About 5 months ago, I moved to New York so I could move in with my now wife.
Since I’ve been here, one of the biggest challenges I’ve had has been finding barbers I’m happy to return to.
Thankfully, I’ve recently found a place that I’m happy giving my hard-earned cash to (considering the cost of a haircut in New York is roughly the same three in Scotland).
How Can You Separate Yourself as a Business With Lots of Competition?
The thing that has separated this barbers to the 5 others I’ve tried has not been the quality of the haircut as they’ve all cut my hair in ways that I’m cool with. The thing that will make this the barber I return to monthly is their focus on customer experience.
They have excellent customer service. The minute you walk you’re greeted by a man whose job it is to greet you and offer you a drink. You can choose between coffee, beer or a can of monster or diet coke. You’re then seen on time, meaning it’s easy to plan what you’ll do after. You’re asked what it is you would like to have done and numerous times during the cut you’re asked if you’re cool with what they are doing to your hair. To finish off you’re given a weird face massage thing which I initially thought was super weird but now kinda enjoy as I know what’s coming. The part that always catches me is the contact a few days after – “how’s the haircut Mr Aitken? Would you like to book your next one in for 4 weeks time?”
And just like that, they’ve got a customer who will likely pay them thousands of dollars over the next couple of years.
Maybe you’re thinking this is way too much for a barbers and I’m sure you wouldn’t be alone, but personally, I want something a bit more than just a short back and sides for a fiver (£5). The average haircut in NYC that I’ve found is around $50. If I’m going to spend that much I want something solid that delivers more than just a cut, and this place does just that.
What Does This Have to do With Personal Training?
Personal Training is in the service industry. This means you have to put time into thinking about how you can deliver a top-quality customer experience.
One of the many things you can use to separate yourself as a PT is working on creating an exceptional customer experience, just like this barbershop does.
I may only go once per month but over the course of 2 years, I’ll be worth what will nearly be $1500 to them. Just for one haircut per month. And I’ve already told a few people about them and now I’m writing a blog about my experience.
Your clients are no different.
People always appreciate fantastic customer service. They pay more money for it and they openly talk about it when they experience it.
Here Are 4 Ways You Can up Your Client Experience:
1. Create a Smooth Onboarding Experience
Onboarding is the system you use to settle your client into your business once someone goes from being a lead (someone who shows interest in you) to a paying client.
Most trainers onboarding systems may look something like:
- A new client signs up
- First training session
- Second training session
- And so on
If we take our onboarding system at LTB, it looks like:
- New member signs up online to our 14 day free trial
- Within what is typically 1-6 hours they’ll be sent a personalised email from our Head of Operations giving them 4-5 steps to get started
- They get added and welcomed into our Facebook member group
- They get automatically added to our autoresponder, which goes over how to best use LTB, suggested resources, how to contact us to ask any questions and some general tips on being a personal trainer
- Within 7 days they’ll be sent a welcome card
- Within 10 days they’ll receive a welcome phone call
- They’ll receive weekly emails updating them on all things LTB related
We’ve tried our best to think about how someone is going to be feeling when they sign up to LTB. We’ve added in some extras like the thank you card to show appreciation and a welcome call to give them some actual contact with a staff member at LTB and all of this is for a service costing less than £40 a month.
How could you improve your client onboarding system?
- Start by listing out what you currently do vs what it would like in a perfect world if money and time were unlimited
- Ask your current client base what would have helped them during their first 30 days
- Add in the low hanging fruit – things like a personalized welcome into your facebook group, a text after their first few sessions to see how they are doing or a welcome card sent through the post after their first payment
- Every couple of months revisit your system and see if there is anything you could add-in. Remember it’s not just about shiny presents it’s about how the experience feels.
Interested in learning more about onboarding? Check out lesson 4 of the business practicalities course.
Shout out to Pete Dupuis for this fantastic quote.
I’ll likely be preaching to the choir a bit here, but it shouldn’t go unsaid about how important it is to ensure you’re putting across a professional service.
Make sure you’re on time (5-10 minutes early for your sessions – nobody likes to see a PT running in late and flustered), prepared for the session ahead, dressed appropriately, fully focused on the client during the session and taking the time to respond to your clients/ enquiries on a timely basis.
3. Recognise Client Milestones and Achievements
If your client hits a milestone like one year with you or 100 sessions or they just completed their first-ever 5K or they hit their first major weight loss goal – celebrate it!
Send them a card, a gift voucher (two birds with one stone – local networking opportunity) or a nicely designed certificate.
Make sure you get a picture if it’s one of the latter things as it’s the perfect opportunity to underline what your business is all about.
Also, just be mindful that if you do this once, it will become an expectation within your client group and you’ll have to be on-point with doing it in future.
4. Utilise Client Reviews
Every 4,6,10,12 weeks – however long you feel is necessary, sit down with your clients and have a conversation about how they’re getting on.
These conversations happen during your PT sessions, but they are unstructured. And usually, you’re both just itching to get into the training.
Make it formal and have a structure that ensures you’re covering the important things.
90% of the time these will lead to nothing, but 10% of the time you’ll be given some absolute gems of information that help you help your clients move past their barriers.
Questions to consider asking:
- How are things going with X goal?
- Is that goal still the goal?
- What have been some of your biggest challenges over the last X amount of time? How can I help you solve these?
- What are you enjoying about our training currently?
- What are you not enjoying about our training currently?
- Is there anything coming up that we need to plan for?
For some clients, it’ll last 60 seconds and for others, it’ll last most of a personal training session.
Interested in learning more about client reviews? Check out lesson 7 of the personal training business practicalities course.
Upping your client experience even in the simplest of ways could help you retain your clients for longer and encourage them to talk about you to more people. It’s also one of those things that people pay more attention to nowadays because they have so many options. Try taking one of these suggestions and adding it into the way you create your client experience.
Learn More About LTB
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