With the rapid growth of competition in the fitness industry, it is more imperative than ever to stand out from the crowd.
From prices to innovative techniques to new technologies, studios are attempting to stay competitive in a congested industry. But one of the most crucial parts of any business, especially fitness-related, often gets overlooked — the customer experience. Improving your clients’ experience increases their satisfaction and earns their loyalty. Loyal customers have the potential to grow a business faster than sales or marketing alone, so your customer service strategy must effectively set your brand apart from others.
The Happy Customer Feedback Loop
“There’s a certain way of creating a service, hospitality, and experience that perpetuates people feeling like they matter.” Julie Rice, Co-Founder of SoulCycle and former Chief Brand Officer of WeWork
Understanding your clients is key to crafting a positive customer experience and enhancing client satisfaction. The most important technique used to better understand clients is customer feedback. A recent study, by the Harvard Business Review, shows that the simple gesture of a customer satisfaction survey has the power to influence the loyalty of a client, even if they never respond. These surveys appeal to the client’s desire to be catered to, and force them to form an opinion about your service or product that they may not have thought about before. Encouraging feedback can reinforce positive feelings about your company, introduce clients to features or services they didn’t know existed, and positively influence later purchasing decisions. It also allows your company to understand what’s working (so you can build upon your strengths), how your customers feel, what their wants and needs are, and what causes frustration.
Three Feedback Tools:
- Ask for customer feedback
- Categorize the feedback
- Act on the feedback
- Follow-up with customers who shared feedback
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS is a popular strategy for measuring the likelihood a person will recommend your product or service. It’s one question with a scale of 1 to 10.
- FitGrid Reports & Follow-up Messages: FitGrid follow-up messages encourage customer feedback in an authentic way through personalized messages sent from instructors to clients after class. Additionally, FitGrid analytics provide insights into client preferences and purchases — from their most frequented instructors, to their favorite class times and pricing option purchases.
Exceed Expectations They Didn’t know They Had
"Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves."- Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and former CEO of Apple
Gaining a deep understanding of your clients allows you to be ahead of the ball on many fronts. Not only can your team act fast on important client feedback, but you can start to solve problems your customers didn’t even know they had. Great employees don’t wait for the questions to appear; they provide solutions ahead of time. Anticipating solutions to possible client concerns allows you to strategize, provide membership upgrades, service solutions, and new features before clients even need to ask. Providing this level of service will exceed their expectations, showing that you care about their desires and needs, and ultimately make your business stand out from the crowd.
Great Customer Service Will Earn You Lifetime Loyalty
"Repeat business or behavior can be bribed. Loyalty has to be earned."- Janet Robinson, former President & CEO of The New York Times
Though incentives are important to attract new customers, their overall satisfaction with your business plays the biggest role in earning their loyalty. How well do you meet customer needs? Is your customer service up to par? As Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations says, "I believe customer service doesn't cost -- it pays. Just like advertising earns money by bringing people in, customer service pays by bringing people back." A loyal customer doesn’t just buy a product or service here and there. Loyalty means they’ve fully bought into your brand and feel a connection to it. These are the clients that will sing praises about your company to their friends and supply tremendous value to you in the form of referrals. After all, the #1 most common source of new leads are referrals.
You want clients to choose you over competitors because they truly resonate with your message — not simply because they got a great deal on a class. Even just a 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit. And not only does it cost less to keep an existing client happy than to engage a new one, but loyal customers also tend to buy more from a company over time.
Why Customer Feedback Matters
Your customer service strategy is ultimately what can differentiate your company from competitors. Implementing feedback tools can go a long way with regards to influencing future behavior and earning you loyal customers. Deeply understanding your clients and acting upon that feedback will allow you to stay ahead of the curve by exceeding expectations and solving problems they didn’t even know they had. Now is the time to revisit your current customer service strategy and ask yourself if the tools in place truly enhance the customer experience. Since client satisfaction earns you loyalty, and loyalty brings you referrals, your customer service strategy is the fastest way to take your business to the next level.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Director Of Operations at FitGrid
FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level