We’ve all had poor customer service experiences, and a recent one with our fitness club, GoodLife Fitness (a Canadian chain with 140+ clubs) prompted me to think more about customer service. Sparing you the gory details, incorrectly GoodLife identified my wife’s membership and mine as expired. After several calls and much follow up by me, I finally learned that their computer glitch created the situation and our embarrassment and inconvenience (we lost use of the club for a short period of time). After writing an e-mail to Customer Service, I received a standard e-mail response with an apology embedded within it. My preference was that they more clearly demonstrate their understanding and regret for the situation and our experience. They could have simply provided a one week extension to our current membership, but they opted for a low cost alternative—the ‘we’re so sorry e-mail’—which correspondingly possesses a low amount of effectiveness.
Although there are costs associated with compensation in the form of one week extensions, for example, they play two vital roles:
- By providing something of value, this clearly demonstrates to the customer that they are valued. Anyone can apologize; children learn to do this at an early age, as it costs virtually zero;
- Providing compensation acts as a penalty to the organization. This usually entails a dollar cost, lost or deferred revenue, and this will act as a catalyst to ensure situations like this are not repeated.
Our experience was shared by eight fellow colleagues on the same corporate plan. Our corporate membership is up for renewal in ten days. Let’s see if GoodLife Fitness decides to right the wrong. Stay tuned for an update!