As long as you are willing to look, there are business lessons to be learned from many places. A local gym club has unfortunately provided numerous examples of how to alienate members.
So here are some of their mistakes that we can learn from:
- send out quarterly invoices at seemingly random times and vary the means of delivery (snail mail or via staff to members)
- never answer the phone and wait for at least 3 messages before returning any calls
- ask for a deposit for the following year then question why members pay that much less in the first invoice of the year – either admit it is an extra fee or understand that a deposit is deducted from the main invoice
- don’t answer emails
- if you do answer emails (and it’s taken over two years for this to happen in our case) do not put your name at the end of the email, just use a signature with the club name and address
- give out dates of major events (like the end of year performance) via wall posters 2 weeks beforehand – notices, emails and advance notice are overrated, surely?
- claim to leave multiple messages, but not speak to member when at the club each week, as justification for not communicating important information. If nothing else, maybe it was worth checking if the correct phone number was being used (as no messages were ever received by us)
I have heard people praise the location and facilities but only ever criticise the organisation itself. It is a pity to see people travel further than necessary because they want a basic level of customer service.
Of course, that is the key lesson from all the mistakes above – provide customer service and make things easier for customers.
How much poor or mediocre service will you put up with? Are there situations where it bothers you more than others?