When I first opened my gym I was the only one in town that focused on personal training. Many of the large chain gyms had personal training but I was unique. I had turf, sleds, chains and I even trained young athletes which really made me different
It helped. I grew quickly because I was different, I was the only game in town. Then, cross fit came around and several of their facilities popped up near me. Their gyms looked just like mine. I started getting the calls asking if I was a crossfit.
Then the large gyms started putting in turf, pushing sleds and doing small group training, just like I was. One of the local gyms even brought in one my biggest training mentors Charlie Weingroff to train their staff.
I was no longer different. The competition looked like me. Used the same equipment as me. They had programs like me. They were using the same mentors as me. My prices were close to double of my competition
My facility was older. Most of my equipment was used. How was I able to survive all this competition? What was keeping us alive and thriving for 10 years? Our unfair advantage: Customer Service!
They can copy everything we do. They can steal every program we write. I’ve even had a local gym open that looked identical to mine. They can never steal how much you care. They can never steal how you make people feel. This is the basis of customer service, caring!
That caring gives people a feeling. A feeling of loyalty and trust. A feeling that it’s not an expense but an investment or a partnership. But this is hard. Many times I hear from business owners that say things like:
“I care, but it stops at me, no one cares like I do!”
Trust me, it’s possible. How do I know? At GFP, we have loyal long term members that spend over $500/month that I have not seen or spoken to in years. Here are two ways to solve the problem of great customer service stopping at you:
- Your Hiring process: If you hire for skill you will be running into problems. Hire for character. Only people with character will care enough to give great service. I have hired many unqualified people that I know care enough to give great customer service
- Develop your keys to great customer: I learned this from Ari Weinzweig from Zingerans Deli. They created a system for their team to deliver great service all the time. We made our own version of that system so its easy for people to remember. Our 3 keys to great customer service at GFP are:
- Find out what our members want
- Help them
- Exceed their expectations
3 simple easy steps to totally annihilate your completion!
Giving great customer service also just makes you feel like your making a difference. It gives you and your team more job satisfaction, it makes you feel happier at work. The key is making great service a cultural thing, its gotta be just what you do.
You need to be willing to fire people that don’t give great service. You need to be willing to spend time on how to make your service better. You need to be willing to care a little more than your competition. The is the only thing your competition cannot beat you at.