The gym I go to is inexpensive. It has the right equipment and classes I feel I need in order to stay fit. It’s also only a seven-minute walk from my home. So why do I hate it so much?
Because they don’t really care about their customers.
Treadmills go weeks before getting fixed, with only a sad piece of paper informing you that the machine is being repaired (sure). Sometimes, the TVs on the treadmills work; oftentimes they don’t. Sometimes, it seems, the gym hasn’t paid their cable bill because all the TVs are stuck on one channel, the shopping channel (scream).
And if you use their online service portal to log a complaint/concern/problem, nothing happens. No, I really mean nothing happens. No automated reply saying the request has been logged. No communication whatsoever. And the final indignity? The item you logged a concern about is never fixed. Entreaties to the young and pleasant staffer at the front desk are met with silent smiles and, eventually, an admission that all they can do is pass the information on to their management. You know, those phantoms who don’t communicate with members, etc., etc., etc.
If they cared about their customers…
They would monitor their members’ experience to ensure it met their expectations for the fee that is paid.
They would fix broken equipment in a timely manner and not expect that a piece of paper is a sufficient form of goodwill and communications.
They would utilize their own service portal on their website. Nothing sinks the fortunes of a company in the eyes of a customer experience professional more than a website that doesn’t do what, from its appearance, it is designed to do.
Digitalization is important for marketing, the customer experience, and business. People expect to go online and have a compelling experience that takes care of all their needs. We live in the age of IoT. To not go digital is to be left behind. Just like people expect a gym to be able to cater to their exercise needs. The gym and a business can do a few similar things to keep a satisfactory experience:
Spend the money. For the gym, this means the money they make to keep the facilities clean, up to date, and do promotions to let people know what's going on. For a company's website, it's to make sure the service portal is paid attention to in a two-way manner. It’s not good enough for companies to say they are paying attention to customer concerns if they don’t communicate with the customers. Each customer conversation, no matter how small, offers the chance to improve the relationship.
Monitor. A business has to monitor its website to see what visitors are reacting to, what they don't like, what makes them leave the site, what makes them click through or download something. Likewise, a gym has to monitor its equipment on a daily basis and keep it in top shape. But go further. When upgrading the machines, make sure each one is internet-connected so that maintenance can be speedy and, even better, anticipatory.
Communicate with transparency and respect for customers, regardless of whether you're a gym or another type of business. Keep in touch with customers and tell them what's going on via emails, a newsletter, an app, or your website. It’s not a difficult thing to do, especially for the gym I go to. You already send out fabulous emails sharing details about your terrific personal trainers, tips for getting more out of our workouts, and some (sincerely) helpful diet ideas. Just include a section that informs us about repairs. Simple.
But, you know, maybe my gym doesn't care about any of these member concerns. Maybe they don’t care that they might lose members. Maybe they don’t think they are in an industry that is under threat of being disrupted. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I should just accept bad service.
Or maybe I should buy myself one of those fancy, schmancy Internet-connected bikes I see on TV ( the one I have at home works) and move on.
And remember that if your business provides bad services, your customers will move on, too.
The simpler, the better, especially when it comes to the customer experience. See how “Streamlining the Customer Experience” helps you better satisfy customers and positively impacts revenue and other KPIs.