Whether you’re selling cargo shorts, or putting on a rock concert, or staging an autocross, it’s all about customer service. Treat your customers well and they will come back and your business or club will thrive.
When it comes to customer service, though, lots of sports car clubs have a lot to learn. And If there’s one point you take away from this column, please let it be this: Just because you’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it.
I’m going to provide a few examples of specific things that clubs can do to make their events run smoother, but this is by no means a definitive list. The good news is that there are lots of excellent guides out there by people and organizations with known positive track records. Seek them out. Consume them.
Tip 1: Everyone hates drivers meetings.
You know how long the drivers meeting at the SCCA Solo Nationals takes? Here’s a hint: It’s one of the largest participant motorsports events in the world, with more than a thousand drivers from hundreds of clubs all over the country competing.
The drivers meeting lasts precisely zero minutes. If that is the standard for the signature event of our scene, there’s no earthly reason that a drivers meeting at a local community college with just 40 entrants needs to last half an hour. It’s a drivers meeting, not open mic night at Unkle YukYuk’s. Give people the info they need, then get the hell on with the day.
Better yet, print the info they need on a big board that they can read while they wait in the registration line–or on a piece of paper you hand to them when they check in.
Got novices? Give them the drivers meeting info while an experienced driver walks the course with them.
Bottom line: If you start your day by wasting people’s time, they won’t come back.
Tip 2: Design your courses properly.
Can you send a car out on course every 20 seconds? If the answer is no, you’re screwing it up. Now, admittedly, some sites have realistic limitations on course design, but some clubs also refuse to design efficient courses.
Courses that cross over themselves, or feature multiple laps, or are otherwise designed in a way that that 20-second intervals are not possible are a sure path to a long and boring day with lots of unhappy competitors. In general, most autocrossers would rather have more…