As a business owner, word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best ways to get people in the door. Not only is it free, but the honest reviews from satisfied customers are priceless. Happy gym members who tell their friends to join are more likely to stick around as loyal and committed members for years to come. Even social media plays a big role in ensuring that members stay connected and dedicated to your business. When things are going well and your business is managing members’ expectations, it’s hard to imagine anyone would write a bad review. But, they happen to absolutely everyone. Even the best businesses are susceptible to critics. Every gym member has different tastes, beliefs, goals, and ways of communicating, so it’s no surprise that not everyone will be your biggest fan. The important thing to remember is that it’s how you handle the negative reviews that will help you succeed. Keeping the following principles in mind will help you turn a negative review into constructive criticism.
Don’t Take It Personally
This is a hard one because your gym is your baby. You work hard day in and day out to keep things running smoothly. But just as you don’t like everything you taste, read, see or buy, your customers aren’t going to either – no matter what you do. It’s absolutely critical that you separate your business from your self-worth if you are going to succeed in the fitness industry. Remember, the reviewer probably doesn’t even know you.
Critical Reviews Can Actually Be Good
When you first read a negative review, your blood might begin to boil. You might wonder how anybody could write such a thing! But, try to give yourself some time to cool off and read it again a little later with a clear head. Try to read it from a customer perspective and note if any of the points could be valid. You may even ask a trusted friend, family member, or employee to give you feedback on the points the reviewer mentioned. Although sometimes the reviewer may not give much detail, when they do, try to use it in a way that helps you improve.
Don’t Rage, Engage
You don’t have to respond to a bad review. Many times it’s best not to, but in an age of social media where it’s easier than ever to nip something in the bud immediately, you might consider it. Remember, take a deep breath and read your response several times before you post it. Try not to be defensive and certainly don’t attack the reviewer. Instead, stay poised, thank the reviewer, and let them know you appreciate the feedback. Over time, you’ll develop a thicker skin and move on faster. While the disappointment will still be there, it won’t sting as much.
You have a lot on your mind as a club owner, yet keeping customer satisfaction at the forefront of everything you do is crucial. While not everyone will be satisfied all of the time, by listening to your members and letting them know you’re open to feedback, you can potentially avoid public negative reviews. Encourage your members to come to you first if they have a problem so you can handle it immediately. By opening that line of communication with your members and maintaining transparency, they are more likely to trust you and share their thoughts openly while supporting your business.