Offer the Best in Customer Service

Three instances of customer service from YESTERDAY!

I happened to be at the front desk of one of our facilities when a member came in for a yoga class, fresh off her bike. In fact, it was propped against the front door behind her just outside the door. She stepped in and asked where the bike rack was located. The front desk staff person responded, “Oh you know we don’t… I told (the manager) we should get one, but I guess we haven’t gotten around to it yet.” She waited for more…as if, “that’s your answer?” and I was behind him thinking the same thing! He then chimed in with ” there is one at the next building over” and pointed off in some general direction for her to inconveniently go lock her bike up before coming back to secure her spot in yoga.

The same day I stopped at a tanning business to don a spray tan over my pasty skin for a weekend event. Two days before I had stopped in and three of us all wanted the one booth at the same time. I decided not to wait and said I’d come back tomorrow. When I did return, and had been given the hours, the girl at the desk said…”we’re closing” and made it clear I could not use the last minutes of their “hours” to get a tan. Good to know. Finally- I went in again yesterday 45 minutes before closing time and on a Friday night, when no one, including me really wants to be doing that…to get my color. As soon as I walked in the front desk attendant said, “Oh, someone just went in there.” I just looked at her, almost laughing..and said, “forever?” She then explained, that no, she’d let me know when she came out.

One of the front desk staff persons at another local fitness business responded to a question over the phone by telling me (calling as a potential customer) that there was a better number to call if I wanted an answer to my question. She gave it to me and never asked for my name and phone number nor any specifics about me or what I wanted. She expected me to make the phone call myself if I was still interested.

What do they have in common? They’re all poor customer service that could have a negative impact on your business and, that can be avoided. Yes, sometimes you have to give bad news, but you can do it in a way that has a positive effect. It’s not the fault of the person who gave poor customer service; it’s the fault of the person who hired them and trained them, or didn’t. And it can be fixed!

All we needed to point out was that our community bike rack  shared by the local businesses was just one building to the West. We have access to that and her bike will be fine there.

All the tanning salon gal needed to tell me was that it would be just a few minutes and it would be all mine. I could have a seat and she’d call me when it was ready.

When a prospect calls on the phone, if you don’t have a convenient set up for transferring someone to the right extension, and even when you do; always get the contact information and name of the caller and let them know you will have the person with the answer contact them. Then do just that or follow up yourself if there is going to be some delay. No one complains if they know someone is working on their behalf. But if you just drop the ball, or someone doesn’t get the message you left- the voice mail system doesn’t work, or you accidentally misread the phone number…a customer’s impression is that “they never return phone calls.”

Today, try and attract customers to you by starting the grapevine talking, positively.

Customers are going to talk about you, anyway. They give you a grade, have an impression, share what’s right and wrong about your business all the time. Often it’s in the locker room after a session or a class, or when the pool was a degree too cold or too warm.

Control the word-of-mouth you get today.

Go out of your way to find a reason to send a note to someone, maybe someone who comes in every day on schedule. You never know what people are thinking. Send them a note about the fact that they are a valued customer and you love the fact you see them in so regularly taking good care of themselves.

Make a random phone call to a personal training client or a member for the same purpose. Acknowledge that you’re looking at their usage history and see how regularly they are in and attending classes. Tell them you appreciate their business.

They’ll be shocked! They might wonder what the catch is, because sadly, customer service like that doesn’t happen very often.

Make it a habit to look for three people to acknowledge over the next five days. If they tell just one or two people it will be well worth it. And if they tell no one, but you made a difference in their day, somehow something good will come back to you.

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