Helping Your Customers Adapt to Change

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One of the most challenging aspects of managing your relationship with customers is when you have to help them adapt to change. Change can come in many forms.

One of the most challenging aspects of managing your relationship with customers is when you have to help them adapt to change.  Change can come in many forms.  Sometimes it’s positive, such as when you open a new sports facility location, add a new class to your gym schedule, or hire new staff for your personal training studio.  And sometimes…it’s not. Regardless of the “why”, there are a few things you can do to make the transition a positive one.
The Boy Scouts motto says it best: Be prepared.  A well thought-out plan of action is the best tool you can have.  Spend the time now to brainstorm about what changes you may encounter, both good and bad, and how you will need to deal with each.  Remember that adapting to change is a team effort, so make sure that everyone on your team knows their part in the plan.  Being prepared will give you and your team the confidence to guide your customers through the process.
Once you have a plan, open the lines of communication with your customers.  Don’t wait until the last minute to let them in on the news!  Dealing with change can be stressful, so the more time they have to prepare, the better their experience will be.  This is your chance to set and manage their expectations, so be proactive and follow up with reminders often.  It’s also important to remember that when speaking with customers about change, you want to stay positive but be realistic and prepare for some pushback.  Even if it’s a positive change, a customer’s first reaction might be to fight against it.  Be prepared to help them accept the change as necessary and how it will ultimately benefit them in the long run.  Here, a little empathy goes a long way.
Finally, fight the urge to turn back time.  Once there is an established routine, any change to that routine requires effort.  Adapting to change is your opportunity to improve your gym or sports facility, so just trying to go back to “the way it was” for the sake of avoiding change wastes both that effort and the opportunity.  Moving forward with confidence will send the message to your customers that you have the situation under control and will ease their uncertainty.
Because every sports or fitness business will eventually encounter the need to deal with change, it’s important to tackle those challenges head on.  If you prepare early, communicate effectively, and stay committed to your goals, you can lead customers to success no matter what comes your way.

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