Tennis Industry magazine


Your Serve: Keep ’Em Coming Back for More

A performance enhancement psychologist has some practical advice for improving your ability to retain customers and players.

By Dr. Robert F. Heller

Businesses often spend lots of time, effort and money to attract customers. But they often don’t do enough to keep them. A certain amount of customer turnover in a business is normal due to factors not in your control, for example the customer moves away or loses a job and can’t afford the service or product. However, what business practices can you use to improve your ability to retain customers, members and students even in tough economic times?

Here are just some ideas to help you retain your customers and players. But you also should “think outside the box” and come up with your own unique ways to cultivate and maintain the relationships you have with yours customers and members.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Develop and use a system to periodically but regularly assess the satisfaction of your existing clients. How satisfied are they with the convenience of your hours, your prices, the quality and selection of your products, the expertise of your pros, the way they are treated by staff, the variety of programs offered? What suggestion can your existing membership provide that will make your facility even better?

Survey the Competition

Do you know how you compare to similar facilities or retail stores in terms of price, services, convenience, variety and quality of programs and products? You should devote some time to keeping one step ahead of the competition.

Hire the Right People

For staff that will interact with your customers, hire those who are “people persons,” that is, they like to serve and help others, they are friendly and likable themselves and they have “thick skins” and are not easily offended.

Do you hire tennis pros who are certified at the highest levels, participate in continuing education programs and have some niche or specialty (high performance coach, kids’ tennis, etc.)?

Provide Ongoing Staff Training

Discuss and role-play how to handle difficult people and situations. If you are not good at this, hire a consultant to do the training for you. Recognize and reward good/effective employees.

Customer Appreciation

How can you show loyal customers who have supported and been with you for years that you appreciate their business and don’t take it for granted? Do you tell them directly? Provide financial discounts? Go out of your way to be helpful to them?

A tennis club I belong to promotes a “Breakfast at Wimbledon” every year where members are treated to a free buffet breakfast and can watch the matches on a big screen television in the clubhouse. Look for ways to show your customers how much you appreciate them and their business.

Develop ‘Partnerships’

Some health insurance companies pay or reimburse members to join and remain a part of the health/fitness facility. By keeping their clients healthy, they pay out less for health-related problems down the road. For example, a “Silver Sneakers” program is marketed to seniors and provides classes and clinics geared to and appropriate to this age population.

Dr. Robert Heller is a psychologist and performance enhancement psychologist who works with individuals and companies to perform at their best. He can be reached at, e-mail, phone 561-451-2731.

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About the Author

Dr. Robert F. Heller  is a psychologist and consultant in the areas of performance enhancement and stress management. He is the author of Mental Skills for Match Play and Mental Toughness. For information on telephone consultation, products, and other services, contact,, or 561-451-2731. He is based in Boca Raton, Fla.



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