Great customer service can increase the overall value of your business and make a huge impact on your bottom line. Incredible customer service is what makes your business unique and it’s the reason why members remain loyal to your brand. Customer service is a sales tool that can have a measurable impact on your revenue.
With changing consumer expectations, there is little room for error when it comes to customer service, especially in the fitness industry. Nowadays, the only normal is change. Businesses need to continue to adapt to customer expectations and mindset to succeed long-term. In an entirely customer-centric business in the fitness industry, customer service needs to be at the forefront of your priorities. Your customer service allows you to stay relevant, ahead of the competition, and ultimately, grow. In this article, we talk about why customer service should be at the core of your business decisions.
Skip ahead to:
- What is Customer Service?
- Customer Service Differentiates You From the Competition
- 4 Trends That Will Define Great Customer Service in 2021
- 10 Reasons Why Customer Service is Important in the Fitness Industry
What is Customer Service?
When your revenue is directly linked to your membership base, your customer service is a huge factor in determining your success. At its core, customer service is the support your customers receive. It means providing your members with high-quality and consistent service. When your members sign up for your offering, they are investing in your service. That service is then judged by how you and your team make your members feel. The feeling that members leave with will determine whether they stick around or leave and never come back.
If you deliver great customer service, it has several benefits, including:
- Build brand awareness and loyalty
- Increase value of the business
- Boost member retention
- Attract high-quality talent
- Enhance brand reputation
- Encourage referrals
Better customer service means that you retain members for longer. Your customer service drives sales, increases revenue, and bolsters the growth of your business. Without good customer service, you will likely not keep hold of your members for long.
Customer Service Differentiates You From the Competition
Customer service is a key differentiator in your business. The fitness landscape is intensely competitive. To stay ahead of your competitors, you need to meet changing consumer demands and expectations. Here a couple of stand-out statistics that show just how customer service can give you an edge:
- 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in the decision-making process.
- Almost three out of four people say that good customer service is essential to brand loyalty.
Excellence in customer service provides health clubs and fitness centers with a competitive edge. Members who are satisfied with your service are more loyal and naturally tell their friends and family about you. For fitness business owners, it’s imperative that customer service and experience be a top priority. Getting new members is an ongoing challenge for service providers, so increasing member retention is crucial.
For a more in-depth look at member retention, Dr. Paul Redford, an industry-leading expert on retention and the owner of Retention Guru, talks about retention now and in the future. He explores the fundamentals of a great retention strategy and creating an engaging customer experience in virtual settings and across franchise locations.
4 Trends That Will Define Great Customer Service in 2021
For businesses, across all industries, 2020 will forever be a defining year. In fitness and wellness, many companies have shifted to completely different business models to survive throughout the pandemic. Rapidly changing consumer expectations put an even bigger spotlight and delivering great customer service. Here are four trends that will be important in customer service now and in the future.
If you’re not operating with an omnichannel approach to communication and customer service, now is the time to adapt. By utilizing an omnichannel strategy, you can deliver seamless communication across different channels and devices to meet certain preferences and behaviors. Your members want to communicate with you on the platform they prefer. Whether it’s Facebook, WhatsApp, email, or in a live chat in your branded app, you need to deliver a unified experience across all communication channels.
Hyper-Personalization at Scale
It’s not surprising that personalization continues to be a major player in the world of customer service. But, now we’re looking at hyper-personalization on a large scale. Customers want friendly, approachable, and efficient customer service. Whether it’s segmenting your member base so that you can deliver valuable content or being greeted by name when you walk into a facility, members should be able to feel a high level of personalization throughout your business.
Efficient and Streamlined Customer Service
The customer service experience should be efficient and streamlined. Your team should be working at maximum efficiency to serve members at a high level. This means giving your team the tools and knowledge to deliver customer service efficiently. Inefficient customer services lead to unsatisfied customers and a higher level of time-wasting. All this impacts your bottom line and member happiness.
Technology such as artificial intelligence and chatbots will form an essential part of customer service. As more businesses utilize these types of features, it will become a norm for consumers. Businesses that invest in technology will be able to make better data-driven decisions, automate and streamline business operations, and boost efficiency.
The Fitness Founders Podcast has a fantastic episode on the new rules of engagement in the fitness industry. Ian Mullane, the CEO of Keepme, talks about the importance of data-driven personalization, the importance of consistency in the member journey, and how fitness operators should engage with big tech companies.
10 Reasons Why Customer Service is Important in the Fitness Industry
Great customer service increases member retention and ultimately, boosts revenue. As gym member retention is an ongoing issue for the majority of fitness club owners, keeping those numbers high is a worry. By investing in your customer service, multiple areas of your business can benefit. Here are 10 reasons why customer service is so important in the fitness industry.
