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How Diamond in the Rough Uses Upper Hand to Build Better Athletes and Deliver Exceptional Member Experiences

Diamond in the Rough

Diamond in the Rough

Customer Since

2017

About The Company

Diamond in the Rough is North Central Iowa’s premier indoor training facility for baseball/softball players and teams. With over 5,000 sq feet of space, the lush turf, clay pitching mounds and padded mats provide every level of ball player a top-notch facility aimed at improving their game.

Offerings

Private and small group instruction, clinics, member-only events, and open facility use.

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The business is set to surpass last year’s revenue by 27%, largely due to membership growth on Upper Hand.

Challenge

Manage all lifetime client interactions, from registration and scheduling to communications and payments, while simplifying backend operations.

Solution

Moved to Upper Hand and began running online registration and scheduling, payments, and other admin tasks through the platform.

Result

Diamond in the Rough has become the premier baseball facility in North Central Iowa and is set to surpass 2019 annual revenue by 27%.

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Upper Hand has helped sports training facility Diamond in the Rough drive unprecedented member base growth while enabling future progress and innovation.

Two people passionate about baseball and softball and all that it embodies – the subtle nuances of the sport, the fundamentals, the skills and the competition. This is the foundation and the driving force behind Diamond in the Rough.

Diamond in the Rough started out of a pure passion for the game of baseball. As former college baseball and softball players, respectively, Dave and Kim Stoakes set out to create a facility that would provide individual players and teams the resources to train for their baseball and softball seasons and improve their skills. 

They dreamed of a beautiful facility that provided foundational batting elements, and knew they wanted to take it a step further by including premium clay pitching mounds to simulate real-world conditions. 

But more than that, the Stoakes desired a way to fulfill this mission in a way that would give all players access to their facility and training.

In 2015, the Stoakes made this dream a reality when they opened Diamond in the Rough.

“We’ve built the space for every kid who has the desire to learn the game and get better. We decided to provide memberships to make it easy for those that want to come in and train at their convenience and to make it easy for them to use the space.”

Kim Stoakes, Owner, Diamond in the Rough

The Problem

Initially, Dave and Kim and their small team ran their business through a combination of various tools, typically receiving athlete sign-ups over the phone or in person and manually entering information into their system. The payment process was laborious, and growth was stagnant. 

With their goals of being the leading baseball and softball training facility in the area, Diamond in the Rough knew that allowing for seamless, automated client interactions was paramount in helping the company achieve success. Establishing this system meant hyperfocus in one major area: streamlined business operations. 

In 2017, this need for a comprehensive management solution that addressed all the lifetime client interactions (including registration, scheduling, communications, and payments) while simultaneously streamlining backend operations for the admins led them to Upper Hand. 

Upper Hand Case Study
Upper Hand Case Study

The Solution

Diamond in the Rough initially partnered with Upper Hand in order to gain accurate insights into their customer reporting, and to minimize the amount of data disconnect that was happening with their manual registration process. 

But as Diamond in the Rough grew, the need for a truly scalable solution became clear. They soon needed a hardware setup that would optimize their front desk, empowering their staff to easily check in athletes and register new and existing clients for sessions and camps, all on Upper Hand. And as their business flourished, they added memberships to their offerings. 

The Upper Hand team helped Diamond in the Rough set up 5 different membership tiers that would allow their clients to book exclusive sessions. This addition has positively contributed in a significant way to Diamond in the Rough’s revenue stream. 

And going into 2020, Diamond in the Rough was seeing tremendous results. 

Then COVID hit. 

“The Upper Hand team is an integral part of our operation. They listen and are never pushing us to purchase a higher level package. Upper Hand gives us solutions to our business model right where we are at and let our growth be the focus.”

The Impact of COVID

Dave and Kim had to issue thousands of dollars in refunds for their various sessions and bookings because of state-mandated shutdowns. This is a process that is traditionally arduous  and time-consuming, but Upper Hand’s customer support and accounts teams made issuing the refunds and cancelling events painless for their business. 

“Our Account Manager helped us through all of that. He took care of everything on the backside so that I could process those transaction refunds. It was a tough situation, but he was just great.” 

Iowa policies required that in the immediate wake of COVID, sports facilities held capacity limits at 50%. When the business reopened, the Stoakes utilized their tiered memberships to implement a member-only model that required athletes to use Upper Hand to reserve their practice times. 

This allowed Diamond in the Rough to safely control the flow of customers in their facility while still offering a way for athletes–whose access to equipment through schools and teams was otherwise shut-down–to continue developing their skills in order to return to sports at the top of their game. 

Even with thousands of dollars lost due to COVID-shutdowns, the business is set to surpass last year’s revenue by 27%, largely due to membership growth on Upper Hand.

“Although the year 2020 has delivered some crashing blows to the sports and fitness industry, it has led us to re-focus on our strengths and lean on partners like Upper Hand to redefine how to move forward, better than before.”

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