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Customer Service

To Motivate or Terminate?

Your employees directly affect the success of your business. They work with your clients, sell your products and engage in frontline, day-to-day operations. Some employees are a pleasure to manage, and others—well, not so much. Working with an exemplary employee who is productive, independent, motivated and delightful is every manager’s dream. On the flip side, some employees are just bad hires and the decision to let them go is straightforward. Unfortunately, staff management isn’t that black and white.

GROOMing Habits, Part Two

If you’ve ever struggled to fill open classes or you’ve ever wanted more qualified fitness pros on your staff, it’s time to get proactive and ensure that you have the team of your dreams. GROOMing Habits is designed to arm you with the tools to make it happen. In the first installment, we covered Groundwork and Recruitment. Now let’s explore the final components: Options, Opportunity, and Manage & Meet Expectations.

Friendly Competition: We Can All Get Along

When Jack and Jenna Oliver opened Above the Bar, a CrossFit® facility in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 2 years ago, they knew it wouldn’t be an overnight success. However, they didn’t expect the competition to be so fierce. First, they had to deal with a Planet Fitness grand opening (with $10 monthly memberships); then, another CrossFit facility set up shop just a few miles away. Despite the competition, their box was so successful that they moved to a larger location—only to find out that a 24 Hour Fitness® was opening up less than a mile away!

Seven Reasons People Join a Fitness Facility, Part One

The daily responsibilities of owning and managing a fitness facility can be overwhelming. Along with all the usual details, like class scheduling and staff management, a primary concern is the danger of reduced revenue due to member turnover.

Inspired Service, Part One: A High Vibration

You want your fitness facility to be successful and to impact people’s lives positively. Plus, you want to grow, which means you need to sell. That means you must offer the programs, products, professionals and operations that customers want, and you must have a powerful website and marketing plan.

Upgrade Relationships and Upgrade Retention

Many fitness facilities focus on getting new members in the door, providing a basic orientation and setting them free—free to slowly lose interest in attaining their fitness goals and coming to the gym. This pattern occurs frequently, affecting the facility’s attrition rate.

Attrition: Your Business’s Biggest Expense

If you think your biggest expense is payroll, which is what I often hear when I ask fitness facility owners and managers, you’re wrong. In my experience, attrition—the number of members lost compared to the number of members overall—is the real financial sinkhole.

Mobilize Your Personal Training Staff

The fiscal year is coming to a close, and you have a chance not only for a successful final push but also to connect with your personal trainers in a way that inspires them. Use the following tips to build a cohesive team, empower your trainers and, ultimately, sell sessions.

Saving a Sinking Ship, Part 3: Achieving Excellence in Customer Service

With the recent fluctuation in the economy, businesses have become acutely aware of the need to provide a high level of customer service. Businesses that can create a competitive advantage through the service they provide will find themselves one step closer to success. Those that ignore the value of service will find themselves falling toward failure. In this article, I will share sound principles for creating a culture of excellence in customer service.

Customer Service How-Tos

With savvy customers often looking for that little bit extra when they invest in fitness, customer service skills can make or break a business.

“It is the personal, little things that make a difference,” says Nicki Anderson, owner of Healthy Innovations Inc., in Naperville, Illinois. “You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on advertising [to draw clientele]. You simply have to care, bring value to your clients and always go a step beyond their expectations.”
Here are Anderson’s top tips for providing tip-top customer service for your clients and facility members:

Selling Services in a Faltering Economy, Part 2

In Part I of “Selling Services in a Faltering Economy” (in the October 2012 issue of IDEA Trainer Success), I discussed five steps you can take to energize your business: target your expertise; differentiate your products, price and relationships; protect your current client base; develop multiple revenue streams; and give gifts that reward you, too. Here are five more steps you can take to boost sales in a weak economy.

Offer Multiple Purchase Options [subhead]

Increasing Professionalism: Building Relationships

As a fitness professional, you are in the relationship business. Just as the food you eat fuels your body for exercise, relationships are the fuel that feeds your business. But growing your business requires more than having strong interpersonal skills with your clients. Your business success is also influenced by your relationships with your colleagues and competitors. For example, cooperative marketing efforts and co-promotion can help your business grow. Also, solid business relationships can help you work through personal and professional challenges.

[subhead] Prioritize

Team Development: The Perfect Member Experience

If you had only one chance to make a good first impression, you wouldn’t want to blow it by providing potential clients with a subpar initial experience. Yet, a shoddy introduction and a useless tour followed by a hardcore sales pitch are what people sometimes get when they walk into a fitness facility.

The Anatomy of a Successful Client Testimonial

Customer testimonials can be fantastic tools for driving new business to your door. But boring, photo-free client comments buried deep inside your website are unlikely to do the trick. To quickly capture the imagination (and training dollars) of the masses, it is critical to breathe life into client success stories.

So what makes some testimonials tedious and others terrific? Follow these four steps to avoid the mistakes of time-wasting customer snooze stories. Bring your facility’s testimonials back from the brink—and attract new-member dollars to your door.

The “Secret Shopper” Advantage

As a fitness entrepreneur, you work hard to provide your customers with great workout experiences. But do your staff members effectively deliver on your goals? Or is there a gap between your expectations and the service your clients receive?

To find out, you might want to arrange a “secret shopping” evaluation of your fitness business. Discover the pros and cons of secretly shopping your company by hiring a professional evaluator—or by doing it yourself. It’s a unique way to determine what your customers really think.

Incentives to Improve Client and Member Motivation

When executed properly, clever contests and incentive plans can provide effective means for keeping customers focused on their goals. That means greater success for clients—and a healthier bottom line for you. Here are some contest and incentive success stories from your fellow IDEA members:

This year the most successful contest I ran at the worksite was the Make It Happen Team Activity Challenge. The Make It Happen team could be 3–5 people who had to exercise for at least two 15-minute bouts a day to receive 1 point—or 30 minutes or more once a day.

The Anatomy of a Successful Initial Consultation

Like an awkward first date, the initial consultation between trainer and potential client often begins with nervous anticipation. Both parties may cling to hopes of a long-term partnership while harboring fears of being rejected or unheard. Winning over the new customer’s heart (and training budget!) will demand genuine listening skills and a keen attentiveness to his or her needs.

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