Why Be a Squeaky Wheel When You Could Be a VIP?
In a recent article in Boardroom Magazine (Issue 301, May/June 2022, p. 40), Bill Boothe of The Boothe Group wrote that the best way for private clubs to receive better service from their software providers is to implement the "squeaky wheel" approach: strictly tracking your vendor's faults, and relentlessly complaining until those issues are addressed.
I respect Mr. Boothe immensely and look to him regularly for guidance. His recommendation in this regard, unfortunately for the club industry today, is appropriate. But it’s certainly not ideal.
Yes, being a loud complainer may be a low-cost way to try to improve service from your existing software vendor. But it’s not the best solution for the long term. Nor is it in the best interest of the club industry overall.
We started Cobalt Software because we believe the club industry deserves better.
Lack of Competition = Lack of Innovation
How did we get here? Why is complaining the best solution for getting better service?
Because the private club software market, as it stands today, shows too much supplier power.
With only a handful of providers serving this market, clubs are left with very few options for switching. As a result, many clubs stick with 'the devil they know'.
The hard truth is that it would be very difficult for these longstanding vendors to change unless they received additional investment or implemented a major leadership overhaul.
Facing the significant effort involved and knowing that their clients are most likely to stay, vendors have little incentive to make big changes, until they start losing clients.
That hasn't happened because there have been few new viable entrants to the industry.
New software startups face an uphill battle when entering the private club industry. Clubs are wary of placing their trust in an unproven startup.
In addition, the barrier to entry in this space is high. You can't just offer a few modules; you need a full-featured and fully integrated software platform. That takes a sizeable technical team and years to develop. (Read: millions of dollars in expenses.)
The entrenched competitors have been in business for decades and have very wide and deep functionality as well as market penetration. Most upstarts have simply gone out of business because they aren't equipped to battle the gorillas in this space.
A New Option for Club Management Technology
The best solution for the club industry overall is for additional vendors to enter the market who can offer better service, while also being able to withstand the pressures that have taken down others in the past.
It’s a win for everyone: the new vendor becomes an option for clubs considering switching, and their presence will shake up the status quo among the existing players.
Cobalt is here to be your new option for club management technology.
Better Service for Your Club
Cobalt was created by a 30+ year company with a background in insurance technology. We know the importance of delivering excellence in software quality, security, and service. Companies such as United Healthcare, Aetna, and Aflac will not tolerate less, when they risk hefty audit fines from errors or delays.
Our service level agreements give you access to dedicated personnel with club and hospitality experience. You also receive set turnaround times and ticket tracking reporting, so you always know the status of any open items. We also offer extensive ongoing configuration support for items like new reports, dashboards, custom fields, or business rules. Our modern architecture means we can build these items with minimal effort, for quick turnarounds and less likelihood of maintenance issues in the future.
Cobalt’s Forecast is Bright
Cobalt is currently positioned for longevity because we have already overcome the most intense barriers to entry. We have already invested millions of dollars and over five years of development in building out an extensive platform. We're privileged to possess a runway of private funding as we grow, provided by the acquisition of our insurance division.
We were fortunate to partner with Boca West Country Club as our development partner, a platinum club with annual revenues over $60MM. Boca West is a satisfied client and our best reference.
You shouldn't have to be a squeaky wheel. You deserve better from your software partner!
Cobalt is proud to be your new technology partner. You're in the business of providing an excellent experience, and so are we.
Please contact us today to discuss your needs.