Great service is the lifeline of any Martial Arts school. You can market using the best promotions and deals in town to acquire new members, but unless those members keep coming back, your business will not be successful. The most successful Martial Arts schools are great at keeping members coming back month-after-month and year-after-year.
Providing great member service is all about bringing members back and about sending them away happy – happy enough to spread the word to other people that will in turn become long-term members.
People leave a Martial Arts school for four main reasons:
- They move, which is beyond our control.
- Because they were bored and/or lost interest, which we can sort-of control but they need to be motivated too.
- Because of a negative experience, which we can control.
- Because they feel like they weren’t valued customers, which is something that we can absolutely control.
To limit the amount of people that leave your school, focus on reasons two, three, and four.
If you focus on fixing and limiting a negative experience, then your member base will increase. At the same time, if you focus on making every member feel important then your member base will increase even more. Most importantly, if you provide such a great service that keeps your members motivated, excited, and active then your member base will reflect your efforts.
If you truly want to increase your member base, all you have to do is ensure that your business habitually adheres to the following Ten Commandments:
- Commandment #1: Greet everyone within 60 seconds.
Make it a habit of greeting everyone the minute they step into your studio. Try to open the door for as many members as possible. It really makes them feel important. If you can’t make it to the door, be sure to greet them as quickly as you can.
- Commandment #2: If a customer makes a special request, do everything you can to say yes.
In no way do you need to break the rules for everyone, but at the same time you must be ready and willing to meet special requests if at all possible. Book a private testing for a student with a good excuse. Waive a fee if the parent really needs it. Advance a student into an older program if he/she can demonstrate the necessary skills. You don’t have to stick to all of your policies just to prove a point. You can make exceptions to avoid unnecessary negative experiences.
- Commandment #3: Getting your name out there isn’t just about attracting new members.
Your members love seeing videos and pics of your school on social media. It builds a stronger connection and helps keep your brand sharp. If you don’t have a Facebook business page, Facebook member group, Instagram account, Twitter account, Pinterest page, or Snap Chat, then get one set up TODAY!
- Commandment #4: Make every customer feel important and appreciated.
Answer your phone, return messages, and answer emails promptly. If you make a habit of ignoring phone calls and not returning messages, be it voice mail or email, then you are leaving the impression that they are not important. Don’t make the mistake of blowing off messages because “you’ll see them in class tonight.” This is a big mistake in great member service. The simple act of returning messages promptly will leave a HUGE impression with your members.
- Commandment #5: Be helpful – even if there is nothing in it for you.
You should like doing favors for your members. If a student needs a little extra help, book a complimentary booster class to help them. If a parent wants you to pass out some flyers for their business, then do it. If someone asks you to come in to do a speech even though it is far from your school, be delighted to do so. The simple act of helping others when there is no financial gain is a great way to show your members that they are important and valued as a member.
- Commandment #6: Network with your members.
Be all about networking! If a member tells you that he or she is in the market for a new house, refer them to another member from the school that is in real estate. If a member is having an anniversary soon, refer them to your favorite restaurant. The idea is to create a big network of professionals that can help each other. I love hosting family days such as school picnics so I can get to know all of my members and learn what they do for a living.
- Commandment #7: Identify and anticipate your member’s needs.
Your members are going to have needs and problems that they want you to solve. Most members’ needs are emotional rather than logical. Avoid acting irritated when a member asks you a question. Anticipate that your members will have questions and requests, and handle them in the most positive manner possible.
- Commandment #8: Stay pro-active.
A few years back we were retaining teens in our Elite SKILLZ class, while at the same time noticing a bunch of younger students graduating into that same class. To stay pro-active, we added a specialty anomaly/ teen program called SKILLZ Signature to the schedule. All of our teens love the program! Staying pro-active with your business will accommodate a lot of members that would’ve potentially left otherwise. So look for potential problems in your business, be it with growth, retention, or low statistics and find solutions before the problem become a disaster.
- Commandment #9: Make sure you communicate effectively.
One of the biggest causes for members to become irritated or angry is due to a lack in communication. To avoid this type of situation, make sure that you have a good system for communicating with your members. For example, we have a collection of new student orientation videos to help explain details about our school, which are important. We also have a solid line of communication for everything in our school that includes weekly email reminders; newsletter hand outs; end of class announcements; sign-up sheets for special events; Facebook group postings; important event bulletins on our dry erase boards; and more! All of our members know where to look to be updated. If they don’t, we take the time to show them.
- Commandment #10: Give more than expected.
We love the look on our member’s faces when we go above and beyond what they expect. Everything from member appreciation month, to mothers, fathers, grandparents, and Veterans appreciation weeks. It shows them that we don’t limit our service to what they pay for. This, in return, shows them that we value their membership.
Great member service should be your number one priority, regardless of what position you are in, be it a brand new team member to the owner. Make sure that every encounter with your members is a positive and/or productive one. You can establish great value for your business by habitually following the ideas in this report. When people are strapped for cash, they will cut the line to anything that does not have value. Your goal should be to provide great member service that makes people feel better emotionally and socially, while at the same time provides value way beyond what they pay.