Clients come to your studio for many different reasons. They want to get stronger or lose weight. Maybe they come because they know exercise is an important part of staying healthy. Clients come to you because of all of those motivating factors, but when you get down to it, they really don’t enjoy working out. You undoubtedly also have clients who are exercise addicts. They have tried many other studios and fitness techniques and they have high expectations.
How can you keep all types of clients coming back to your studio? Provide first-class customer service. Fitness and wellness has become a luxury status symbol, and it’s a trend successful studios can’t ignore. You don’t need a luxury budget to deliver first class customer service – any of these seven ideas can be implemented quickly and inexpensively.
1. Personalize your service
The cornerstone of first-class customer service is personalization. Get to know all of your clients and develop relationships with them. Show them you care about them and their experience at your studio. Ask clients about how their workouts are going, invite them to try a new class and give you feedback, or provide information about upcoming events directly. If a regular client signs up for class but doesn’t show up, call or text to ask if everything is o.k. or just let them know they were missed. Keep a birthday database and send cards to clients during their birthday month.
Introduce clients to each other and create an environment where friendships are formed easily. Clients will be more likely to take classes if they enjoy the social aspects of visiting your studio.
Sixty-eight percent of customers decide to no longer do business with a particular organization because they perceive an attitude of indifference by the employees. Make sure all of your employees (instructors, receptionists, managers, etc.) have a simple way to learn your client’s names and use them. Know their goals and check in with clients about them. Make it easy for clients to remember your name as well as the names of your staff.
2. Respond to complaints or requests personally
When a client raises an issue, problem, concern or suggestion with you or your staff, don’t pass it off. Take thorough notes to make sure the client knows you are listening and taking the comments seriously. Handle the issue as quickly as possible. If an employee addresses the suggestion, request or complaint, personally follow up with the client to make sure the matter was resolved.
For this approach to work, your employees have to feel comfortable reporting client issues to you. Creating a work environment focused on constant improvement rather than punishment will help make your staffers feel comfortable giving you unfiltered reports on client interactions. Be transparent about your expectations of service and invite employees to come to you for advice on how to handle client issues in a professional manner.
3. Keep your studio fresh
Updating your studio on a regular basis, so it remains cutting-edge and modern is an important way to keep clients coming back. By investing in new equipment whenever you can, it shows clients that you’re dedicated to keeping their experience top-notch. If new equipment isn’t in the budget, fresh paint on the walls, new curtains or towels or expanding your retail to include a new, trendy, upscale product can go a long way toward updating your studio. Making sure your studio is up-to-date with technology is also important to your client’s experience. Clients expect to access WiFi wherever they are, so make sure you provide that service. Create charging stations in your studio for phones and tablets so clients can plug in their mobile devices while taking class.
4. Host micro-events
Take a tip from the luxury retail industry and plan micro-events for your clients. By hosting limited attendance events, you will not only create a sense of exclusivity, but you will also be able to deliver more personal service to each participant. Micro-events could include creating a series of small group sessions around a theme. For example, develop an endurance workshop or a stress-buster series and invite a guest instructor or expert. Limit the number of spots available and promote the event by sending personalized emails. To get a bit more marketing bang for your buck, create a social media campaign to promote your micro-event and open the workshop or series to your studio’s Instagram or Facebook followers.
5. Find ways to comp client extras
To convert more clients into loyal fans, provide as much value for their class dollar as you can. Make a list of little extras that don’t cost much, but would be appreciated by clients. Consider providing free towel service, placing a basket of complimentary body wipes and makeup remover in the locker room or bathroom, making pitchers of cucumber water for post workout refreshment, or offering energy bars or easy-to-eat fruit such as bananas or apples for complimentary pre- or post-workout fuel. If your studio has lockers, consider allowing clients to store their gear free of charge when they buy a monthly package. Another option would be to offer free fitness assessments to clients on a regular basis.
6. Serve as a wellness concierge
Help your clients live a fit lifestyle and establish your studio as a local hub of wellness. Partner with other wellness service providers in your area to better serve your clients. If you have room, consider bringing in a nutritionist, aesthetician or acupuncturist on a regular basis to offer your clients a one-stop-shop for wellness. Before you do, check with your insurance carrier to make sure you there is no conflict with having vendors in your studio. Create special offers with a local spa. You also could plan regular tasting events that feature local restaurants serving healthy dishes or host trunk shows for fitness apparel retailers or wholesalers.
Your website can be used to help your clients connect with wellness services. Create a page of resources with links to wellness professionals in the area. Or, start an e-commerce page on your site where clients can easily find the latest and greatest supplements, healthy skin products and apparel. In addition to providing excellent customer service, this strategy can help you cross sell your classes to your partner’s clients.
7. Offer convenience
Is your current class schedule best serving your clients? Survey them and find out. There may be an opportunity to move under attended classes or launch new classes at times that your clients prefer. If you have a lot of clients who work late, consider offering a night owl class at 9 pm once or twice per week. You may have a large population of moms in your area who cannot make it to your early class because of school drop off, but would love to attend a 9:15 a.m. session.
You should also compare your schedule with other studios in the area. No Wednesday morning yoga in your neighborhood? That could be an opportunity to capture new clients.
8. Be empathetic
You and your instructors may be fitness experts and offer the most effective workouts around, but if clients don’t feel understood, encouraged and well cared for, and if they aren’t treated with respect and understanding, all other customer service strategies will go unnoticed.