Resolving your players’ issues
Most likely, you’ve used down time due to the coronavirus pandemic to do some renovations to your facility, and you may have designed new procedures to make your facility safe. But, as more states continue to reopen, you also must put together a plan to welcome your players back to the club. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
When your doors open, be sure to greet everyone with enthusiasm. Place a “Welcome Back, We Missed You” sign in the parking lot and, just to add a little “WOW” factor, give them a free can of balls for their first game. Though most will be thrilled to be back, be sure to prepare yourself (and your team) for those members who are still feeling the effects of the crisis. Some may have lost their jobs or a loved one. Many may be facing financial problems or even dealing with a bout of PTSD.
For those who are struggling, their fuse may be short. Little things might set them off, and you and your team may be the closest targets. When you see an irate player charging your way, keep the following in mind:
- Stay calm. Take a deep breath, prepare for the onslaught and remind yourself to keep your cool.
- Let them get it out. The front desk or club lobby is not an appropriate place to have this discussion, so move to a private area and let them vent. As they’re speaking, show them you’re paying attention and are interested in what they have to say. Look them in the eye, nod your head and occasionally say things like, “Yes” or “OK” or “I see.” Above all, do not interrupt.
- Acknowledge their complaint. Whether you agree or disagree with their issue, you must acknowledge it as an issue. Don’t disagree, and above all, don’t argue. It’s a battle you can’t win. The customer may not always be right—but that doesn’t matter. You may be able to prove them wrong, but that will only make them angrier, at which point they’ll take their business elsewhere.
- Apologize. Something has made them unhappy and, for that, you must apologize. “I’m so sorry this happened. Let’s see what we can do.”
- Fix it. You’ve listened and consoled. That’s great, but now what are you going to do about it? Your customer wants a solution, and they want it quickly. Involve them in solving the problem, and as you work toward a solution, use phrases like: “I understand why you …” or “I think we should …” or “Would it work for you if …?” Avoid words and phrases like: “Can’t,” “But,” “You should have …” “The only thing we can do is …”
Go the extra mile
Keep in mind that your job is not done once you’ve solved the problem. Exceptional clubs take their customer service to the next level as a way to apologize for the hassle. It could be a gift certificate to the pro shop, a complimentary lesson or a V.I.P. pass for court time. Little things such as this tell your members you care about them—and that will keep them coming back.
Finally, don’t hold a grudge. Though the situation may have been uncomfortable, it’s over and you still want your member to feel comfortable coming to the club. The next time you see them, greet them with a smile and act as if nothing happened.
Greg Moran is the Owner/Director of Tennis at Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, Conn.
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