You’re working hard, your trainers are serving it daily, your clients are beaming as they exit a class, and suddenly a negative Yelp review pops up out of nowhere. Yes, it’s hard to believe, and yes, it’s not ideal. But don’t panic. Here’s how to handle it.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
When an adverse review is posted on Yelp or Google the very first thing to do is take a deep breath and put yourself in the reviewer’s shoes. Set the negativity aside and hone in on what their actual complaint is. Then start strategizing how to fix it.
RIGHT THE WRONG—INTERNALLY
Within a day or two of receiving a negative review, be it on Yelp, Google or ClassPass’ internal system, your whole staff should be aware of the complaint and your plan to fix the problem. Of course address the granular issue at hand—specifically what the reviewer found upsetting—but also make strides in boosting customer care and reminding all staffers what your company’s customer service standards are.
Nine times out of ten, a disgruntled student can be pacified with excellent customer relations. Remind staffers of this—their job goes beyond teaching and managing, and also involves ensuring each member’s needs are met every time they enter your studio.
RIGHT THE WRONG—EXTERNALLY
When it comes to Yelp and Google reviews, respond as soon as possible. It’s important to follow up with (and pacify) the frustrated reviewer, but it’s also good to remember these sites are public forums—meaning everyone referencing these reviews now sees you’re a hands-on owner, who takes customer dissatisfaction seriously.
First off, acknowledge the review and apologize (even if you don’t wholly agree). Reminder: Don’t “return fire” with any backhanded apologies. Stay positive and express genuine remorse. Next up, offer to fix the problem—they can come back for a free, repeat class. Or you’ll replace their missing sneakers, refund them their membership, etc. Beyond that, reiterate that you’re working to ensure a problem like this never occurs at your studio again.
Lastly, be sure to stay on top of the problem until it’s remedied. Once that occurs, ask the now-happy reviewer if they’d consider deleting the negative post, or writing a follow-up explaining how the situation was rectified.
DON’T WAIT FOR BAD REVIEWS
Why live in fear? Instead start periodically emailing surveys to members and create anonymous comment bins in your studio, where members are encouraged to vent, compliment or something in between. Get ahead of any problems by peppering your loyal customers with questions, so that you can suss out any molehills before they become mountains.
WHAT WE KNOW
ClassPass reviews are anonymous, but we often see some common threads pop up in the negative ones. Below are a few to keep in mind, and to nip in the bud in your own studio.
Problem: “Dirty mats, worn equipment”
Solution: Enlist a weekly deep cleaning team (in house or external) to combat stinkiness and/or dinginess
Problem: “I was expecting X, but got Y”
Solution: Update your class descriptions, and shadow classes to ensure trainers are teaching them exactly as they are described
Problem: “Couldn’t hear the teacher”
Solution: Boost microphone volume and dip music level if necessary—again, shadow classes periodically to get in front of these issues
Problem: “Class lacked hands on corrections”
Solution: Students love one-on-one interaction with trainers, remind teachers of this when they are communicating corrections
Problem: “Cancelled class last minute”
Solution: Have an on-call trainer ready to take over every class on your schedule. Nothing screams “unstable” like a cancelled class, so avoid it at all costs by having a Plan B
Problem: “Teacher was confusing and didn’t help anyone, even though many needed help”
Solution: Remind your trainers that each class is a fresh start with new faces that have no experience. Don’t let them become entrenched in their routine—trainers should be teaching and trolling the class, looking for confused faces, making eye contact with students, explaining exactly how the technique should be performed. This will ensure each student’s safety and success, boosting their overall experience—and opinion of your shop.