One of the easiest ways to find out how your business is performing and which area you need to focus on is to ask your clients. I'm sure you have had clients come up to at some stage and offer their opinion or advice on how you could improve your business. However, majority of the time clients remain quiet and just 'get on with it' and do not tend to speak up.

It makes almost too much sense for us to ask our clients how we can improve, rather than waiting for them to tell us. Waiting for clients to voice their (possible) concerns is very REACTIVE and sometimes can lead to a situation of “too little, too late.”

To save the situation where a client suggests how you can improve AFTER they tell you to cancel their membership, it is better business practice to PROACTIVELY seek this information from your loyal paying clients.

This is straight forward advice, however how many of us actually REGULARLY ask our clients how we can improve? It can be quite confronting because we all try really hard to serve our clients and provide outstanding service, and to possibly hear we are not meeting their expectations can be difficult to swallow. But speaking in depth with your clients will absolutely lead to a situation where everyone is happy and you know that for sure, because you ASKED THEM !!

It is very important that you speak to ALL your clients about their experience whilst in your business and not just the ones you have developed the most rapport with.

There are many ways to get this information and all are effective:

FEEDBACK BOX: Put a feedback box in your reception area if you are working in a gym or studio. Have a sign that welcomes your clients to give their feedback, and you can also have a small survey for them to fill out. If you are using a list of questions it is important to have an “Other Comments” section. This is so your clients have the opportunity to add things that may not have been addressed in the questions.

PERSONAL PHONE CALL: This is a great way to get feedback and all Personal Trainers should try this while working from a gym, studio or mobile. Simply ring your clients, ask if now is a good time for them to speak to you for 5 minutes. If so, ask your questions and see where the conversation goes. As you are not face to face, sometimes the clients are more confident in giving honest feedback and suggestions.

ONLINE SURVEY: There are many FREE online applications available on the web that allow you to create a survey to send to your database of clients. This is a fantastic way of receiving your feedback because you can send it to all of your clients at the same time. The client will receive an email from you with a web link to your survey. Once they complete the questions and submit their finished survey it will be sent to you straight away. Most online survey applications have the ability to graph the results showing you the most popular responses for each question. That's great for prioritizing what to address first after the feedback.

So What Do I Ask?

It is important to ask questions about all facets of your business. Do not just focus on their training and results, although obviously this is a major topic. Try to ask questions regarding:

HR
Customer Service
Cleanliness of work place
Standard of equipment

Operations
Trainer knowledge
Trainer Motivation
Professionalism
Session structure
Session Enjoyment

OH & S
Safety of work place
Safety of equipment

Accounts
Pay structure

There are many questions and topics to speak about but you must also let the client have their say on ANYTHING they wish to discuss. Tell them they are welcome to be upfront and honest and that this conversation is confidential.

Great time to grab a few testimonials:

You will ring or survey some clients who tell you they could not be happier. They are achieving fantastic results and think that your business and how it has changed their life is brilliant.

There is no harm in asking these clients for a testimonial. Ask them to write one down and email to you or even better get them to say one to camera next time they are training with you. Testimonials are social proof that you run a great business and get real results, so remember to ask!

The added bonus!

Finally the bonus of actually talking / surveying to your clients is you may actually find something about your business you did not know. For example, you may find out that most of your clients continue to attend your sessions because of you … your personality! Or maybe they like your business because you have flexible payment methods!

Who knows, but if there is a trend that comes out, maybe that can become your marketable 'Point Of Difference'.

Speak to your clients !!!