I’ve said it in meetings, at conferences and in webinars that the member experience and member service is one of those parts of your business that you just can’t afford to get wrong. The recent pandemic has seen many businesses relocate staff from brick and mortar to work from home environments. Often without sufficient training or the technology to support such interactions. I have changed my business banking and telecoms supplier during this time simply because my existing providers were not able to meet my self-service needs. Yes I do want to be able to do some things using self service tools, particularly if they are routine behaviours.
With so many more interactions and transactions taking place online, members are really getting an insight into those businesses that have evolved and those that are still lagging behind.
Think about how uncomfortable you feel when you hear someone speak negatively about their experience with your business and how often is it because their experience of your member service was just not good enough.
It is your member experience and your member service for which you will ultimately be judged, not how good your treadmills are or how many sets of dumbbells you have. This is why you need to take your time and choose wisely which member service tools are right for you.
You only have to do a simple Google search for CX experience providers to become aware of just how much online software exists to assist your member service and member experience delivery, that it’s overwhelming. Just look at all of those identified by insightplatforms.com (see below) and then try to sift through all of a specific sub-genre of support tools (i.e. Chatbots) let alone the entire ensemble of tools you need to make a full bodied infrastructure and a tech stack that works on all levels.
While I am not going to make specific recommendations (today) what I am going to do, is ask you to consider three areas of your business where tech and self-service can help you.
#1 – Live and in Person chat.
Yes this may include the development of a call centre and not just relying on a phone on the front desk. When you choose to develop a call centre you need to consider the following. You will need a chat framework for two different reasons. The first is to communicate internally between support staff and managers, as well as support staff communicating across departments.
This makes the call experience much easier when the member needn’t be put on hold while a member of staff gathers the appropriate information.
During the first lockdown I worked with an operator and we identified certain types of call that had to go through to finance to be dealt with. Adding an options menu to the telephone system that directed members to different departments meant that front of house teams could focus on the members in front of them and less time answering calls they would have to transfer anyway.
You will also need a chat system for members to text-communicate with staff. This is becoming very popular, and it removes some of the nuisance associated with the call centre, while still retaining that live person-to-person interaction that has preserved as a solution for such a long time.
Different solutions tackle this using different approaches, but you should be looking for something with a private messaging system, queue placement management and time waiting indicators, message logging and time stamps to ensure that messages and conversations don’t get mixed up, this creates a really strong chat system. All modern systems can use SMS or an instant messenger, because these are the methods members use to speak to friends and make conversations with you seem familiar.
#2 – Help Desk.
Now, if you’re smart, you’re going to go Omni or multi-channel if you possibly can. However these types of systems can be beasts. Along with being scalable and fully customisable, your help desk software must have integration with social support methodologies via Facebook and others. These are formats members are familiar with and make the whole experience less stressful.
In one of our surveys of members we found that members really valued the front of house team when they had a problem, and that the staff were able to resolve that problem in a single interaction. So where possible take away the routine tasks that members can do for themselves, like booking a class, a tennis court, a personal training session or gaining access to the club or exiting the car park.
#3 – Self-service opportunities.
Provide self-service opportunities because who doesn’t love self-service? Nobody, that’s who!
If you’re going multi-channel with your support, go all the way and relegate the simpler push button inquiries and resolutions to the member with no need for staff intervention.
When you create content for your self-service tutorials keep the information short and to the point. Don’t try and add in a sneaky Personal Training package upsell. Take away the need to think, keep it push button simple. This can be done with no risk of the member pushing the wrong button or getting confused and breaking something.
These are the best member service tools to help build a multi-faceted, effective member service and support infrastructure that will take your health club business far.
For more than 20 years we have been helping health club businesses, recreational centres, studios and independent operators navigate their way through to improved customer /member retention. If you would like us to review your business with one of our Retention Audits, email me at [email protected] and we can set up a call to discus your options.