Yes it is true : according to a 2017 survey of 1,000 customers conducted by Gladly, 92% of people would stop doing business with a business if their expectations were unmet three times or less. As our CEO Paul Schaller mentioned in his article, A Simple Secrete To Business Success : Give Members What They Really Want :
“Today the smartest fitness brands are increasingly investing in engineering great customer and member experiences. The demand for great experiences is huge and surprisingly unmet across many industries. In fitness, where health clubs can lose as many as 50% of their memberships every year, delivering better experiences is becoming even more important.”
Paul is right. So how do you enhance service experiences and what might those “unmet expectations” mentioned in the survey entail? A lot of it has to do with basic customer service disciplines that are being overlooked. Here are some informative points from the survey :
- 91% agreed with the statement: “I expect the companies I do repeat business with to have a sense of who I am and my history with the business.”
- Two-thirds (67%) of customers say companies they have a relationship with or have done repeat business with generally treat them like a ticket number rather than a unique customer.
- Consumers are equally as likely to engage with companies via email (75%) as they are by phone (78%); 33% via live chat; 23% via text message, and 18% via social media. This survey, by the way, was about 20 months ago so these statistics have only become more skewed regarding alternative channels of service communications.
- Friction and challenges getting basic service has to do largely with insensitive systems. What's worse than having to repeat yourself to customer service? Handing out parking tickets! If forced to choose, 66% would rather hand out parking tickets than repeat themselves to multiple customer service agents on the same issue.
Here is a quote from my previous post on the age of the fitness, health club, and gym member and what it means that you might want to keep in mind in considering the Gladly survey:
“In the age of the member, fitness businesses that are really member-centric listen to members and put them at the center of what they do. They use information about members to make their life better and easier.”
The notion of being member-centric might seem simple but it is not. There are a lot of health club, gym, and fitness studio operators who think they are member-centric when in reality they may NOT be. It is hard sometimes, after all, to be clear about what is really important to members as opposed to what we might THINK is important.
So how does a fitness business avoid these problems? Here are a few pointers to consider:
- Eliminate Repeats. When there is a problem, members only want to tell their story one time. They don’t want to repeat it to multiple people. Furthermore, if the member makes a complaint online with a chatbot, or via any channel an employee who takes over should be asking questions about the complaint, not asking the customer to repeat the story.
- Personalize Service. Members want their experience to be personalized. Sixty-one percent of the people surveyed felt they were treated like case numbers rather than people. We need to stop that. 59% of customers said being treated as an individual was more important than how fast the issue was resolved (53%). The numbers are close, but the point is members want to be treated like people, not account numbers. And, if you can deliver both speed and personalization, you have a winning combination.
- Skip Voicemail Hell. Voicemail and voice response systems that some companies use are often not set up right and can be a major frustration point. Ninety-eight percent of customers try to skip voice systems. You’d be better off having quality interactions via chatbot, text, social media or via a live person than unrefined voice systems.
- Get Your Facts Straight. Seventy-six percent of customers receive conflicting answers from different employees when asking the same questions. This is a common problem. It causes confusion and a loss of customer confidence. It’s not uncommon to hear people claim that if they don’t like an answer they receive from one employee, they just present the same question to a different employee. Training and even empowering employees to make business decisions that benefit the customer on the sport are critical to meeting expectations and making the experience rewarding for your members.
Members reward brands they enjoy doing business with by coming back and paying more. The Gladly survey indicated 68% of customers would pay more to brands that provided great service. Thirty-three percent would pay between 1-9% more. Twenty-seven percent would pay 10-20% more. And, 8% would be willing to pay over 20% more if the service was great. With retention being such a big opportunity in the fitness business addressing the opportunity of creating great service experiences is a valuable business strategy.