Marketing, Retention, Sales
7 Customer Service Strategies to Stand Out in the Fitness Industry
A study showed that customer service centric companies are 60% more profitable than those that aren’t. Which means that the experience you provide at your fitness studio is crucial.
And as saturated as the fitness industry is, you want to make sure that your studio stands out. These 7 customer service strategies help you do that.
1. GREET & MEMORIZE NAMES
When a potential member comes to check out your studio for the first time, you give them exceptional service because you want them to buy a membership. But do you continue to give them that same level of service each and every time they come in for a workout once they do become a paying member?
The way you greet members and talk to them before or after class makes a big difference in the experience they have during their visit.
The first thing you should do is memorize everyone’s names. It builds a more personal relationship and makes your members feel important. There’s a quote by Dale Carnegie that says,
“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Every time someone walks through the door, greet them with a big smile, say hello, and ask how they are.
After class, check in with them again. See how their workout was, ask how they feel after the session, and make them feel like a rockstar.
Ask all of your instructors to do the same. While these may seem like small things, they can go a long way in giving your members a better experience at your studio.
2. RESPOND TO ONLINE REVIEWS (THE NOT-SO-OBVIOUS CUSTOMER SERVICE TECHNIQUE)
Online reviews make or break a business. 93% of people read reviews before they purchase. That means there’s a large number of people who read what others say about your fitness studio before they decide if it’s something they want to invest in.
Jay Baer, a New York Times bestselling author and customer service guru, says that the most important thing a business can do is answer every complaint on every channel. He talks about this more on The GSD Show: Hug Your Haters and Grow Your Business.
When you address complaints, you show that you are responsive to what people say. And if you don’t respond, people think that you don’t take their opinions seriously. Remember, when someone leaves a review, anyone can see it, so respond quickly and with empathy.
This doesn’t just go for negative reviews. When someone leaves a positive comment, thank them and let them know how much you appreciate that they took time to leave a review. Whether you respond to a good or bad review, always be conscious of your dialogue.
3. LISTEN AND ENCOURAGE FEEDBACK
Whenever you get a review or any other type of criticism from your audience, be open to their suggestions. The feedback you get is valuable, and it’s a chance to make your fitness studio even better.
Share the reviews that you get with all of your employees. If you get a negative review, let your staff know so that you can all improve together. And always share all of the positive reviews you get so that everyone knows how great of a job they’re doing.
There are tons of other ways to get feedback from your members aside from online reviews, including:
- An anonymous suggestion box. This allows people to write down their thoughts and submit it without hesitation.
- Surveys. These can be sent online and only take a couple of minutes to complete.
- Have your instructors ask people what they’d like to see more of/less of/changed.
4. CREATE A FACEBOOK GROUP
A Facebook group exclusively for paying members makes their customer service experience even more personal. Not only is this a place for you to connect with all of them, but it also becomes a place where everyone can get to know each other.
Share valuable information and content in the Facebook group, like upcoming events, class schedules, free nutrition plans, articles, and anything else that is useful to them. Other ideas are to use your group to congratulate people when they hit a fitness goal or have a Q&A session with Facebook Live.
Your Facebook group can also be used as a place to take care of customer service issues or a way to ask members for their opinions about new class times or any ideas you have. While it’s important to connect with them in person at your studio, Facebook groups are nice because it allows you to talk at any time and from any place.
5. CELEBRATE BIRTHDAYS (AN OVERLOOKED CUSTOMER SERVICES HACK)
Your members should have a great experience every time they come to your studio, but their birthday is your chance to give them an extra special and memorable day.
Here are a few ideas to give them an awesome experience they won’t forget:
- Have all of your staff members sign a card, and include a personal message wishing them a happy birthday.
- Sing “Happy Birthday” to them at the end of class, and invite everyone in the class to sing along. Be sure to have one of your staff members record a video so that you can give it to them afterwards. They’ll be excited and want to show their friends and family or even post it on social media.
- Surprise them with a special treat, like a cheat day cupcake. Put a candle in it so that they can blow it out while everyone sings “Happy Birthday.”
- If you don’t want to give them a treat like a cupcake, give them a free buddy pass so they can bring in a family member or friend next time.
When new members sign up, put their information in your calendar so that you never miss anyone’s birthday. If they don’t come work out on their actual birthday, you can record a video of everyone singing and post it on their Facebook wall. They’ll appreciate that you remembered and took the time to celebrate them.
6. OFFER REWARDS
Rewards show your members how much you care about them. Set up reward systems to show your appreciation. Here are a few ways to reward your members:
- Implement a referral program. When a paying member refers someone and they join, offer both of them a reward like a free t-shirt or a discount on one month of their membership. A referral program will also help you get more members and grow your studio.
- Give away free training passes. For example, offer 1 free personal training session for every 10 that they purchase. This will motivate people to continue to buy sessions.
- Offer a 10% discount on branded gear if they spend more than $50. If you sell t-shirts, water bottles, or any other type of branded products, offering discounts after spending a certain amount of money will incentivize people to purchase more.
The really great thing about rewards is that they make your members happy, but they also provide more revenue. Referral programs bring in more paying members, and free passes and discounts encourage people to spend more.
7. TRAIN YOUR STAFF (OFTEN OVERLOOKED WHEN IT COMES TO CUSTOMER SERVICE)
Your trainers and coaches play a crucial role in the experience that your fitness members have when they come to your studio.
If one of your trainers is unfriendly, doesn’t teach great classes, or doesn’t have good customer service skills, members are going to think negatively not just about the instructor, but your entire studio. 95% of people say the teacher is a key element when they choose which class to attend. This is why it’s so important that all of your staff members are trained the same way and know how to provide exceptional service.
Your staff should be involved in all of the other 6 points listed in this article. When you initially hire a new instructor, include customer service as part of their training. Check in with all of them on a regular basis to make sure they’re all the same page.
If you implement these 7 strategies at your fitness studio, you’ll be ahead of your competition and your members will have an awesome experience each time they work out.