The term “customer experience” encompasses every impression and perception that your members have of your club — from how they learn about you, to the sounds and smells that greet them, to the way they think about the experience after they leave. While “customer service” describes only certain touchpoints or interactions between you and your customers, “customer experience” describes their entire journey with your club.
What makes customer experience so important? For one thing, thanks to social media and online reviews, customers today are much more empowered. They can share or tweet anything about their experience with your club making it critical that you consistently get each touchpoint right. In addition, an excellent customer experience directly correlates with increased revenue. According to McKinsey & Company, “companies offering an exceptional customer experience can exceed the gross margins of their competitors by more than 26 percent.” [i]
Here are a few tips on how to build a great customer experience for your members:
Sweat the Details
Put yourself in your members’ shoes and walk through every step they take with you. How can you stand out from the competition? At which touch points can you offer something exceptional?
- Be visible and inviting. Before customers arrive at your club, make a great first impression. Make it easy for people to find you online, and get them excited about their visit with engaging visuals on your website and social sites. Add photos of your space, descriptions of classes and information about your staff, and publicize events to attract them to your club.
- Create and curate your physical space. Walk through your club as if you were a member, making note of everything you see, hear, touch and smell. Consider the temperature, and lighting in each space. Should you play music or have TVs available? Take a look at the equipment and other items in each space. If they don’t enhance the customer experience, remove them. Keep in mind that each member will have different preferences. Try to make choices that accommodate everyone while still creating a unique atmosphere.
- Give a little, get a little. Your customer experience provides a number of opportunities to go above and beyond expectations. What can you offer your members throughout their journey that will stand out? Clean, fresh towels when they arrive? High-end toiletries in the locker rooms? Complimentary childcare? Give something extra. Your members will likely remember these gestures, and reward you with loyalty.
Use Tech to Enhance
When it comes to customer experience, nothing takes the place of personal interaction. Think of ways you can enhance your high touch, personal approach by offering the technical advancements your clients expect in today’s mobile world:
- Offer web and mobile booking. Clients appreciate flexibility and freedom. Online booking lets them take charge of their schedules from anywhere, at any time. With the a mobile app, they can reserve a spot in their favorite class, book their preferred bike or swim lane, or reserve time with their trainer all in just a few taps on their phone.
- Be efficient, yet personal. It’s possible to be too Clients don’t want to feel rushed or that they’re just a number. Technology can help you speed up transactions so your clients don’t feel inconvenienced. Just make sure you go slow enough for genuine interactions to occur.
Improving customer experience doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to continually measure how you’re doing by checking in with your clients – in person and through surveys. Investing the time and resources to work on your customer experience is well worth it—because a happier customer journey means a healthier business.
[i] “Customer experience: Creating value through transforming customer journeys,” McKinsey & Company, Winter 2016.
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