By now most of us have seen the Discover card commercials where "Peggy," a customer service agent in some frozen tundra, gives us an example of what really horrible customer service is like. If you haven't - take a look:
Remembering an episode in your past where you encountered equally horrible customer service? If so, you can probably recite it in detail - and probably did, right after it happened, to anyone who could listen. Now, put on your leadership hat and think about what your customers experience when they call or visit your fitness center - what kind of customer service experience awaits them, and who are they telling about it?
Use these steps to make sure your customers don't encounter Peggy at your facility:
- Hire the right people: Any position that requires someone to come in contact with customers is a customer service positioin. In our industry, that's everyone in the center - from the cleaners wiping down the equipment, to the fitness staff, child care attendants...you get the idea. When interviewing, ask people questions that test their abilities to relate to others, even when frustrated.
- Train, train, train: Peggy hung up the phone because "she" encountered a question that "she" could not answer - obviously because there was no training. Being well trained doesn't mean that your staff can answer every question, but it does mean that they can handle any situation. When bringing on a new staff member, make sure that you cover all scenarios possible, and give them the guidance to know how to answer.
- Be aware of what your customers are experiencing: No leader can be around 24/7, but there should be someone observing your staff to constantly monitor their customer service skills. Have a company "shop" your facility, to truly learn what goes on when your staff doesn't know that they are being graded. You might be surprised at what you find...
- Be aware of what your customers are saying: It's easy today to know what's being said about your facility - Google your name and see what comes up. You should have someone dedicated to watching your facilities online reputation, because it may be the reason that your sales and retention are slipping. People are quick to share bad experiences with their friends and acquaintances - if someone does have a bad experience at your facility, make sure you know about it and take direct steps to rectify the situation.
If you have any questions about setting up any of the above steps, email me and I can help you get started.