Tennis Industry magazine

 

Racquet Care

Each of us needs to be reminded of the basics every now and then. These tips will help you service your customers the best way possible.

by Tim Strawn

No matter what your level of experience, everyone has his or her own ideas of exactly how a business should be run. As racquet technicians, each of us has invested a certain amount of financial resources and time into training.

Racquet care 101

But how many of you implement all the practices and methods you’ve learned on a daily basis? Do you ever find yourself falling into patterns, for whatever reason, where you stray from the path of racquet service righteousness? Be truthful now. When was the last time you put a racquet on the stringing machine without inspecting it first? I bet I caught you on that one, didn’t I?

Maybe a simple review might help us spot a few more things to take a closer look at.

The Customer

It all starts with the customer. Make sure you treat your customers the way you would expect to be treated if the roles were reversed. Customer service should be your No. 1 priority. Everything else builds from there.

racquet poly bags

Think about it. You can be the very best in the business, but what good is that if people won’t patronize your business? If you’re difficult to deal with, they’ll settle for second best in a heartbeat if they feel they’re treated better somewhere else.

Systems and Processes

Do you have dependable systems and processes in place? Maintaining good records is important for many reasons. Not only might your customers ask about past purchases they’ve made, but if you’re in the U.S., the IRS may ask, too. Plus, good accounting software can keep your business running smoothly, saving you valuable time and surprise expenses.

racquet maintenance

Having processes in place to deal with warranty returns on racquets, standard product returns, irate customers, unhappy employees, or difficult vendors can save you time and headaches, too. When you have the necessary processes in place, you’ll be prepared to tackle tough situations head on.

racquet ERT testing

Care and Service Basics

For many, this is a passion, not a job, so excellent racquet service is and always will be a top priority. Are you following basic practices that provide your customers with the service they seek? Here’s a quick review:

Other Care Tips for Customers

One last thing you might consider is to warn your customers of the dangers of heat exposure to their frame. Racquet frames can typically stand heat up to 300 degrees F., but the strings, grip, and other parts of the racquet are more sensitive to high temperatures.

racquet heat

A racquet bag with a good thermal pocket will keep the racquet at a more consistent temperature for a longer period of time, but the best advice is to tell your players not to leave the racquet in the car during the hot summer months. It’s also advisable to tell your customer to carry their racquet on board the plane if they’re flying, where it won’t be subjected to temperature extremes in the cargo hold.

Just remember, it’s the little things you do that make a big difference. Your primary goal is consistency. Once you’ve achieved that you’ll be amazed at the long-term benefits you’ll reap and just how much your customers will appreciate what you do for them.


Leave Your Mark

One of the ways I keep track of my customers’ frames is to add my own racquet label. The label is generated with the software program I use for racquet data and printed using a Brother P-touch label maker. It has the customer’s first and last names, a designated number for the racquet (especially important if they have more than one frame of the same model), date, string used and reference tension, and my business name and phone number.

I also print the DT (dynamic tension reading from the Beers ERT 300 taken immediately after the racquet is strung) in the lower left-hand corner of the label for quick reference. If the customer brings in a frame and wants to know if it needs new strings I can quickly take a DT reading and compare it to the one on the label. Players love this useful little label and for me, since I have a lot of customers, it helps me identify them when they come in with a quick glance at their label.

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