Customer service, Part 2 the onboarding process
Having a really clear pre onboarding process for someone who's not yet your ongoing paying member is crucial for your conversion. If it's longer than four hours when a lead has contacted you and you're getting back to them, you're already diminishing the chance of them positively interacting with you, this is typical.
Think about when you follow up and the call to action that you will have from the phone call or getting in contact with the lead. So what happens next? Do you have a conversation? Do you get the person in for a chat? Do you do a trial? Those types of things but think about it really carefully. At what point the sale is happening. The sale is happening all the way through. But when do you close the deal? Is it right as someone is exiting the class with the other 20 people that are in your class and like they don't want to be left behind while all of these other people are leaving? Maybe your class ran four minutes late and they actually really have somewhere to be and you're about to say “ Okay, it's gonna be $100 a week.”, like this is not the time to be telling someone let's sign up for the session. So thinking about when you can find a quiet time when the person's potentially excited but they're not stressed and getting them to consider strongly whether they want to join up to your fitness facility. The only way that you're going to know whether they're strongly going to join up, besides luck alone, is if you've really paid attention to them and made them feel seen and that's to do with your participants, welcoming them on the way in how you've welcomed them, how you followed up with them, and also how you've understood, interpreted and relayed back to them how and what your facility is will actually help them get to their goals.
So we're talking about the benefits, not the features they want to know tangibly. What does that mean? They get three sessions a week, that's the terms and conditions of the membership. That's a feature not a benefit. They want to know that three times a week is going to get them to their goal weight for the wedding. So just really thinking about the sales process, how the sales happen, and also how you can follow up in a way where you're not honestly shooting yourself in the foot because if I had $5 every time somebody tried to sell me after I'd done a class the class would run late. I'm trying to make it to something else that's happened, like happening right after the session. And then they're trying to tell me the membership options as I'm like trying to get out the door as fast as possible because I didn't anticipate spending a further 10 To 15 to 20 minutes there. I literally would be a millionaire by now. So it happens more often than you think and it should not be an afterthought. Sure, you'll get wider team members from each of your bulk of leads that you get but honestly, the way to increase your revenue is not by getting more leads. It's by converting more of the leads that you're actually getting. So it's a conversion rate problem if you're still getting leads, but you're not really increasing your revenue. You're sort of breaking even for the number of people that are dropping off. You're only really replacing them.
Another thing that we may consider when in the class and programming for someone that's brand new, is to ask them their level of experience with whatever exercise move or whatever it is that you're doing. Most people will say they're pretty confident in whatever it is, but if they don't know the weight they're using then, that's where you can really take the lead. But if you have a client that comes in and they're able to tell you exactly what weight that they're using, then potentially you might want to listen to them otherwise you're having a silent goodbye from that person.
You go, I go Type of Programming
It’s a type of programming that if you have anybody that is less than six months member of your facility, and you're asking people to partner up, you typically create a very awkward experience for them. So yes, you can be allocating people to partners and that sort of thing. But you have to know really robustly the level of experience and the strength and fitness of the person that you're pairing some people up with. Yes, we don't always get it right. But having the knowledge to be able to jump in and change partners for instance, when things aren't going well. That's a really positive way to show that you're responding to what you see in front of you. So no one expects you to just know right away. In fact, they probably even might think that it's luck if you're able to get it right the first time all the time. But it's when you've paired two people up and you're watching one person that is supposed to do an overhead press. The other person has to wait until the overhead press is finished. But the first person can't even lift the bar above their head. Well, the coach needs to jump in and modify it for that first person. But on top of that, for that second person, have something that will make them get a good workout despite that there have been mismatched fitness wise, if that's the goal of what you're doing. Potentially, it may just be me that has experienced this because it's very hard to judge whether I'll be strong in sessions or not, or whether I'll be fit in terms of cardiovascular fitness. But there is nothing more demoralizing than being put with someone who they are at an earlier level in their fitness journey. They will struggle to complete one set of whatever the exercise is in the set amount of time that both partners are supposed to go like two or three times. On top of that, there are some workarounds. I mean, you could actually have some fallback measures if there is an incorrectly mismatched couple. So that could be saying that this should take you roughly 30 seconds and if it's taking any more than the other partners should start that sort of thing. But this is just to create that experience a little bit better for the participants that are there.
