Service With a Smile: Why Excellent Customer Service Is Important

Commercial Fitness

Service With a Smile: Why Excellent Customer Service Is Important

Consumers are evolving. These days, consumers are internet and mobile savvy, expect things on-demand, and seek immediate gratification. As people who value unique experiences, they prefer to have choices and the ability to personalize their goods and services.

 Why Excellent Customer Service is Important

When it comes to gyms, 42 percent of new members cancel their membership in the first 30 days, and it is noted that members who don’t work out at least eight times per month will be gone in 90 days. The average club loses 60 percent of its members annually. The list of reasons that customers leave clubs includes bad service, broken promises, feeling like they’re being pushed too hard, and experiencing unexpected inconveniences.

We know that member retention is incredibly important for gyms, but what can operators do to actually keep more members?

The answer is to create an excellent customer service experience for your members. Customer service is defined as “all interactions between a customer and a product provider at the time of sale, and thereafter. It adds value to a product and builds enduring relationships.” Having world-class service gives your customers special bragging rights – something unique and desirable to talk about with their friends, family, and neighbors.

Customer service expert Ron Kaufman says, “Service is the currency that keeps the economy moving. I serve you in one business, you serve me in another. When either of us improves, the economy gets a little better. When both of us improve, people are sure to notice. When everyone improves, the whole world grows stronger and closer together.”

Member Retention and Customer Experience

Gym members feel uplifted after they complete a challenging workout, achieve a fitness goal, or have a member of the fitness or reception staff speak to and encourage them.

A survey done by The Retention People shows that fitness and reception staff communication is highly valued by gym members, with nearly nine in 10 members saying they value fitness staff communication. If both reception and fitness staff always spoke to all members, it’s estimated that 44 percent of cancellations would be avoided. On the flip side, the likelihood of a member cancelling in a given month if the fitness staff do not talk to them is approximately 3 percent.

Why is Customer Experience Important?

A great customer experience for your gym members results in higher customer referral rates and member satisfaction. It eases customer acquisition, drives loyalty, and improves customer retention. Delivering a standout customer experience can also create a valuable competitive advantage and be a differentiating factor that sets your gym apart from others.

There are three factors that are key to providing excellent service. The factors, called the Three Ds of Customer Experience, include:

1. Developing the right experience with focused value propositions

2. Delivering value to the customer

3. Developing the capabilities to deliver value repeatedly and consistently

Define the Customer Experience

The best clubs recognize that customers interact with different parts of the club and across multiple touch points, such as when they join the club, their first personal training session, group fitness classes, purchasing apparel, and ordering from the gym café.

Customer loyalty is driven by the club’s interaction with its members and how well they deliver on their wants and needs. To effectively do this, it’s important to know the customers’ ultimate expectations. Once you know that, you can work backwards to create an experience at every touch point that exceeds those customer expectations. Taking a hands-on approach to understanding customers’ needs will help create an experience that leaves them impressed.

Be Your Customers’ Super Hero

In order to create an amazing customer experience, you need to give your members undivided attention. Do this by maintaining eye contact and listening actively – acknowledging the customer’s points by using either verbal or non-verbal cues.

Keep in mind that good customer service is about understanding and meeting the customers’ needs. It isn’t about what you do, but rather, the way you do it. Your ultimate objective is to win and keep members; remember that it’s easier and cheaper to keep existing members happy than to keep finding new ones.

Create Loyal Customers

Building relationships with members through exceptional customer service helps your gym earn their loyalty. These members will recommend your facility to their friends and family, are more likely to buy additional services from you, and tend to be more understanding and forgiving. They also actively make an effort to help you improve your business by providing feedback and ideas.

Make Members Feel Valued

Finally, make sure your members feel important. Members who feel ignored, abandoned, hassled, powerless, or disrespected are likely to leave your club. Avoid giving your members a reason to feel this way by showing genuine interest in them, smiling, using their names, focusing on their interests, and listening to what they have to say.

Member retention is a difficult area to improve, but by following these core tenets of customer service, you should be able to provide an excellent experience and keep more members.

Author Information

Xen Angelides
Xen Angelides's picture

Xen Angelides, Precor Queensland/Northern Territory State Manager, has been presenting at FILEX since 1997, with his career highlight presenting at the Closing Keynote address in 2001. He has also presented over the years at IHRSA, China Fit, World Fitness Congress in Russia, Japan Health & Fitness Show, Asia Fit. With over 30 years of experience in the global fitness industry, Xen is committed to putting health and fitness first.

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