The Importance of Customer Service
Last night Jennifer sent me this article written by Tom Lahoud. He talks about the role customer service plays in our jobs as indoor cycling instructors. When I was 20, I worked at Nordstrom and I learned how vital good customer service is in keeping a client base. Their employees’ attention to detail with regards to the shopper’s experience and the level at which the company empowers their employees to solve customer issues all play an integral role in their brand loyalty. It’s their customer service that keep clients coming back. So, what can we learn from them and how do we apply it in the studio? Well, it begins by rethinking business as usual.
Bring Your A Game
Always bring your best to the studio. Your students are looking to you to motivate them and encourage them. Going on and on about the rough day you had or the lack of sleep you got the night before doesn’t matter to the paying client. As Tom mentions in his article, “Remember that you are a performer and the studio is your stage.” Let’s stay in character.
It makes you feel good when someone goes out of their way and addresses you individually, right? Apply that same philosophy in the studio. Make your students feel valued and important, especially those just starting out, or those not-so-regular students. Build that connection with them and make them feel included. I love giving individuals recognition in class, especially when I can see them giving it their all and not giving up on their strength and ability. Giving them that little shout-out will provide the encouragement they need to continue to push.
Dress the Part
We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the harsh reality is that first impressions matter. How you present yourself to your class can have a lasting impact on how seriously they’ll take you. It takes just an average of 7 seconds for someone to form an impression of you upon meeting them, whether you open your mouth or not. You can be the most confident, capable, credible instructor in the world, but if you don’t look the part people won’t see you as that. So make sure you’re wearing the appropriate clothing and cleats.
Two Ears, One Mouth
Always start your class asking these three questions: is anyone is new, does anyone need help with their bike setup, and does anyone have any injuries or issues that you should know about. When you listen to your clients you may learn something that helps you serve their needs better. And let’s not forget the golden role: If you listen to them, they will listen
When you say you’ll do something, make sure you meet your commitment. If you promise a new profile, make sure you deliver on it. It’s also important to know what you have control of and what’s outside your scope. If there are technical issues at your facility, promise to talk to management, but don’t promise to fix them if you yourself don’t have the ability to do so.
Go Beyond What’s Expected
Let’s face it, there are other studios, other instructors, other classes. What are YOU doing to keep your clientele coming back? How can YOU make their time spent with you memorable? Maybe it’s knowing the music they like and incorporating it into your profiles (even if it’s not your favorite). Or perhaps you have a handful of students training for an event. Taking the time to create a profile that mimics their race terrain separates you from the rest. Go beyond what’s expected to win their loyalty.
Ask for Feedback
As an online marketer in my “previous life,” I cannot stress enough how important customer feedback is. If your facility doesn’t administer surveys at least once a year, it’s time to have a conversation with them. Client feedback gives us tangible data on how your clients view you and the service you provide. It also helps improve customer retention, which will keep you employed!
An Attitude of Gratitude
There is no such thing as sincerely saying “please” and “thank you” too much. People love to be recognized and praised. Take the time to show your gratitude and appreciation to your class by giving them your undivided attention, as well as thanking them for sharing their time with you. Be specific. Don’t just say thank you. Let them know why you’re thanking them.
Act with Integrity
Tom nailed it in his post: “As an indoor cycling instructor, you have a professional and ethical obligation to the safety of your riders and to the image you project. Avoid contraindicated moves, correct such moves off the mic, do not disparage a rider or a fellow instructor, promote fellow instructors, avoid criticizing the studio’s management (always have an open dialogue with management—if something is wrong, let them know; do not wait for your students to let them know). More importantly, be open to constructive criticism and be gracious in accepting responsibility when called for.”
Never. Stop. Learning.
Always strive to be your best. Read more. Learn more. Share your knowledge with your class. Don’t
be that instructor who was certified years ago but hasn’t taken any continuing education classes. Remember that you have an educational responsibility to your students. Become a trusted advisor
and position yourself as the go-to expert and source of information in your industry for your students.