I like facts. When you read, according to a 2017 American Express survey, that 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers spend more money to do business with a company that delivers great service it should get your attention. But there’s more; according to Bain and Company research increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits anywhere from 25% to 95%, and the Temkin group’s research shows that moderate improvements in customer experience can generate an average revenue increase of 28% each year over a three year period. For more interesting customer statistics check this out and for a wide range of health club member statistics read IHRSA’s Health Club Consumer Report here.
Having served the health club marketplace for over three decades at ABC Financial Services, there are certain “truths” that are timeliness in my opinion. These truths remain no matter the business model, the technology platform, or the latest fitness exercise trend. The most important truth for any business is the unabashed, pure, and essential need to take care of your customer. In the end not much else matters, but sometimes brands and businesses sadly forget this.
“The Purpose Of A Business Is To Create A Great Customer.” Peter Drucker
Attrition rates for bricks and mortar fitness businesses often exceed 40% a year for many operators. This is one of the biggest challenges we as an industry have wrestled with for years. Members care mostly about having their problems solved and sometimes people forget this in the midst of a sales cycle. Acquiring more members and keeping them longer is the hallmark of great health club brands. It is why my mission as CEO of ABC Financial Services is to make sure every employee of ABC Financial Services is a maniac on a mission to make raving fans of our customers! So how can we get better at this? Here are a few tips I’ve learned on how to help make your business more effective at delivering great customer service.
1. Great Service Starts With Sales
Every member relationship begins with sales, and respect is the basis for great relationships. Helping sales teams foster new, and existing member relationships helps members feel important and this leads to them wanting to stick around.
Great sales teams invest time to get to know their members. This begins with listening, and understand their needs, wants, and desires. Educating sales teams on the importance of gathering information, and understanding how to be of value to the member during the sales process will not only improve sales results it will improve retention.
2. Human Interaction
Technology has taken over a great deal of member service today. Many entrepreneurs and fitness businesses focus on adopting technology to help increase productivity, track sales, and member interactions as well as measure other key data. This is really important, but relying on technology too much can be a risk. When technology begins to replace the human factor, poor customer service can result so it is important to pay close attention to this.
Businesses and employers need to remember that although we live in the digital age, and we love technology, people still crave human interactions. Potential members and existing members want a meaningful relationship with their favorite gym owners and employees, so don’t miss opportunities to reinforce this. The thoughtful application of reliable technologies combined with a great staff is usually the best answer to being able to deliver personal experiences that wow the member.
3. Establish Clear Goals
After educating your team about the importance of listening to members’ needs, it is important to employ quantifiable or measurable goals.
A quantifiable goal, for example, could be “increase customer satisfaction rates by 10 percent by the end of the third quarter”. To start measuring these variables clubs can use member surveys and feedback tools from companies like Netpulse, RevLeap, Reunify, Listen360, MXM and others.. Teams that have a clear, and measurable goal are more likely to feel motivated and more productive, which leads to delivering exceptional customer service. Keep in mind that quantifiable goals should be clearly attainable. Remember, employing goals that are too challenging can have an adverse effect on teams.
Customer service is one of the most important foundations for building and growing any company. Regardless of whether you are a startup business, a serial entrepreneur or an established company, if you don’t have five-star customer service, then you are likely missing the mark.
Making exceptional member service part of your fitness businesses’ mission will make it easier to teach and empower your teams to deliver great service and as a result improve your business performance. In the end, serving your members well is the most important thing to remember.
Paul Schaller is CEO of ABC Financial Services, the industry’s leading fitness club management software that strengthens gym performance by reducing delinquencies, improving collections, and creating a better member experience. Paul is a business leader who believes everything in business begins and ends with the customer! His mission is to make sure every employee of ABC Financial Services is a maniac on a mission to make raving fans of our customers! You can learn more by following Paul on Linkedin and Facebook.