Podcast: Episode 4, Is Traditional Client Service Dead In An Online World?

Has the Internet and Social Media rendered traditional client service or customer service dead?

I’m talking about—a client walks into your business, you sell them something, they pay, and then you keep in touch to earn the next sale.

In today’s Social world, things are different.  Clients have access to all kinds of information about your business including how you talk to clients through your Facebook and Instagram accounts.  In fact, prospective clients have probably already formed expectations about how they’ll be treated before they even step foot into your business.  Or don’t even give you a second look after they do their research!

But while technology has changed the way we approach client service, there are some things that apps and the Internet can’t replace—things like greeting clients by name, smiling, and writing thank you notes.  These traditional, (eek, old fashioned!) practices can go a long way in distinguishing your client experience from your competitors’.

Join the conversation about how to excel at client service in our fast-paced inter-connected business world and listen to the latest She’s On Her Toes podcast here.

To help you create the best client service and client experience in your own business, I’ve   compiled a list of my favorite business books on the subject …

The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue ($16.83): If you own a fitness studio, or any membership-based business, buy this book … now!  If you don’t current offer membership options at your business, buy this book … now!  Creating “members” rather than clients is important when thinking about the “customer for life” concept.  My copy of this book is marked up, dog-eared, and well-read.  I keep going back to it all the time when building my business.

Never Lose A Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days ($20.80): One of the questions this book poses is “How big would your company be if you still did business with every customer you ever worked with in the past?”  Holy sh$t.  Um yeah.  Customer retention is the single most important thing your business needs to focus on, yet we often spend the majority of our time and money on client acquisition instead.  Author, Joey Coleman discusses how you have 100 days to keep a customer for life and the 8 phases of this timeline.  The book walks you through all 8 phases and shows you how to implement them in your own business.  Pure gold.

She's On Her Toes Never Lose A Customer

Think and Grow Rich for Women ($14.66):  I really enjoyed hearing Sharon Lechter speak and her book was just as insightful.  When Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937, he included 13 Steps to Success—but at that time all the major business minds and heads of companies were men.  Sharon goes through each of the 13 Steps and applies them to the lives of modern women.  Sharon’s message is that as women in business, we either sell or we serve.  As in taking the time to understand our clients and serve them to the best that we can using the best means that we can help them out.  I love her concept of living “one big life” instead of trying to find the elusive “work-life balance” that never quite seems attainable.  A must-read!

I’ve used teachings from all three of these books and incorporated them into the client service and client experience at my studios.  I’d love to hear if they bring you value as well.  Email at [email protected] or comment below to share.

Listen to the She’s On Her Toes Podcast on iTunes and Apple Podcasts here.

How to Make Your Business Matter

It’s time to get real—if something is important to you, you’ll make time for it.  If it’s not important to you, you won’t.  Simple.

Being in the fitness industry, I hear a lot of excuses.  So many that I’m kind of numb to hearing them.  I’ve heard them all.  Occasionally someone invents one that is so outrageous that I have to applaud them for it—true or not, still an excuse.  If you really wanted to do it, there wouldn’t be an excuse.

I bring this up because last week I didn’t post because I just wasn’t into writing.  It wasn’t important enough to make time to do it.  I hate that it happened and I’m sorry, but I had a chance to recharge and work with my Team more this week, so now I actually have some great things to write about.  Good times!

Ok, so a few weeks ago I had a chance to attend an incredible presentation about business given by Paul Dunn, Chairman of B1G1, a non-profit organization with a mission to create a world that’s full of giving.  B1G1 helps small and medium-sized businesses achieve a more social impact by embedding giving activities into their everyday business operations.

The main takeaway from Paul’s speech was that the true challenge of business in today’s world of the Internet, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and countless other social media outlets is to matter.  As a business, you must choose to matter to your clients and move from being dispensable to being indispensable.

Paul told us that in 1 second, there are 7,519 Tweets typed, 2,472 Snaps sent, 58,875 Google searches made, 68,234 YouTube videos watched, and 2,566,295 emails sent.  Incredible!  But, as a business, how are you supposed to compete with that?!  How can you stay relevant or important to your clients with all those other activities?  Or ahem, distractions?  How do you make your business matter in the midst of all these other things happening each second?!

According to Paul, the answer is to get smaller.  What?  Smaller?  How is getting smaller going to make your business matter more?  It’s all about getting bigger and growing.  Having more, means your business is getting more successful.

