This isn’t going to be an article about what is good customer service in the sense of refunds, trouble shootings, etc. This is more in line on MARKETING and SELLING.
In order to explain, let me share a story.
When Things Change, Change With Them
Due to the Coronavirus, many fitness professionals had to move their training and jobs online. Some were already personal trainers and perhaps had some online components while others were fitness instructors at gyms and studios that worked on a schedule and were paid by the owner rather than the actual fitness customers.
I attended a fitness studio and one of my regular fitness instructors was one who now had to work somehow virtually. I posted on my Instagram story that I was stretching from home because of the quarantine order and she reached out to me saying she had online fitness classes and that we should get together.
From a personal stand point, I didn’t need these online fitness classes because I am pretty fitness self-motivated, but she is one of my favorite instructors so I kept her in mind for REFERRALS that I could send her way.
It so happens that the next day, a friend of mine was telling me how she misses fitness classes (she went to a different studio) and that she isn’t motivated enough to do it on her own. I remembered my instructor and said I would ask her what her prices were and what she offered, which my friend appreciated.
I contacted my instructor and after a few messages back and forth for clarifying questions, she never got back to me. And later, I saw her advertising on her Instagram for virtual classes, just DM her.
Where Future Customers Come From
I haven’t reached back out to my instructor for two reasons:
- My friend wasn’t too concerned about the classes.
- I believe it is the instructor’s job (or the entrepreneur) to follow up with potential customer questions.
I was offering her a potential customer and who knows, future customers, but because she brushed me off, I won’t refer anymore.
You don’t know who can and will refer you. The best is to practice best customer service to everyone even if it isn’t the people who will eventually be a customer.
Customer Service Tips
Here are my thoughts on what she should have done from a marketing perspective:
- Responded in a TIMELY MANNER.
- Created a RATE SHEET (which I asked her if she had one) and given it to me.
- A RATE SHEET is a document that details what you offer and for how much.
- Or just typed out in the private message what the rates would be.
- Or, just told me she didn’t have the information at that time and would get back to me soon (and then get back to me).
Another Story on Customer Service
I had another friend, before the Coronavirus, that was looking for a personal trainer. I used to work with someone in marketing who became a fitness coach and I messaged her as well on Instagram. This is what happened:
- She responded to me quickly and with lots of information.
- She asked about my friend to make sure she could help her properly.
- When my friend told me to exchange their numbers, my old co-worker was prompt in answering her questions.
- My friend became one of her clients and is now a happy customer.
I have since recommended my old co-worker to many others looking for a personal trainer.
The biggest takeaway from this should be responding in a timely manner with as much information as possible even if that information is, “May I please get back to you?” No one likes being left on read especially when everyone in today’s society is on their phone.
As an entrepreneur or a small business owner, you never know where the next client will come from. You never know who will be championing your name.
The Art of Business Growth
In my professional opinion, what happened with my fitness instructor was that she did not do much thinking before promoting her virtual classes. What I mean, she didn’t think through the different marketing and selling steps and, most likely, only thought about using a video call program and that people would send her money digitally such as Paypal, Interac, Venmo, etc. She would be at home doing what she does best through her laptop.
Unfortunately, business requires more planning and though marketing isn’t the most necessary business function (in comparison to accountants and taxes), when it comes to the art of customer service, every marketing and selling step needs to be thought out thoroughly or you risk losing a potential customer or referral source.
One last story, Facebook groups are marvelous for people looking to market and sell their services. You can frame the conversations and show your value by offering advice and some of your service for free.
A business friend of mine created a group and in it she gives business tips for improving your business and reaching your full potential. She has offered many live video training sessions and created free 3 Day Business Coaching Sessions. Through this, I got to see how valuable her services are and since then have been referring her left and right.
Each business is different, but for my fitness instructor, here are some marketing tips I suggest. You may also use this in your own business if you feel it applies to you and your schedule.
Business Growth Advice
- Analyze WHO your target audience is. Example: If you are a fitness trainer for new moms, join mom groups.
- Create either a PDF RATE SHEET or Website/Landing Page that holds information about you and what you are offering. There are many free programs and sites for this!
- Create a Facebook group where you can offer insights and engage with customers and potential customers alike.
- Do Lives on Instagram and Facebook for the customers and potential customers with more insights.
- Join other Facebook Groups to spread the word about you and your services. Make sure to join groups that have your target audience.
- Offer Free Consultations or Exchange Services for a testimonial or for a service your customer offers (example: fitness classes in exchange for marketing materials).
Customer service doesn’t mean after a client purchases from you or when the client is upset. Customer service starts way before you have a client. That is the real art of customer service.
If any of these resonate with you and you would like to chat about your target audience, how to market your business, or how to create marketing materials, don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact me via email or Instagram!