Did you know that 68% of consumers would pay more if a company has great customer service?
Customer service can be one of the trickier processes in your business to get right, especially if you’ve never worked in a customer-facing role before. You’re responsible for managing expectations, emotions and solving problems.
We’re going to skip to the (usually) worst-case scenario: one of your customers has approached you to make a complaint about your service. Perhaps they’re unhappy with some of the equipment or maybe their membership has been set up incorrectly. Both situations aren’t ideal, but both will require a similar customer service strategy to keep that customer happy and paying for their membership.
Looking after unhappy customers.
While you want to keep the number of unhappy customers at your club to a minimum, sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. When you have to work with an unhappy customer, you must listen to their problems. You have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk!
Make sure you’re understanding their problems in context and show empathy towards their situation. Practice active listening – a technique in which you paraphrase your customer’s complaint back to them to show that you’re digesting what they’re saying. Show them that you consider their feedback important.
When your customer has finished telling you about their experience, apologise for the problem they’re having. Apologising doesn’t necessarily mean you’re admitting fault, simply that you’re sorry that the customer’s expectation hasn’t been met. Finally – and most importantly – present a solution and take action to solve their problem. If you need some time to think of a solution or ascertain why their problem occurred, let the customer know and keep them informed on your progress; even if it’s an email or phone call to say that you haven’t come up with a solution yet but you’re still working on it.
Listen to their concerns in their context and show empathy towards their situation, practice active listening: respond in a way that is positive and demonstrates that you understand what they’re saying and that you consider it to be important, apologise for the problem they’re having, present a solution, take action and follow up on how they’re doing. Once you’ve solved their problem, check in with them every once in a while to make sure they’re still having a good experience.
Responding to customer complaints.
If you have to respond to a written complaint, take a second to process what’s been said. It can be easy to react rather than respond and so it’s important to digest the complaint. Receiving not-so-constructive feedback is never a fun experience, but try not to take things personally. Otherwise, you run the risk of sending a response that’s fuelled by emotion rather than a calm, logical response. Thank the customer for taking the time to share their feedback and take them through what action will be taken. Again, reiterate that you understand their frustration and show that you’re committed to putting things right.
Maintain a people-first approach and a problem-solving attitude.
When a member has a bad experience at your club, use a people-first approach and remain optimistic. What might seem like a minor issue to you might feel like the end of the world to your customer, so be empathetic and make them feel validated. Once you’ve thoroughly understood their problem, don’t spend too much longer dwelling on it. Focus on how you can both move forward with solving their problem.
Perhaps the hardest lesson to learn in customer service is that in rare cases, you can’t please everyone. Sometimes, your customer is simply not a good match for your business. If you’ve exhausted every solution and your member is still unsatisfied, it might be time to let them leave. If that’s the case, politely explain that you’ve done everything you can and begin your offboarding process. You could even recommend a different facility for them to try that might be more suited to their requirements.
Above all, be polite and respectful and maintain a people-first approach at every level of your customer service. Keep up regular communication with your members and try to address any concerns early on before they turn into a formal complaint.
Want to nail your customer service and earn more money without lifting a finger? Speak to one of our product experts at +44 (0)203 884 9777 or book your free, no-obligation online demo today.