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Customer Service Best Practices with Lori Metz

Lori Metz

This issue we spoke with Lori Metz, the executive director at the YMCA of Easton, