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Mastering the Phone Inquiry

All staff members should be trained in proper phone techniques. They are the caller's first impression of your facility, and we've all heard it said many times: You only get one chance to make a first impression.

The process of selling a facility membership or spa service often begins with a consumer picking up the phone and calling your fitness center. What happens after that initial ring can make or break your business. Because of this, all staff members should be trained in proper phone techniques. They are the caller's first impression of your facility, and we've all heard it said many times: You only get one chance to make a first impression. The staff member should answer the phone with a smile, ready to answer the caller's question. They should then take control of the conversation, and ask the caller pertinent questions.

Key questions for the incoming call

The dialog can start with the staff member saying, "It would be my pleasure to assist you. May I ask how you heard about the fitness center?" This question is important for tracking marketing efforts. Staff can build rapport by knowing with whom they are speaking. "May I ask your name?" "Thank you, Sally. Have you visited the spa before?" This question communicates that the staff member cares if the caller is a repeat customer. Next question: "Is the spa service for you?" This question provides more direction. The caller might want to purchase a gift certificate or schedule an appointment for someone else. The caller could be a human resources representative from a local company inquiring about mobile services for a group of people. It is important that your staff member knows the caller's intentions right away.

Asking for the appointment

If the staff member has listened attentively to the caller's answers, they can maintain control of the conversation. When talking about rates, the basic rule in sales is never to pause. Your staff member's main focus is to make the appointment or book a spa service. The appointment must be asked for. "Sally, when would be the best time for you to come in and see our beautiful spa?" or "Sally, when were you considering having your massage?" Have your representative give two options when booking an appointment. The goal should be to book the appointment within 24 hours of the call. Your staff member should not, however, give the impression that the appointment book is blank. People want to go to places that are popular. Have staff communicate to the caller that this time is being set especially for them. This gives callers a sense that they are important enough for you to set a specific time to spend with them. The dialog can go like this: "Okay, Sally, your appointment [to see the fitness center/for your massage] is set for 4 o'clock tomorrow afternoon. May I please have a contact phone number?" In many cases, the spa would require a credit card number to hold the appointment.

Confirm the appointment

When confirming the appointment, encourage staff members to be assumptive. By hesitating, they give the prospect an opening to cancel. Consider the difference between, "I was calling to see if you're still coming for your 4 o'clock appointment tomorrow," and, "Sally, I am looking forward to meeting you tomorrow at your 4 p.m. appointment." The staff member calling should ask the guest to arrive 20 minutes prior to the appointment so they can change into a robe and relax for a few minutes before the service begins. Also, if your spa has a cancellation policy, make certain the staff member recites it with each and every confirmation call.

Cover the basics

A fitness center spa can spend a fortune on an attractive menu, a high-tech website and a strong marketing campaign, but still fall short if staff members are not trained to sell services, products or memberships. Once awareness has been created through a well-thought- out marketing strategy and prospects are calling - or, ideally, walking through your doors - the sales process has begun. Give the customer the best experience each and every time. This will ensure retention, referrals and, most importantly, a customer for life.
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