We’ve got a customer service problem today not just in health clubs, gyms, and fitness studios; it exists across all industries and businesses. Don’t believe me? According to a 2010 study in the Journal Of Cost Management, one-third of complaining customers must make two or more calls to resolve a complaint. This statistic ignores those who simply give up after the first attempt. According to a 2017 survey titled the 2017 National Customer Rage Study (Rage is NOT a typo my friends), more than three-quarters of complaining consumers were less than satisfied with their experience with a customer service department.
Our colleague and chief customer officer at ABC Financial, Mike Escobedo, recently shared a post 92% Of Your Members Would Quit If You Let Them Down Three Times Or Less. Here’s What You Can Do About It. Check it out. His article points set forth a lot of good reasons why service is so important in the fitness industry today. It is also why our mission at ABC Financial is two-fold:
“To be the resource for cutting-edge technology in the health and fitness industry and to maximize collections from the highest percentage of members on a daily basis. Our driving force is the obsession with creating “Raving Fans” by running through brick walls for our clients.”
Now don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of great business leaders and employees out there taking care of customers in great ways in fitness, gyms, and health clubs. But it is not easy to become so great that you are creating Raving Fans. This is not about satisfaction. It is about being extraordinary. Kenneth H. Blanchard, author of the One Minute Manager, along with his colleagues wrote a great book several years ago on the subject of Raving Fans titled appropriately: Ravings Fans A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service. Here is a quote from the book:
"Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans."
Ken is right. Building a group of Raving Fans is a great business strategy. What it means is going beyond what people expect; giving more than they think they would have gotten otherwise. It is a simple but powerful idea the team at ABC Financial works on all the time and it is an idea any fitness, health club, or gym business can do to build loyalty and great word of mouth referrals. Believe me, you do not want just satisfied customers because they can disappear once a competitor comes along. You want to create more Raving Fans, but that is not easy to do.
So how can you create a bunch of Raving Fans in your fitness, gym, or health club business? Here are a few secrets I’ve learned over the many years working in our company and in health clubs, gyms, and fitness businesses:
1. Discover One Thing You Really Care About.
Realizing your passion is important because it makes all the decisions that follow easier. When you always know what you are aiming for, and what your ultimate goal for your customer is your chances of creating clarity improves a great deal. Focusing on the important stuff is really a key to doing the things that will help you create more Raving Fans.
2. Don’t Go Too Fast.
Growing fast can be hard if the wrong people are hired and not trained and inducted in the right way. If your fitness business is doing well it is easy to get distracted by growth while forgetting about important foundational things. Rapid growth can be exciting, but beware of hypergrowth and take it as a warning sign. Growing too quickly and hiring the wrong people can diminish your company's culture and its ability to create Raving Fans in a sustainable way. Remember, when you start spreading out your focus your ability to create Raving Fans can suffer. Try not to go too fast.
3. Success is Tied To Your Culture So Focus On Creating One You Believe In.
Feeling part of a great team makes people happy and creates a sense of fulfillment. Both are strong motivators. When a group of people feels connected, like a family, there is a strong sense of obligation to the whole team, to work harder and treat each other better. Your team should also have a shared purpose and shared passions. Hire people who emulate, live, and breathe your core values. Great employees lead to great customer experiences and Raving Fans.
4. Constantly Strive To Learn.
Continual learning is a great advantage and asset. Create a culture that fosters both personal and professional development. Offer training for developing new skills. Employees should feel like their work is part of a greater purpose, and that learning and growth are not only allowed but necessary and appreciated. The better your employees are the better they can deliver outstanding service that others cannot duplicate.
5. Focus On The One Thing You Want To Be Best In The World At Doing
Having one thing your company aims to be best at allows you to focus and specialize, and thus become really great at something rather than being merely adequate or good at several things. If you want Raving Fans, being able to execute on a clear a distinct business model makes that even easier to do.
6. Build Customer Engagement And Trust; Not Buzz
Trying to promote your business alone can be counterproductive when you could be putting more effort into doing what you do best for your customers and making it better. Instead of worrying about how to get media attention or spending too much time promoting your brand or services, focus on delivering over the top customer experiences and services. The rest will follow, and word of mouth will lead to more buzz from customers and more business. Raving Fans are the best form of marketing in the world.
So what do you think about creating Raving Fans? Do you agree there is a difference in being a company that creates Raving Fans as compared to simply delivering customer service? I’d love to hear your thoughts.