com software, which lets him and the 10 teaching professionals each run their own diaries, and everyone can see each and every diary, the bookings and so on. It was very important to Yorke to get the version of ProAgenda.com that’s branded with his own MY Golf Academy brand identity ie. logo, typefaces, corporate colourways and so on.

As he comments, “It was at this point I began to see more clearly how important it was for our online diary and lesson booking system to match the clubs and centres own online professionalism in terms of design, appearance and functionality.”

He continues, “That said, we also needed a system that worked for up to ten coaches’ diaries and which also let me see the overall situation as well. ProAgenda.com was the only system that satisfied that key criteria.”

“In fact, with ProAgenda.com, we can easily expand the number of sites operating under the MY Golf Academy brand now, while we’ve also got something that’s highly professional and looks the business to any other potential club owner or operator and their customers or members.”

ProAgenda’ com’s online diary as a time management tool

The main benefit for Yorke, as someone who’s managing the diaries of 10 teaching professionals at five different sites, is that he can immediately see what everyone’s doing at any time.

Yorke can then set up meetings with any or all of his 10 teaching professionals simply by booking a time in their diaries, because he can see straightaway when everyone is available, and when they’re not.

Yorke explains, “Before, I had to send out an e-mail to ten people and wait for their response to book a meeting. Now I can do exactly the same thing immediately, while at the same time everyone will see that they’ve now got a meeting to come to at such and such a time on whatever day I’ve picked. That kind of efficiency saves me a lot of valuable admin and management time.”

“All I had to do is to get my teaching staff checking their diaries frequently to see what had been updated or changed. Now they are used to regularly looking to see if they’ve got more lessons, so that aspect is nicely ingrained now.”

“At the same time, I can be on the ‘phone to someone and we can both look at our ProAgenda diary screens and be able to agree times and dates for whatever it is we’re discussing. That’s another benefit which makes things easier all round.”

ProAgenda.com as a marketing tool

Yorke particularly likes the way the online diary gives him an immediate overview of the way the bookings are going at each facility. This enables him to generate special promotions to attract additional business in the quieter periods, as he explains.

“Of course, the ProAgenda.com online diary also shows me within seconds the busy periods looking ahead, and the not so busy periods. That enables me to run special offers to our customer database to build up business in those quiet times. Trying to do all that without ProAgenda.com would be next to impossible, and extremely time consuming, for just one centre, let alone five of them. As it is, ProAgenda.com means one person – usually me! – can do that in minutes.”

Proagenda.com as a communications tool

Besides being an online diary and lesson booking system, ProAgenda.com is of course also a database that captures every customer’s details. MY Golf Academy has nearly 700 names and related contact details for the 10 teaching professionals across the five sites. So e-shotting the database with special offers is also simplicity itself.

It’s the sheer ease and simplicity of organising the day to day activities that so impresses Yorke, especially as he’s been used to doing things using paper and then offline software. “I love the way in which I can monitor and coordinate our business activities now with ProAgenda.com,” he says, “and as it’s online and working via the cloud, it’s always updating itself anyway, and backing itself up automatically. It all helps to make managing MY Golf Academy that much easier, especially as we’re spread across five different sites now.”

What do MY Golf Academy customers think about ProAgenda.com?

Yorke’s confidence in ProAgenda.com doesn’t just stem from his own experience of it, but from what his customers think of it and the way they use it.

This has created a lot of added brand value for MY Golf Academy, as he explains, “The vast majority love the ease with which they can now make a booking with any one of us. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 10 o’clock at night or 2am in the morning. And I’m not joking either. In this area around Horsham and being close to Gatwick and London, many of our customers work shifts so we have to be ‘open’ 24/7 when it’s convenient for them, which of course, we are.”

“As a result, MY Golf Academy gives our customers a five star service to our 21st century customers, and their feedback about ProAgenda.com is overwhelmingly positive.”

“One of the best features is the e-mail confirmations. It’s simple but with the kind of busy working and lifestyles we all lead, it’s a terrific feature that not only makes MY Golf Academy look highly professional in terms of our service and the way we look after our customers, but it’s massively cut down the no shows as well, boosting our sales income as a result.”

