5 everyday ways to
Gold Standard customer service
Customer service has the potential to be your best client retention, and acquisition, tool. By implementing these practical strategies, you can increase the lifetime value of existing clients, as well as boost new business from referrals, writes Aaron Whear.
For any business that is dependent on repeat custom and referrals for its ongoing success, great customer service is vital. And if yours is a personal service business, like personal training, the importance is even greater. If your product is good and people get to know, like, and trust you then somewhere in the order of 80 to 90 per cent of new business should come via word of mouth referral from existing clients.
Add to this the fact that it costs far more in terms of time, effort, and money to attract new people to your business than it does to keep the clients you already have for longer periods of time, and the case for providing outstanding customer service is compelling, to say the least.
By immediately implementing the following five practical strategies, you can vastly improve the quality of customer service you deliver.
1. Produce a welcome pack
A welcome pack provides some tangible items of value to give to clients at point of sale that don’t cost you a fortune. This is really important, because personal training is such an intangible service, i.e. people are purchasing something from which no benefits will materialise until sometime in the future. Giving new clients something they can actually touch and use immediately helps to minimise buyer’s remorse. In addition, it can generate new business for you, as clients will often show off their new pack to friends and family members.
Your imagination’s the only limit in terms of what you choose to put into a welcome pack, but here are a few low-cost suggestions to get you started:
- boxing inners
- training diary/food diary
- relevant articles
- your customised version of Network’s free monthly Member Newsletter (check Gymbag)
- towel/water bottle
- commitment agreement
- written guarantee
- Terms & Conditions.
2. Session reminders and follow up
Ask your clients what their preferred method of communication is, i.e. phone call, text message, e-mail or facebook, and then confirm appointments 24 hours in advance. In addition, follow them up at least once a week outside of training times to find out about recovery, to educate, or to keep them accountable to actions you have agreed upon that will contribute to the achievement of their health and fitness goals.
3. Facebook posts
Posting a note of encouragement on a client’s facebook wall shows that you are thinking of them outside of session times, and has the capacity to make their day, i.e. receiving unexpected positive feedback regarding their training for all of their family and friends to see. You can also post or share links to relevant health and fitness-related articles and news items. By Liking the Network facebook Page HERE you’ll get a daily dose of fitness tips, stories and news appearing on your newsfeed that you can easily share with clients.
4. Client appreciation events
Hold a client appreciation event between one and four times annually. This could be as simple as going ten pin bowling, having a pub meal or pot-luck picnic together, attending an educational event, or any other type of get together that you think your clients would appreciate. Doing this will also strengthen your community as clients whose paths never usually cross have the opportunity to get to know each other. Feeling part of your training community also makes clients less likely to cease training with you. To capitalise on these events, you can also encourage clients to bring their friends along. Without any element of hard sell, you may find that, after hearing about clients’ satisfaction with the results you’ve facilitated, some of these friends will also want to become your clients.
5. Handwritten cards
Send out at least a handful of handwritten client appreciation cards each week. This doesn’t have to be an epic, time-consuming exercise – something along these lines is great:
“Hi Christine – just wanted let you know how proud I am of you for making fitness a consistent part of your life, fantastic work! Looking forward to our next goal-smashing session”.
The act of writing these cards will not only make you feel good, but will have your clients walking 10 feet tall! Very few of us receive as much recognition for our achievements as we crave, so by doing this you are adding value to the relationship. With the cost of making your own branded cards now so affordable, you may even choose to maximise their impact by including motivational quotes and your logo and contact details on the cards you send.
Implementation of these great customer service strategies will increase the lifetime value of your clients, and boost referrals. Instead of simply being the trainer your client sees once a week for an hour, you will become their trainer, an ongoing source of support and information who is truly helping them make fitness a way of life. Both of these outcomes will contribute significantly to you having a profitable and prosperous personal training business of which you can be truly proud.
The managing director of Career Fitness, Aaron is renowned for his practical and profitable solutions for people involved in the fitness industry. His unique approach to the problems fitness businesses face has won him accolades throughout Australia and overseas. For information on developing your own personalised business scoreboard email Aaron at firstname.lastname@example.org