Paul would argue that instead of marketing to the masses, you need to drill down and be irresistible to a specific group of people.  In order to get smaller and matter to your clients, you also have to figure out the “why” of your business.  Why is your business opening its doors every day?  Why do you do what you do?

This weekend, I had the chance to get together with several members of my team to talk about a lot of these things.  The purpose of our meeting was to figure out how Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons can matter more to our clients and specifically, how we can update our membership perks to add more value to our clients and increase the quality of their experience with us.

This is why I love being a business owner.  This type of meeting and interaction with my Team is what gets me going.  Solving problems like how to be better at what we do and getting my Team’s thoughts on how to solve these problems—there’s nothing better than that in the business world.  We spent 2 hours collaborating and came up with some great ideas!

In addition to attending Paul’s speech, I’ve also read 2 great books that I think you should check out:

The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue, Robbie Kellman Baxter

Smart Retail: Practical Winning Ideas and Strategies from the Most Successful Retailers in the World, 4th Edition, Richard Hammond

To start our meeting, we first took some time to create a list of the qualities and likes of our typical Pure Barre Platinum client.  Pure Barre Platinum is our 12-month contract that offers the best pricing and most membership benefits.  Approximately half of our active clients take class as Platinum members.  It had been at least a year since we last updated our Platinum benefits, so it was definitely a priority to see what else we can do for our most loyal and engaged clients.

I’m glad that my Team was excited about talking through who our typical Platinum client is, because they came up with some great ideas, that I had not thought of.  Of course, our typical client lives within proximity to the studios and is health conscious with disposable income to spend on exercise and fitness.  But my Team also identified that they want to be ahead of trends, they are also goal-oriented and in some cases extremely competitive.  Once we had a good list of the things are clients represent and value, we could take a better look at how to add more value to our Platinum membership.

We realized that we could do a better job engaging our clients and incorporating nutrition and healthy eating into our offerings at Pure Barre.  Specifically, we discussed doing the following:

  • Allowing clients to bring unlimited free friends to the studio to take class. Right now, we just allow 1 free friend each month, although if someone wants to bring more, we are always accommodating.  This is something we’ll definitely adopt.
  • Working on partnerships or events around healthy food.
  • Creating a private Facebook group for Platinum clients that would give them access to all the things that are important to us as teachers, healthy eating, staying on trend, enjoying time with friends or getting support from the group.
  • Alerting Platinum clients when new retail comes in before it arrives.
  • Inviting clients to take over our Instagram accounts for a day and show us what they are up to.
  • Create videos to help clients stay on trend. We were especially excited about creating one called “How to take your best barre selfie.”  Who wouldn’t want to learn that?! Haha!
  • Offering birthday discounts so clients can treat themselves on retail when they are celebrating themselves.
  • More marketing of our Bride-to-Be and Baby-Bounce-Back packages on Facebook to bring in new clients.
  • Creating better or more-easy-to-understand marketing documents to sell Pure Barre class packages.

Ok, so some of these ideas don’t necessarily just offer value to our Platinum memberships, but that’s kind of the beauty of getting the Team together, you start to have great ideas about other parts of the business or you realize that doing something else that’s pretty simple would improve the business.  Since a lot of my clients might be reading this, I’m not sure if or when we’ll adopt any or all of these ideas.  If you feel strongly about one or all of them, please let me know so we have that input!

By completing this exercise, we also stumbled upon our “why.”  Sure, we offer Pure Barre classes and provide a killer workout, but that doesn’t really encompass why we do what we do.  Our “why” is this:

“We challenge people so they can learn their true strength.  Being strong is about being fit and eating well.  When you prioritize being fit and eating well, you live well and your possibilities are limitless.  Taking care of your mind and body allows you to take care of everything that is important to you.  We make that happen for you.”

 Pretty powerful.  Figuring out our “why” makes taking care of our clients easier because we know how to get smaller and matter.  We can now become irresistible to a specific group of people and that is how we’ll continue to be successful by increasing our clients on our Pure Barre Platinum membership.

Next week, I want to tell you about another presentation I got a chance to listen to given by the Founder of ActionCOACH, Brad Sugars.  It was a big pump-up presentation with jumping and shouting.  One of the chants was “I am a money magnet” and we all had to stand up and shout it.  But, what can you do with the money to matter?  I’ll delve into that in my next post.

Until then, stay on your toes!