If you want to keep customers coming back to your sports academy, you need three things.
First, you need to deliver what they paid for: excellent physical training in a professional environment.
Second, you need to invest time in marketing that will show your appreciation and keep clients away from competitors. (Related: The Ultimate Guide to Customer Retention)
Finally, you need excellent customer service, which means quick responses and a positive attitude whenever customers interact with you. Without this third element, your business can’t thrive — your customers simply won’t stay.
However, providing customer service the wrong way also presents a more subtle threat. It can be a huge time sink, draining you and your staff away from important tasks that make you a better business.
To protect your time as the owner (Related: Time Management for Owners), sometimes the best way to approach customer service is to figure out how you can make it as efficient as possible. Here are a few easy ways to do that.
When I first launched what would become eSoft Planner 8 years ago, it was one of the first completely web-based schedulers available for sports facilities.
Since then, automated email reminders have gone from being a cool new feature to something that is absolutely expected by customers.
Parents are used to getting text and email reminders about all kinds of appointments now, from haircuts to dental visits. They’ll want them from you, too.
These reminders can eliminate confusion or miscommunication over times or dates. They also encourage parents to reschedule appointments if necessary, ahead of time and according to your policies.
Plus, with the right software, these reminders happen completely on their own, with no additional work from your staff.
A great customer service experience starts before a client has spent a dime at your sports academy.
As soon as a prospective client tries to contact you for the first time, they’re learning what kind of service they can expect. Your initial response can go a long way to landing them as a long-term client.
At this early stage, the most important things you can do are make your business easy to contact and respond to inquiries right away.
You probably already know that your business phone number should go through to a professional voicemail that’s checked regularly.
However, these days many people prefer to reach out through email, a contact form on your web site, or even a message through Facebook or other social media.
If you don’t have a web contact form, click here to learn how to add one. Make sure you’ve figured out who is responsible for handling web inquiries that come in at any time of day. If you’re using an email marketing program, you can even set up an auto-response that includes a thank you message and other relevant information.
Adding a web form and creating an autoresponder just takes a few hours, is great for customer service, and can result in many more new leads for your business.
Online Account Access
If you’re a parent, you may have found yourself trying to manage family issues like lesson scheduling in bits of time throughout the day — on your lunch break, for example — or even late at night when one of your kids wakes up sick.
When you give your customers the ability do these things online quickly in a professional, secure portal, you’re improving their customer experience.
Online services are available at any time of day or night, which is a level of responsiveness that most in-person services can’t provide.
The nice thing is, you’re not just doing your clients a favor. You’re doing yourself a favor, too.
Each time they go online to contact you or manage their account instead of doing it in person, you or your staff can spend that time on better things, like more meaningful client check-ins about athlete progress or big picture planning for your facility.
If you’d like more info about eSoft Planner, the web-based software that can help you automate much of your customer service, click here and request a free demo. All of our clients get custom, consultative training from either me or my staff where we’ll go over best practices for customer management.