Another great option is in partnering up or finding your way into groups and finding really unique ways to put people into groups. Maybe you put them into groups. Reasons mainly, although it's nice to have people that are friends with each other in the same team together because they get to hang out. The thing is you actually end up where you will have those people that don't really know anybody or are more introverted, will be sitting feeling the most uncomfortable and outcast in your group. And remember, you've probably 5050 in your class of introvert versus extrovert. So you've got about 50% of people in your room that are feeling super uncomfortable by the way you've selected the session. And you know what happens when people feel uncomfortable doing exercise because it's challenging, but then also uncomfortable by the team picking which is reminiscent of being in school where you're picked last for a team. It's super demoralizing, and they're not going to want to go. One of the best ways I got Welcome to Jim I have to say was a cycle studio. It was in Australia, North America. The people behind the desk, each of them had their own iPad, but they came from behind the desk to great myself and my friend that entered the reception area because they could see that I wasn't from the area and then therefore because I was brand new and I looked brand new, and as did my friend then that person became kind of like our tour guide. So they told us exactly what we needed to write down on the tablet that they handed us. Then they also hooked us up about the experience. They were like, “Oh, you haven't tried this before you like Have you done something similar? This is going to feel amazing.”. And then they just kept quiet for a little bit and just looked at us. In fact, our welcome actually happened before we reached the studio. We got an email that told us exactly what we needed to bring and to know prior to coming, because I guess most people chickened out about maybe an hour before or like the day before, even though they took the class and they don't mind the fact that they're going to lose their credit or whatever. But that's when nerves start kicking in especially when it looks like it's a really cool hyped up experience.
So having an email that said, most people are nervous when they first come so that is already addressed how we were feeling: we felt seen. It was saying you don't need to bring a towel because we will provide a towel. We will provide shoes for you. This is where I was thinking oh my goodness, like do I need to have special cycling shoes. I only thought about it about the night before the class and this email just absolutely solved all of my fears. Because the last thing I wanted to do was show up and be turned away or be confronted with buying some sort of new pair of fancy sneakers that I didn't need to have long term because I was only trying out a class. The class was described in the email as well. Then from there when we were being shown around by a little tour guide, we were given access to where we should put our stuff that was quite important, as well as where the toilets were, and the towels and where our footwear was as well. Then when we did enter the classroom because there is a bit of technical setup, which will be good for any sort of class that requires you to know what you're getting out. There was someone dedicated to setting up our bike for us and telling us about the setup. So this would definitely have crossover to even you know, like a CrossFit class or that sort of thing, where I've certainly been long and people like grab a bar and you're kind of like you're looking around and you're like oh there's the bars if they're just following everybody. But then you can't find the clips anywhere and you're just kind of walking around the room and try not to be hit by other people that are playing with the bars and letting someone know where all of the items are or helping them to set up on their first time and being like this is where the clips are. This is where the weights are. These weights are in pounds, you know that they're sort of thing. Those are things that can help someone feel more welcome and really put their nerves at ease. Because if they just had to wing it the first time, they'll be unlikely to remember the stuff that they had to work out the first time the second time and you might not even see them the second time to be honest.
Then after the class experience, either a dedicated member of staff or the person who coached the class should be around to help that person pack up or maybe to help them decompress or point them in the right direction of the changing rooms. Or let them know what extra stretch they might want to do or how this relates into their day to day life. Like are they going to be a bit sore the next day, then this is all stuff that can be sent in a follow up email sequence* such as Oh, are you a little bit sore today? It's completely to be expected. This is how to make yourself feel better. Don't forget to come in again, send them a link as well. So all of these are things that can help people feel more welcome because you don't get another chance at a first impression. If this was done well, it wouldn't be so poignant in my mind. And I visit a lot of fitness facilities, doing mystery shops, helping them with their coaching staff, or just for my own fun and participation. And these are literally common sense, but common sense doesn't make it common knowledge and it doesn't mean that people commonly do it.
So I hope by sharing all of this information that you can really maximize the number of conversions that you get from leads from people reaching out because I want people to fall in love with fitness and I want them to be able to fall in love with your fitness facility and they're not going to be able to do that if they feel alienated from day one. As always, you can reach out to the team if you need any help with anything in your gym, boutique studio or in your personal training business. We are more than happy to help you and we're more than happy to point you in the right direction.