Last week during our staff in-service meeting, I presented on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Service as it pertains to our small business operation. The overall goal of this presentation was to increase our strength staff’s knowledge and awareness of some of our integral business operations. It is not a responsibility for our strength staff to understand every business-related aspect such as accounting and financing. However, our strength staff must be aware and knowledgeable regarding our CRM and customer service strategies.
I reviewed the overall concept of CRM systems to first educate our staff on the overarching concept. According to Salesforce, “a CRM is a technology for managing a company’s relationships and interactions with all customers and potential customers.” (Salesforce, 2019). The goal of a CRM is to improve relationships, resulting in increased growth. CRM systems are increasingly beneficial, providing a connection with customers, streamlining business processes, and improving overall profitability. Additionally, CRM systems assist in sales, customer service, customer lifecycle management, marketing, and recruiting among others. Ultimately, CMR systems provide unique support to numerous critical business functions, leading to improved processes, productivity, and profitability.
There are a variety of companies that offer high-quality CRM systems. These CRM systems and software are typically expensive, particularly for small businesses. Due to this significant cost, we do not utilize a specific CRM software. Instead, James Karr and I work within our Google Drive, creating a homebrewed CRM system that provides our small business with similar benefits as professional CRM software. My co-worker built the CRM system into a Google sheets document, implementing numerous aspects of actual CRM software. I utilize this CRM document every day while conducting any type of business operation. We also have several specific folders with additional Google sheets and documents that all fall under the added benefits of a CRM system. From an active client list to leads, to employee resources, to marketing campaigns, a large majority of CRM activities are included in our Google Drive CRM system we have designed and implemented.
One aspect of our business operations that our CRM system benefits tremendously is our customer service. This is also the business function that is increasingly important for our strength coaches to understand. Countless small businesses rely on customer service to generate and retain customers, but few utilize superior customer service as a competitive advantage. At BPT, our superior customer service is one of our competitive advantages. This is also the main reason why our strength staff must learn and understand our customer service efforts as a competitive advantage. Our strength staff is another competitive advantage, and one of my top priorities is to ensure cohesion between the two competitive advantages of superior customer service and our team.
We use our superior customer service to not only drive business and retain customers, but we also use it to differentiate from our competition. Today, it has become significantly important to deliver excellent customer experiences, particularly in the strength and conditioning/ fitness/ health and wellness industries. There are a wide variety of competitors within these industries resulting in increased product and service substitution potential for customers. These potential substitutions require multiple competitive advantages to differentiate from the competition. As a result of these demands, we must provide an excellent customer experience, and that begins with our staff.
Our entire staff uses many techniques that we reviewed during our In-Service. These techniques have been an integral part of our customer service strategies, but we continuously review and reinforce them to always grow and improve our processes. Some of the techniques include, but are not limited to: working cohesively as a team (communication), having deep product/ service knowledge, listening/ sharing feedback, and having an honest, friendly, empathetic approach to supporting and assisting our customers.
Our staff works cohesively as a team during all of our operations, particularly when supporting and assisting our customers. An example of our teamwork with customer service can be observed when our strength coaches collaborate by making timely adjustments to client programs when there is an unforeseen issue such as an injury from athletic competition. If a client enters the gym with a recent injury, our strength staff communicates this injury to our entire team, and our coaches work together to make adjustments to the training program to ensure safety while maximizing the client’s training experience.
This technique also applies when resolving additional customer issues such as concerned parents. Frequently, parents are concerned their child is not progressing properly in regards to other athletes, and it is our responsibility to educate and reassure parents that we have a plan for their child. We will utilize our cohesive teamwork by recruiting the strength coach that designs that specific athlete’s program to describe their plan of action to the parents. We will often handle these situations in pairs or as a team overall to show parents our entire staff is aware of the athlete’s program and direction.
Deep product knowledge also works hand in hand in both of these examples. Our staff completely understands our product and service because they design the product and carry out the service daily. Therefore, they are more than equipped to explain to parents how an athlete is progressing or describe the specific adaptations and training qualities the athlete will obtain during the training program. Furthermore, our strength staff is also more than capable of making on-the-fly adjustments to programs. Their deep knowledge of our product (programming) and service (coaching) enables our coaches to deliver superior adjustments to assist our customers in achieving a tremendous training experience.
Ultimately, our In-Service from last week was designed to reinforce our competitive advantages, along with providing our staff additional knowledge to support their daily operations. We are consistently learning and educating ourselves here at BPT, and expanding our knowledge on our competitive advantages enhances our ability to provide our customers with the best possible experience.