How NOT to promote your business

May 07
[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”] Yesterday I had the perfect customer service experience for a blog.

It was perfect because it was so rubbish.

I want to share my experience with you because you need to know that businesses, today, are struggling with things like promotion and customer service and I don’t want yours to be one of them.

It was early afternoon and I had just finished a meeting at a hotel and leisure club I visit very regularly for business. You need to know some things about my relationship with this business and why I was ready to buy.

KNOW:    I visit at least fortnightly.

LIKE:       I am on first name terms with the bar staff even though I don’t drink alcohol.

TRUST:   My mum uses their gym facilities and loves it.

BUY:         I am currently looking for a gym membership that will suit my lifestyle.

So I approached the hotel main reception and asked, “Can I have some information about your gym membership options please?”

I was asked to go through and ask at the leisure reception.

Repeated said question to the chap behind the leisure reception and was handed a leaflet.

I asked if they had any Personal Trainers working from the gym, I’ve worked with a lot of personal trainers recently and they seem like a good bunch of people to get me back in shape.

He said yes.

Let’s recap here;

I have made a decision to buy.
I am making an enquiry into options which is the positive buying signal.
I am asking for premium services above and beyond standard membership.
There were no objections to overcome. No barriers to the sale.

All I needed was to sign up or book a free visit and I would have handed over the annual membership.

I didn’t.

Here’s why;

Firstly the service was less than it could have been. The phrase to use when people come through to the wrong department or are in the wrong reception is “The best person to help with that is ___ shall I see if they are available for you now?” Even better, “_____ has lots of experience in that shall I point you in the right direction?” Either gets you your first YES from the potential customer.

Secondly, on arriving at the second reception desk I was expecting more than a leaflet. If that’s the only reason I needed to go through to another part of the building then a good customer journey would be to have the leaflets available at the main reception desk making life much easier for the customer. Your reception team are the most important people in your business; they make or break your customers’ first impression.

Thirdly, the leaflet was rubbish. It was A5 size printed on A4 and separated by the ‘lick it and use a ruler method’ so one edge was shoddy. The image and text took up only a small amount of the A5 size on each side and neither side was aligned. The two sides were upside down, you know you have done this yourself trying to print on both sides of the paper and putting the paper in the wrong way up. The leaflet has been put together using a spreadsheet programme; I know this because the gridlines for the boxes were still visible. Even if they had used a cheap online print company they could have created 1000 leaflets for about £120. There was not a single benefit on that leaflet, just features price and disclaimers.

My impression of the place now; no investment in staff training, no investment in getting customers, unlikely therefore to invest in retaining customers. Sight concern that if they cannot afford to have proper leaflets printed their gym equipment maintenance might not be too great either.

And that’s how easy it is to lose a £710 sale plus a £79.98 joining fee.
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