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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health

Unit 2 – The fitness professional

Lesson 2.7 – Providing great customer service


Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 2.7 Providing great customer service

Step 1 – Your role as a communicator Note: this activity can only be


completed online.

A new member joins your facility or your class and arrives on the first day looking
a little lost. You go over to introduce yourself. What should you do and say?

 Tell them what activity they need to do


 Find out their needs
 Make them feel welcome
 Ask them if they've done their induction
 Listen to what they have to say

Step 2 – Your role as a communicator

When you first meet a client, remember to SWELL:

smile
welcome
enthuse
laugh
learn name
It’s also a good idea to:

Reassure
Praise
Empathise
Encourage

Note: the online lesson provides voiceover examples of these.

Step 3 – Your role as a communicator

Once you’ve met a new client, it’s part of your job to keep in contact with them. An
exchanged greeting or passing remark such as, “Hey, you seem to be doing pretty
well!” can make a person’s day.

The members who drift away are the ones who feel either that they aren’t making
progress or are being ignored.

Another good acronym to bear in mind is I CARE. You will need at all times to be:

Interested in your clients


Cheerful
Approachable and accessible
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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 2.7 Providing great customer service

Ready to listen
Enthusiastic (even when you aren’t feeling very bright!)
Step 4 – Your role as a communicator
To ensure you create rapport and have an effective working relationship with your
clients you need to be able to convey information through various systems of
communication such as behaviour, speech and body language and this can be
defined generally as having good interpersonal skills. People with good
interpersonal skills are easy to connect with and they appear to communicate and
interact effortlessly with those around them. They have learned how to listen
effectively, observe non-verbal clues, respond positively to the tone of a voice and
interact and engage successfully with others.

Verbal communication is information conveyed by the voice and is influenced by:

 How loudly you speak – it is not helpful to either shout or talk too softly
 The tone and pitch of voice you use – this can affect how your client
receives the information or interprets your response
 Your own views and opinions – you do not want to appear judgemental
or get across the wrong message. Similarly you want to avoid appearing
bored or uninterested
 The speed at which you speak – speaking too fast means that your client
won't be able to absorb all the information
 The type of questions you might ask your client – an open question
probes for more information from the client but a closed question invites
only a yes or no answer from the client

It is worth noting that only 7% of what is conveyed is transmitted through the


words you use and 38% by the tone of your voice, the rest is conveyed by non-
verbal cues.

Non-verbal communication involves your body language and is influenced by:

 Eye contact and facial expression – your face gives away the tiniest
expressions and whether you have eye contact with your client will show if
you are interested or thinking of something else
 Your posture as well as where and how you position yourself –
keeping an open posture conveys that you are interested in the person
speaking to you
 Open body language, together with open facial expressions – this
includes uncrossed arms and legs, standing or sitting erect, leaning
forward, relaxed shoulders, and a generally relaxed aura
 Mirroring your client’s body language – if appropriate, this can show
rapport and engagement with them
 How you conduct and present yourself – in terms of attitude, dress and
hygiene

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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 2.7 Providing great customer service

It is worth noting that 55% of communication comes from your body language.

Step 5 – Your role as a counsellor


Following on from the role of communicator, the fitness professional has to act as
adviser and guide. All of the following are counselling skills that come into play in
everyday situations in a fitness environment.

 Being non-judgemental: avoiding imposing your own sets of values on


others, or criticising them
 Remembering all clients should be shown equal respect and their
contributions and experiences valued and acknowledged
 Understanding the barriers that people encounter in taking up regular
exercise and helping them find ways to overcome these barriers
 Being prepared to listen to the client’s point of view
 Expectation curbing: encouraging people to set themselves realistic
challenges and set short-, medium- and long-term goals to help them
achieve these
 Helping clients to overcome self-consciousness by showing them that their
efforts or their remarks will never be ridiculed
 Turning negative situations into positive ones. (‘The learning curve is never
a smooth one – we all seem to go backwards sometimes. It can happen just
before you move up a level.’)
 Showing clients that there is more than one way of getting fit

Step 6 – Your role as a counsellor

 Being capable of getting on with a range of personalities and being aware


of and embracing diversity amongst the people you will come into contact
with
 Acknowledge, understand, accept and value differences among people with
respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race,
sexual orientation, religion and status
 Always ensure you treat everyone equally
 Helping clients to remove misconceptions (such as thinking exercise goals
can be achieved with little effort)
 Being completely trustworthy
 Observing the code of ethical conduct set down for the guidance of fitness
professionals

You may want to download a copy of the Code of Ethical Conduct, this can be
found on the Student Zone or alternatively click on the link provided in your online
lesson on step 6 of this lesson.

