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In Print Leadership The Essentials

6 Ingredients to Own and Immediately Resolve Problems


One of my colleagues was walking around the gym finding his next client. As he was passing by the yoga room, a member abruptly stopped him and shouted, “Sir, the dirty towel bin is missing. Where should I put my towel?” The trainer replied, “Let me go find the bin right away.” Within a split second, the member jammed her towel in the trainer’s chest and grumbled, “Do your job.”

Members walk in with lots of problems aside from you. Don’t take it personally if a member flies off the handle. Your job is to make their life better.

What can you do to ensure members leave satisfied or happy? Let me share with you six key ingredients to own and immediately resolve problems using the acronym “LAUGH +1.”

L: Listen. Take a deep breath and try to listen all the way through. Don’t interrupt. Be proactive and take notes. 

A: Apologize. Don’t try to be the “right one.” Instead, smile, take another deep breath, continue to listen and apologize. 

U: Understand frustration. Empathize. Tell them you understand how they feel. Sincerely offer up, “I can relate and definitely understand how you feel.” 

G: Get it fixed and get contact information. There is nothing more aggravating than having to tell a front-line team member, a member service representative, a chatbot and a manager about the same issue. Own it.

H: Happy outcome. You’re going to get knocked down, but you have the ability to get back up and write a happy ending — but you have to be quick. According to Dimensional Research, 69% of customers attribute their good customer experience to a quick resolution. Imagine if a gym member complains to you, “Your club is overcrowded and you need more squat racks.” Utilize LAUGH and pass along their request to the manager right away, but also: 

+1 … make sure to add a little more. “Plus one” is doing what you feel is right to solve the problem and then going one step further. Don’t just notify the general manager. Send the member a handwritten note with a complimentary beverage card thanking them for their communication and ongoing loyalty. 

Done right, LAUGH +1 will result in your customers saying, “Wow.”

Derek Deprey

Derek Deprey is the director of people and service at Wisconsin Athletic Club.

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