Ten Easy Steps to a Customer-Friendly Tennis Facility
Top retailers spend a considerable amount of time researching and analyzing what motivates the consumer to make a buying decision. Much of this research reveals that buying decisions are oftentimes emotionally based. We first want something, and then we rationalize the decision to buy it.
Successful retailers capitalize on this aspect of buying by making their customers feel comfortable and at home in their stores. And this same concept can hold true for tennis facilities looking to attract and keep new customers.
By tradition, some tennis facilities and their personnel can give off an intimidating appearance for newcomers. Perhaps it’s putting forth the image that tennis is “stuffy” or for the “elite.” Perhaps it is a facility that is “dated” and just needs a renovation to keep pace with the times. There could be a myriad of other reasons, but the result is that many new customers never get up enough courage to come in. If they do, they feel uncomfortable and leave quickly — empty-handed.
A large part of customer service is creating a seamless experience. When customer expectations are met or exceeded, the result is exponential growth in both revenue and customers. With the Tennis Welcome Center campaign, the idea is for new and returning players to have a fun, friendly, non-threatening first experience in tennis, so they’ll continue to play the game.
Below are some tips designed to make your facility customer-friendly.
It’s what happens after the customer arrives that determines whether you’ll keep them. Welcome customers with great people, great attitudes, and an inviting environment. Get them involved with your programs and staff. Get to know them, not only as customers, but also as people.
They’ll buy, they’ll come again, and they’ll tell their friends and neighbors.
- Website: If you have a website, create and manage a dedicated area on your home page for new players or former players looking to get into tennis. Provide easy-to-follow information about programs, events, and services for newcomers.
- Telephone: This is generally where the “first impression” comes from. Think pleasantry, sincerity, and brevity. Work to train phone staff on all available programs and services. Remember, you are sending a visual snapshot of your tennis operation through the telephone line.
- Facility Entryway: By creating an exciting and visually appealing entryway, you can create a secondary “first impression” with the customer. Consider window displays, creative landscaping, fresh flowers, and exterior signage to direct newcomers and visitors to the appropriate area.
- Greet Customers Warmly and Genuinely: We’ve all been in stores where we feel like intruders. Make every effort to approach the new customer as soon as possible and let them know you are there to help.
- Set the Tone With Music: Soft jazz or mood music can create a warm and relaxing environment for your facility and help put customers at ease.
- Create a New Player Area: Develop a special area within your facility to showcase information, photos, and special activities designed for new players and new customers.
- Create a New Player Guide: Have informative packets available for inquiring customers and new players to acquaint them with your facility and the policies and procedures. Also include discount coupons for new equipment and programs.
- Display Prices and Programs: Consumer radar (suspicion) goes up if the customer has to inquire too much about the pricing structure. Have a list of available programs and pricing clearly displayed and available.
- Help Educate Your Customers: One of the most often overlooked and best ways to gain customers is to be the information provider. Consider providing complimentary information on health and wellness, nutritional tips, tennis vacations, tennis instruction, how to choose a tennis racquet, etc. Once you are perceived as the trusted expert, you have a customer for life.
- Get Personal: Let your customers get to know the people behind the scenes. A simple biography and photo of staff members, including their hobbies and personal interests, can prove helpful to relationship-building. Also, work to arrange opportunities for staff to spend time on the tennis court with the customers they serve.
See all articles by Glenn Arrington
About the Author
Glenn Arrington is the USTA's product manager for Tennis Welcome Center, and is a PTR and USPTA pro.