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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 2.7 Providing great customer service

Step 7 – Your role as a salesperson

Selling is part of your job. You may well be expected to sell:

 Facility memberships
 Other classes
 Goods and accessories
 Tickets for events

In addition to this, you are also selling health and fitness and in doing so providing
good customer service!

Most of all, however, you will have to sell the good name of the facility and its
management. To do that you will need to consistently appear:

 Positive and enthusiastic, even when things ‘behind the scenes’ are not
going well
 Proud to represent and be associated with your employers and your
colleagues
 Keen to convince your customers that they are getting good value for
money
 Keen to ensure that the organisation is profitable and keeps its good
reputation

Step 8 – Your role as an administrator

The fitness professional is also expected to be organised and run day-to-day


aspects of a fitness facility. This may include helping to:

 Handle bookings and other paper or computer-based transactions


 Deal with matters of security, such as locking and unlocking premises, or
ensuring that clients’ valuables are kept safe
 Organise local sports or social events
 Telephone non-attenders to see if they are all right and if they need an
appointment to get motivated again

A key obligation that you have is to play your part in ensuring the health and safety
of your clients, other visitors and colleagues, and to ensure that you know where
to find information if you are unsure.

All facilities will have a documented code of conduct for their staff and this will be
included in your job description.

You will also need to know where to access any information and resources that
clients will need. These would include PAR-Qs and other questionnaires,
complaints cards and so on.

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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 2.7 Providing great customer service

Step 9 – Your role as an administrator

You also need to know where to access information that might help you in your job
of supporting clients as well as help you in your own professional development.
This would include:

 Relevant books
 The internet
 Colleagues
 Professional bodies – for example the Register of Exercise Professionals
(REPs)
 A manager at your facility
 Health professionals
 Accessing further training – this could be with training providers or in-house
training

Steps 10 – The five rights of customers


The five rights of customers are:

 the right product or service – providing help and guidance to enable the
customer to get the greatest benefit from exercise
 of the right quality – ensuring that equipment is properly maintained and
that classes are delivered in a professional way
 at the right time – setting up facilities so that they are available when the
customer expects to use them
 in the right place – making sure that customers have the space and proper
environment for exercise
 at the right price – charging prices that customers can afford

You need to ensure you have all these in place to help your organisation have
good client retention. As you go about your work, it is useful to remind yourself that
customers are the only reason your organisation exists. Without a customer
there’s no one to provide a service to – this means there is no work and there are
no jobs.

Client retention is crucial to the business and depends on how you interact with
your customers and colleagues. It is very important to have a good relationship
with both in order to ensure the smooth running of the organisation and customer
satisfaction.

Steps 11 – Dealing with complaints

If a customer has a complaint, you must follow it up effectively and in line with your
facility's procedures. Complaints should be handled courteously, sympathetically
and as promptly as possible. You should:

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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 2.7 Providing great customer service

 Listen sympathetically to establish the details of the complaint


 Record the details and report them to your manager
 Offer compensation if it is appropriate and you have the authority
 Follow up with a letter of apology or phone call when you believe the
problem has been fully resolved

If you handle the complaint successfully, your customer is likely to prove more
loyal than if nothing had gone wrong.

Steps 12 – Developing customer loyalty


Meeting customer expectations and exceeding them where possible is going to
ensure you have loyal clients and there is more likelihood of clients passing on
their satisfaction to other friends. Here are some good examples of exceeding
customer expectations within a fitness facility:

 You stay behind after your shift has ended to help a client who was late for
an appointment
 You take an extra class when your colleague is ill to ensure the class still
takes place
 You research some information for a client in your own time
 You deal with a complaint immediately even though you are very busy
 You help a client find a health professional who will meet their specialist
needs
 You go out of your way to ensure that new clients in your class are
introduced to other members to make them feel welcome

Step 13 – Summary
It’s essential to provide your clients with great customer service.

To do this, the sales professional needs to take on the roles of communicator,


counsellor, sales person and administrator as required.

When meeting a client for the first time, remember to SWELL – Smile, Welcome,
Enthuse, Laugh and Learn their name.

The five rights of customers are the right product or service of the right quality at
the right time in the right place at the right price.

Exceeding customer expectations increases loyalty.

Well done, you have now completed the e-learning course. After you have
completed both mock exams, we recommend you revise all five units as you will
be tested on each of these when you take your final exams during your practical
workshop.

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Level 2 Exercise, Welfare & Health
Lesson 2.7 Providing great customer service

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