1. Member Retention is Cheaper than Member Acquisition
When a member leaves, especially a long-term member it can cost a health club as much as $674 in annual revenue. According to the IHRSA, it can take years to get back the revenue lost. The reality is that retaining your current members is cheaper than acquiring new ones. Attracting new members is great, it validates your efforts and shows that your services are in demand. But member retention is really the lifeblood of a fitness facility. When you know how to engage your members and deliver exceptional and consistent customer service, the overall member experience is elevated.
2. Customer Service Represents Your Brand
Your customer service represents your brand. Potential customers will visit your website and social media channels to get a feel for your brand. But when they speak to your employees and read reviews, they are speaking to real people. When your team is friendly, approachable, and delivers a great level of service, they are constantly representing your brand. Because of this, your fitness staff onboarding program and ongoing training are crucial in giving your employees the tools they need to deliver the expected level of customer service.
3. Great Customer Service Equals Happy Members
If you can provide amazing customer service, you can keep your current members happy. Satisfied and happy members are loyal and share your praises with friends and family members. To keep members happy, you need to truly understand how your customers feel. There’s no point investing in expensive digital equipment and innovative fitness solutions if your members are unhappy with your customer service. In any developmental plan, the first step should be to increase customer satisfaction and ensure member happiness. Creating a great member experience is what makes your business unique.
4. Increase Member Referrals
When you have a loyal following of happy members who love what you do and how you do it, you create an organic form of marketing. Word of mouth marketing is a powerful tool that can drive sales and attract new customers to your business. Good customer service increases member referrals. By creating a member referral program, you can build brand awareness and attract customers in a cost-effective and organic way. Turn your members into brand cheerleaders. Customer service is a tool for marketing and sales as it creates satisfied members.
5. Build Trust and Loyalty
When you’re treated well and feel listened to, it solidifies your loyalty to a brand. Think about a time where something has gone wrong, but the issue was dealt with quickly and honestly. You assume that it’s a one-off as it was handled so well. When you leave a business feeling happy and positive, it continues to build trust and loyalty. Over time, great customer service creates a positive experience and association with a brand. Think about the entire customer journey and how you can deliver excellent customer service throughout. This could start at your check-in desk, but also includes your live streams, fitness classes, and personal training services. When you build trust and loyalty, it makes it easier to upsell additional services.
6. Charge a Premium Price
Statistics show that 50% of customers will increase their spending with a brand if they have a positive customer service experience. Interestingly, 67% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer service experience. Customers are clearly willing to pay more to deal with a brand that delivers exceptional customer service. You need to prioritize customer service to grow. Boutique fitness brands tend to charge a higher price. But with a premium price tag comes the expectation of stellar customer service. You are paying for the experience and to know that you will feel positive after every single interaction.
7. Boost Member Lifecycle Value
Loyal members are more valuable to your business the longer you retain them. A lot of your success as a business will come down to your member retention strategy. Great customer service is a key part of member retention. Of course, you need a great facility that’s hygienic with well-maintained equipment and a workout that gets results. But creating happy customers comes down to the experience as a whole. To improve customer service, it’s a good idea to measure member satisfaction. Evaluate the current state of member happiness by asking for feedback. You can use surveys to gauge the temperature of your gym members.
8. Drive Sales and Marketing Opportunities
If done correctly, customer service can actually drive sales and marketing opportunities. Customer service can give you insights into your current members that your sales team can use. Good customer service can increase your bottom line, word of mouth marketing, referrals, and positive reviews. Often, potential customers will read online reviews to get a sense of what it would be like to join your gym. Good customer service means that you’re more likely to have positive reviews which helps to increase sales and marketing opportunities.
9. Meet Customer Expectations and Demands
Consumers expect fantastic customer service. To stay on top of the latest trends and compete in the fitness industry, you need to meet customer expectations and demand. Your customer service is an integral part of retaining members. Bad customer service has the power to make you lose business. Consistently poor customer service will cost your fitness business money.
10. Gain a Competitive Edge
Finally, customer service has the ability to give you a competitive edge. To be successful in the fitness industry, you need to remain relevant, competitive, and innovative. By continuing to meet changing consumer demands and expectations, you are creating the kind of experience that your members love. The way your business makes members feel is a powerful tool, so use it to your advantage.
Members expect high-quality service. Businesses need to implement omni channel communication to support members on various platforms. Customer service is at the core of your brand, and you should go above and beyond to improve member satisfaction. The bottom line is that your customer service is key to retention and generating revenue.