Getting a solid start at servicing your market begins with every single interaction you and your staff have with prospective and existing customers. At Twist Conditioning, our customer service mantra is "Underpromise; overdeliver." We aspire to provide great quality, value and benefits. Although we do promise a lot, we avoid pledging more than we can realistically expect to deliver.

Set yourself up to succeed. To exceed expectations, you must consistently provide better quality, through a better experience, in a more timely manner, than your customers anticipate. If you are able to work within that framework, your staff will be perceived as trustworthy, knowledgeable, ethical and positive, and the customer interaction process will be deemed efficient and accurate. This goodwill will help you build relationships that extend beyond the facility walls, and your reputation will work for you as a marketing tool.

To properly service your customers, first identify who they are, then focus on what you can offer them that makes you or your company’s services different. For example, one of Twist Conditioning’s points of difference is we don’t hire any salespeople. Zero. We hire only coaches and athletes. Even though we sell products along with our training services, education and franchises, all our employees are coaches and athletes. They run our business operations, marketing, finance, coaching, education, product distribution and franchise management. This may seem odd, especially to a sales-focused membership-driven health club industry, but our point of difference is that all staff are well-versed in leading-edge training methods and knowledgeable about the practical application of training concepts. In any interaction, our customers can expect to have a positive, efficient experience with staff who can competently, consistently and accurately answer their questions.

While Twist Conditioning offers athletic and functional training, products, education and franchised sport conditioning centers, we are actually a service business and as such most focused on the customer experience. As a team, we aspire to provide an excellent experience in workshops, at trade shows and during workouts; in fact, we aspire to excellence during every single exchange with clients and customers—by phone or e-mail, and whether they are being coached, procuring products, inquiring about franchises or listening to presentations.

Financially and operationally, it is better to service existing customers than it is to find new ones. An "every-time" positive experience with existing customers is crucial for turning traction into momentum and growth. It’s worthwhile to keep in mind that your "every-time" policy might be a "first- and only-time" interaction with a potential or new customer—sometimes, you really do get only one chance to get it right. My customers are welcomed and treated as part of my business, and our rule is to do whatever it takes to service them with positive experiences. Determine where you can bring extra value through positive people and processes; how you can exceed expectations; and what you can do to underpromise and overdeliver.

To read Peter Twist’s entire article, "Servicing Your Market," refer to the November-December 2007 issue of IDEA Trainer Success or online in the IDEA Article Archive.