“Another sales booster is the ease with which another lesson can be booked with the customer while they’re on site or on the range. We encourage our customers to go into their own diaries and then use our re-booking feature, which is another time saver for us.”

“What this all adds up to is that as the business owner, I want my teaching pros out teaching, not having to spend any time doing admin. ProAgenda.com takes care of all their admin, and all they have to do is check their diaries on their smartphones or tablets, while it simultaneously maximises their teaching opportunities for them.

Terrific support and development

Yorke earlier touched on the issues of finding a system that provided top notch support, and he can’t stress enough how good ProAgenda.com is in this respect, as he explains, “I’ve been mailed by competitors who didn’t bother to follow up their promise of a presentation. I’ve been told that ‘it’s being developed’ only to see that nothing actually happens.”

He continues, “ProAgenda.com’s completely different. ProAgenda.com’s very progressive and that’s down to Bob Kruijs. He’s always ready to listen to us and our ideas to improve things, and to develop ProAgenda.com as a product. He’s never one to let the grass grow under his feet.

Bob Kruijs: the man behind ProAgenda.com in more ways than one

“Here’s the other thing,” says Yorke, “Bob’s also been a teaching pro, a PGA member and a pretty useful golfer, and a real character in his own right. His teaching background means he really understands me and my team, and likewise, we can all relate to Bob. The guys here all liked him from the off, and that even includes Bob’s sense of humour, which is pretty dry and direct!”

Nowadays, it’s only the occasional catch up that we need, because the system’s bullet proof and we know they’re developing new features we’ve asked for, like paying for lessons when you book them, online. We’ve got a refresher lined up as well, as we’re using some of the main features, but there’s quite a few others we aren’t and which could help improve things and make our working lives that little bit easier still.”

The importance of working offline as well as online

One of the results of that attitude is that ProAgenda.com works as well offline as it does online, and even when a coach is out on the range or course where the diary will work offline if it’s out of signal range, as soon as it gets a signal, everything that was noted or arranged in the diary is immediately updated.

Yorke rates this aspect very highly, saying, “In my opinion when you’re teaching golf, you simply can’t have something that doesn’t work offline as well as online. It’s this aspect that confirms for me that ProAgenda.com’s a modern solution for a modern coaching professional.

In some ways, the systems like your dentist is now. Once it had to be phone calls and so on, now it’s next appointments made before you leave, and an e-mail to remind you you’ve got an appointment in a day or so. In this sense, Yorke reckons that Bob Kruijs and Jordy Hagedooren created a system that’s light years ahead of their competitors.

“It’s also very low maintenance,” he explains, “in other words, it doesn’t keep on needing attention or constant calls to the support team, nor does it cost that much to support either by comparison to similar complex systems that involve booking and which are online.”

“That for me is very important when you’re running a business. You’ve got enough things to manage without needing software that keeps falling over, or failing to deliver on its promises. Yes, Bob’s over in Amsterdam, but he’s always happy to shoot over and help. When we were getting the ProAgenda.com system installed and set up, Bob came over two or three times in the space of as many weeks, looking after the training and support needs of all our staff.

‘Keeping my customers within the MY Golf Academy brand’

Looking ahead, Yorke can see that keeping their software up to date and exploiting new innovations like Edufii for video sharing will always present Bob and Jordy with a challenge.

As Yorke comments, “The ideal situation for me is to keep my customers within my brand, which effectively means within my website and ProAgenda.com. I don’t want then having to migrate to other apps to do things they could do within ProAgenda.com, and that’s something that Bob and Jordy really understand.

But of all the systems out there, ProAgenda’com’s the only one I’d trust to be able to do that, and deliver the benefits. Along with the offline capability, the professionalism of the design and screen appearance, the user-friendly functionality, the proof of which is the feedback from my staff and our customers, it’s value to us as a time saving business tool, its value as a communications tool for my customers, and the great support we get, that puts it miles ahead of the competition.”

“That’s why the overall package that ProAgenda.com offers both individual teaching professionals working in one place, and for Academy owners like myself with a lot of teaching pros and many more customers, is simply the best you can get.”