// Four ways to increase customer satisfaction

Lots of businesses put energy into customer service, when they should be focusing on customer satisfaction. So what’s the difference, asks Deb Pilgrim?

Customer service is an element of doing business that’s reactive, and customer satisfaction is an element that’s proactive.

If you stop to think about it, you’ll realise that it’s actually easier to be proactive with your clients than it is to be reactive. It’s also less expensive to keep your current clients and members than it is to constantly be in search of new ones.

These four quick tips will help keep your customers satisfied.

1. Sell the benefits they’re looking for

Make sure you are clear about the tangible results and benefits your products or services provide. This clarity will make it easier for clients to know what they’re buying right from the start.

Always remember that prospective clients are looking to buy based on the results they need right at this moment.

What does this mean for your club?
Sell fitness and strength gains, weight loss and increased energy and wellbeing, NOT machines, sweat and overwhelming timetables.


2. Give them the experience they crave

If the experience of working with you is a positive one, your customers will stick around after they’ve received the initial results.

Clients who stay with you for the great experience they have tend to become advocates who talk about you and your business to everyone.

Ask yourself: ‘How can I enhance my clients’ experience of working with me?’

What does this mean for your club?
Encourage all team members to focus on delivering an amazing experience at every level. From a warm, enthusiastic welcome at reception and friendly acknowledgements from all gym floor staff, to focused and attentive trainers and motivational group exercise instructors. Deliver an experience that stays with members after they are making their way home and which they would not trade for the sake of saving a few dollars by training elsewhere.


3. Confirm their decision to buy was a good one

One way to enhance their experience is to remember your customers after they’ve made their purchase. In most cases, if a buyer is going to question their initial decision, they’ll do so within 24 hours – especially if the financial investment is a large one.

Head this off at the pass by checking in with buyers within 24 hours of their initial purchase and answering any questions they may have. You could even set up an auto-responder to address any FAQs and prompt them to get in touch if their concerns aren’t covered. You can further re-affirm their decision to buy from you by including strategically placed testimonials from other clients in the FAQ document. Reading about others’ positive experiences will bolster your new customers’ confidence in their own investment.

What does this mean for your club?
As we know, gym memberships receive frequent criticism from some sections of the media, and prospective members may harbour concerns about investing their money and time with you. You and your sales team will have heard every possible query in the past, so get in early with newly signed up members by reinforcing the wisdom of their decision to join your club (including the use of testimonials and possibly ‘before and after’ images of members), addressing common concerns and providing solutions to these.


4. Treat each client as an individual

Taking the time to identify who your best clients are and really getting to know them can increase their lifetime value to your business.

If you’re not sure what a client will need next, there’s no need to guess. It’s perfectly okay to ask them. You’ll probably even find that they appreciate you taking the extra time to find out about their needs.

What does this mean for your club?
You can track which members attend most frequently and which ones spend money on your secondary income streams. Your team should be able to identify your club’s most ‘frequent flyers’ by name; take the personal approach by getting your team to talk to these members rather than having general surveys or emailed questionnaires.


Attracting new members takes time, energy and money, so do whatever you can to keep current ones satisfied.

Deb Pilgrim
A highly sought-after business mentor, speaker and consultant based in Sydney, NSW, Deb has two decades experience working with entrepreneurs all over the world who want to take their business from ordinary to extraordinary. She has been awarded a Masters of Coaching Psychology and Human Resource Management from The University of Sydney. For more information visit www.debpilgrim.com/fsm.htm and to read more from Deb, head to www.flyingsolo.com.au, Australia's solo and micro business community.