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Club Industry 2012: How to wow your customers with personalized service

Thursday morning at Club Industry brought lessons from a customer-service guru. SNEWS delivers the news from Las Vegas.

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This never happens: A youngster sees the wondrous Snow White in the flesh at Disney World, only to have his or her dreams come crashing down when the magical maiden is spotted on a cigarette break in the parking lot.

That’s because Disney has world-class customer service, something author, business owner and motivational speaker John DiJulius knows something about. DiJulius was the keynote speaker on Thursday morning at Club Industry, and gave attendees a glimpse into how they can provide service like Disney.

“John DiJulius is the authority on redefining customer service,” said Club Industry Magazine Editor Stuart Goldman. “He didn’t read the books on customer service; in fact, he wrote them.”

DiJulius wrote “What’s the Secret” and “Secret Service,” two titles authored for businesses that want to create loyal customers by creating a personalized customer service experience.

What you need: service aptitude

The associates you hire need one thing to provide great service: service aptitude — something nobody is born with.

Service aptitude is comprised of three things, DiJulius noted: Previous life experiences, previous work experiences and current work experiences.

All that seems to be on a foundation of two other things: Having a clear service vision for your business (why your business exists) and training your employees to understand that everybody has a story, something they’re going through, and that maybe one positive customer experience encounter could create a loyalty to your business.

DiJulius noted Disney’s service vision is “To create one of the most special memories in a person’s life.” In order to properly execute that vision, he said, employees must bring their “A game” to work every day.

Starbucks, another company DiJulius said offers world-class customer service, has a service mission, “to create inspired moments in each customer’s day. Anticipate, connect, personalize, own.”

What are you selling?

The fitness industry isn’t just one where just simply sell equipment or memberships. Rather it’s an industry that “inspires life change,” he said.

There are certain things customers shopping around at your stores or buying memberships to clubs are looking for: “The bounce,” confidence and self-esteem, motivation, inspiration and change.

“We have the ability to put a bounce in people’s step help them with their confidence and self-esteem,” DiJulius explained to the crowd.

He took a page from his book “Secret Service” that trains employees to get to know customers, get to know their families, their hobbies, their job, so they can connect with them on a personal level and make them feel welcome. When customers establish a loyalty to you because they’ve experienced tremendous personalized customer service, they’re likely to keep coming back regardless of whether you charge more than your competitors.

–Ana Trujillo