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I recentlycalled my bank to contest a duplicate ATM fee that I was incorrectly chargedbecause the ATM was malfunctioning. I wasn't anticipating it to take more thanabout 5 or 10 minutes of my time; unfortunately, my experience was quite theopposite. After punching through about 20 voice prompts to finally speak with arepresentative, they refused to refund the charges because they could not provethat the machine was malfunctioning. As a result, they lost a long-timecustomer with multiple accounts... because $6 apparently was moreimportant than the retaining the trust of a loyal customer.
In a verydifferent experience, there's a local café that I frequent, often with myhusband and two-year old son, EJ. The baristas remember how I like my coffee andcall me by name. But what really made me a loyal, raving fan was one usual morningI came in for my coffee and the barista slid a bag across the counter with ahappy face drawn on it and said, "just a little something for EJ." Sheremembered my son loved their blueberry muffins. Would I still go there for mycoffee if they didn't give me free muffin, probably. But I'm a lot less likelyto tell my friends about my experience had they not done something as simple asremembering my son and his favorite treat.

What areyour clients saying about you? What is the buzz in your community about yourbusiness or your facility? When a client is talking about you to someone else,how do they describe you? What do you do so your clients rave about their uniqueexperience?

If you don't know what people are saying about you and your business, it'scritical that you find out. And if they're not talking at all, you need tothink about what you can do that gets them so excited about doing business withyou they can't help but talk about it.

Not surewhat they're saying? Ask them! Send a short and direct survey to your clients, prospectsand email contacts (using a free online platform like surveymonkey.com) and askthem about their experience or their perception of your brand and yourbusiness. Keep the survey anonymous so they feel they can answer freely; youmay be surprised of what you discover.

As fitnessprofessionals we're not simply in a service industry, we're in the experience industry; the product wehappen to offer is fitness. Give your clients an experience they can't getanywhere else, make them feel special and valued, and with no extra effort,you're likely to create the kind of buzz that can transform your business

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How much of your time would you estimate you spend growing your business?