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5 Customer Service Essentials for Keeping Clients Happy

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Happy Pilates Clients

By Lara Dalch

When I made the transition from corporate media executive to health/fitness professional, one of the first things I had to adjust to was the more relaxed work environment. This is a great thing on many levels: It creates a welcoming and healing space for clients to escape their busy lives. It fosters community and friendships. It encourages focus on self-care, something many clients aren’t able to do outside of the studio. And, for those of us who work in the industry, it allows for a more relaxed and comfortable dress code!

The downside to this more relaxed approach is a tendency – for some – to skimp on customer service, forgetting that even regular clients have a choice about where to go regardless of how long they’ve been with you. In many markets (like New York City) – where Pilates studios and instructors are a dime a dozen – treating clients like the valued business partners they are will put you ahead of the curve with your competition.

Here are some things I try to do without fail in dealing with clients, whether they come to me for Pilates, health counseling, or marketing:  

1. Focus on building relationships, not on increasing revenue.
See clients as people first, clients second. Know the names of their kids, pets, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend. Make note of birthdays, important dates and major life events in the client’s file or on their address book card on your computer. If you put your energy into building relationships, the revenue will come.

2. Make it as easy as possible for clients to do business with you.
Give them multiple ways to reach you – phone, e-mail, website, Twitter, IM, Facebook, etc. Automate your scheduling system, but always give clients the option of dealing with a person instead of a computer if they prefer.

3. View client concerns as opportunities to improve your business rather than as negative feedback.
This mindset will allow you to address issues in a way that makes the client feel heard, even if they don’t get exactly what they want in the end. And listening to your clients – the people who you’re in business to serve – is really the best and only way to move your business forward.

4. Check your manners.
I know this sounds a little insulting, but we all could use a reminder about how far “please” and “thank you” go in a time when many people can’t be bothered with the niceties of civilized society. If you’re more pleasant to deal with than your competitor down the street, you win. 

5. Appreciate your clients.
In addition to the day-to-day “thank yous,” find ways to make your clients feel appreciated at least a few times a year. Give them a free session for their birthday. Reward their loyalty – and hard work in the studio! – with a small gift once a year.

How else do you keep clients coming back for more?

Lara Dalch, Pilates InstructorABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lara Dalch is a Certified Pilates Instructor, health counselor and marketing consultant in New York City. Through her health counseling and fitness practice, Dalch Wellness, she teaches busy professionals how to balance their health, fitness and lifestyle goals with hectic lives. Lara is also owner of Dalch Marketing, where she taps into her 15 years of corporate marketing experience to coach businesses – large and small – on the use of marketing strategies for growth. To learn more about Lara, go to her blog at laradalch.com.

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Posted on Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at 02:13PM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , , | Comments1 Comment | References3 References

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Reader Comments (1)

Lara, some great suggestions, I find the personal touch and relationship building is the most important aspect of my business. We are not looking for high volume, just high quality. Because of this we get many new clients by referral. The volume will come if you have everything else right!

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLas Vegas Pilates

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