Customer Service = Sales
service will be remembered and rewarded. Poor customer service will
be remembered ...
On arrival in Dublin my partner registered with a recruitment agency
hoping to gain employment. Appointment made, she was ready to make
the best possible impression. The phone rang a couple of hours
before the meeting, "sorry but I have to cancel." A second booking
was made for tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and the same story - another
cancellation. Again, "that's fine" - she was still keen to make a
Eventually arriving at the re-scheduled appointment my partner is bemused to find that
the recruitment consultant she has dealt with is not available and the
meeting is with someone else. The meeting went well however, and
reassurance was made that there would be no difficulty gaining employment.
A colleague will ring in a couple of days to follow up.
No follow up call was received. In fact, despite leaving a message
with the gatekeeper, no word was heard for about a week and a half.
When finally they touch base with a possible work opportunity they were
advised by my partner that she no longer wished for them to represent her
and that she had a new agency.
What happened? ... poor customer service cost the company the opportunity
of a sale. In this case the sale was probably worth about in
excess of $5000. A couple of courtesy phone calls, a little bit more organisation and they would be $5000 better off!!
Ok, so we know that customer service is very important.
So what is poor customer service? Here are 7 examples of lousy
customer service that I have viewed in a fitness centre environment.
Is your centre suffering from poor customer service?
Are your members kept waiting?
Do you greet your members on arrival and farewell them on departure?
Do you make promises that are not kept?
Is your service inconsistent - good one day and poor the next?
Do you have poor complaint resolution skills?
Do you follow up on a sale?
Is your staff appearance poor?
How do you find out what people think of your service? Do not assume
that you are doing everything perfectly. Ask your members what they
think of your service - maybe a customer satisfaction survey, or
even sit down with a selection of members to discuss their impressions.
Service counts ...
Budgeting and Weekly Billing
Being inherently nosy - I have spent a
considerable amount of time visiting fitness centres during my travels.
Most recently in Ireland I sampled an Irish perspective on fitness.
I must have visited 10 clubs during the space of a few days in Dublin.
At each club I ask "may I have a look around your facility" in a very
polite tone. On completion of my investigation I then proceed to
enquire "can I please grab a price list?"
Over half of the centres point to the entrance giving me directions and
then hand me a price list on the way out, with little more than a mutter of
three or four words. Maybe they don't like kiwis? Perhaps
their centre is nearly full? There is certainly no encouragement to
However, it is the other few centres that I wish to focus on.
They discuss the membership options with me...
"Now if you join for this long your membership will be 40 euro a month."
"Or alternatively if you are a student it is 35 euro a month." I sit
there thinking - do I look like a student? 40 euro a month sounds
pretty expensive just for a gym membership. I could buy a couple of
new shirts for that. The staff member continues, "now,
payments are taken out on the 28th of every month." Thinking again -
I am not paid monthly, my temping role gives me a weekly income. Why
can't I align my payment with the day that I get paid?
When I quiz the staff member on these issues -
I get a "that's the way we do it" type of reply.
In NZ, 10-15 years ago there was a shift from upfront billing to residual
payments based around monthly automatic payments. Many centres
still persist with this monthly AP arrangement to this day. However,
over the past few years many gyms have warmed to the concept of weekly
billing and are reaping the rewards of this new approach.
So why is weekly billing better. There are 3 main reasons that
weekly billing is better than a monthly or upfront billing approach.
Weekly billing is easier to sell.
$10 per week is far easier to sell than $40 per month. Remember
customers will compare a larger amount against something else that they
2 - A higher gross premium can be sold without any
When selling a membership $10 per week is thought of as the same amount as
$40 per month. However $10 per week equates to
$520 per year, whereas $40 per month is $480 per year.
3 - Weekly billing encourages greater retention.
Customers are more likely to continue paying a small amount from there
bank account regularly, than a larger amount less regularly.
Don't take my word for the benefits of weekly billing... try it for