Small Business Makes ERP-POS Connection To Lower Customer Experience Handicap

Brian McPhail

For many small and midsize businesses, maintaining a winning edge over the competition is like playing golf. Like a golf score, no business is ever satisfied with its customer experience, especially when facing rivals that are supported by thousands of employees and generating billions in revenue.

There are so many things happening, from the first contact to the realization that a customer is a loyal advocate, that it’s hard to keep track of it all. Customer needs evolve, competitors’ strategies shift, and market dynamics change – all with a continuous, potentially threatening motion. Whether this cycle occurs over a matter of days or years, there is an enormous amount of complexity behind the scenes, which, in many businesses, relies on disparate sources and manual data entry.

The Leadbetter Golf Academy (LGA) found the right swing to overcome this customer experience hazard by implementing a cloud-based ERP solution. But for the growing premier golf instruction and retail business operating in more than 40 locations across 15 countries, the final shot in the customer journey was still missing: a fast, streamlined point-of-sale (POS) experience.

Going from buyer decision to revenue recognition with as few shots as possible

Under LGA’s existing POS experience, customers had to undergo a laborious, error-prone transaction process. “Whether they were purchasing a personalized lesson costing thousands of dollars or a nominal beverage, the experience was the same,” Benedict Riches, LGA’s managing director, recently noted at the SAPPHIRE NOW conference. “It was very difficult to undo the process if there were any mistakes.”

Knowing that this customer experience was far from optimal, LGA chose to implement credit card processing software and credit card reader hardware from Square that supported a POS interface. The integration provided an innovative, better way to collect payments on the front end while integrating seamlessly with its ERP back end.

When LGA’s implementation partner explained how well the new technology works with the existing cloud ERP system, there were few barriers to making the decision to deploy it, according to Riches. “It has changed how we actually operate the business,” he said.

Reduced from 12 clicks on a desktop computer to two taps on an iPad, the POS experience significantly improved LGA’s standing with its customers by improving three critical capabilities:

  • On-demand, convenient payment acceptance: The mobile payments hardware enabled coaches to accept payment on the course before, during, and after lessons. This aspect of the transaction not only saved time, but it also provided a level of convenience that customers wanted and the security of knowing immediately whether the payment was approved.
  • Streamlined, more cost-effective operations: Now that transactions are based on technology that is familiar to most people, in-depth training was no longer needed, and human error became dramatically lower. Retail checkouts are quick and painless for both the coaches and the customers, while the business is paying a lower processing rate for each payment.
  • Consolidated data: On or off the course, payment transactions automatically synchronize with LGA’s ERP system. In return, the company can make more timely and accurate decisions by evaluating up-to-date sales data, inventory, and customer information as well as generating powerful reporting, anytime and anywhere.

From Riches’ perspective, embracing this integration has opened up the ability to rethink the business more creatively and expand its boundaries. “We’re a traditional, analog company. But with the technology that’s being developed, the platforms we can work on are allowing us to think more broadly,” Riches concluded. “By taking golf to where the golfers are, we are making it easier for our customers to perfect their game – and putting smiles on their faces, which is our real goal.”

For a first-hand view into SAP solutions for small and midsize businesses, visit www.sap.com/sme and sap.com/products/business-one.html.


Brian McPhail

About Brian McPhail

Brian McPhail is SMB Strategic Sales and Alliances Lead, North America. Brian has an expertise in Business & Corporate Development, Market Strategy, P&L, IP & Technology Licensing, Platform & Network Competition, Chains, Channels, Ecosystems, Delivery Systems, Valuation, and Deals.