Sometimes it takes every moment you have just to keep the balls in the air when you manage your own business. And the big picture, the business plan, the marketing projects, the staff scheduling – they’re all critical to the success of your wellness, fitness or health business. However you can’t afford to lose focus on the day-to-day, routine things that are what your customers see and experience every time they set foot in your facility.
It’s time for a refresher on the customer perspective.
Don’t just stand there, fix it.
When a customer points out a maintenance issue, get it fixed ASAP. You can’t get to everything immediately, but when a customer takes the time to mention that the sink is clogged or the air filter in the locker room is thick with debris, don’t ignore it. By not taking care of it right away you send the message that, A) their input is unimportant and B) despite being aware of the problem, you are letting it slide.
Enforce the policies you created.
If you ask that cell phones be turned off inside the yoga studio, then make sure cell phones are turned off inside the yoga studio. Most of your yoga clients look forward to the serene quietness inside the yoga room. So imagine their angst when an unaware (or inconsiderate) fellow yogi walks in while gabbing on their phone? Don’t force other customers to be the bad guys. Make sure your instructors know how to handle the situation and stress the importance of holding up the policy.
Be friendly, but watch the “buddy-buddy” talk.
One of the nice things about owning a small business is that you’re often friends with your clients. But be careful about what you disclose in everyday chit chat. After all, they’re still paying customers. We heard of one owner who casually mentioned that she had to raise the class fees because she couldn’t keep up with her rent payments. She said this in the lobby around several customers. Don’t share private business decisions (good or bad) with your clients – even those whom you consider to be friends – it’s unprofessional.
If you ask, then follow up.
Asking customers for feedback is almost always a great idea. It’s a bad idea when you don’t follow up. Obviously, you can’t implement every suggestion. And some customer ideas are going to be, well, bad ideas. But you can still acknowledge that you appreciate their input. Even in instances when you can’t implement an idea, you may be able to say, “…while we can’t offer a 6AM spin class at this time, your suggestions did make us realize we need more early bird options so we’re opening the doors at 5:30 AM instead of 6:30 AM. Thanks for your input”.
Use it or lose it (we don’t mean muscles in this case).
If you can’t get a major piece of equipment repaired within 14 days, remove it from the floor. “Out of Service” signs are supposed to be temporary. If you have cardio or weight training equipment with permanent “out of service” signs affixed to them, it tells customers: A) you don’t care or B) You can’t afford to fix it. Either way, it leaves a bad impression.
~Maureen Burke, The Radial Group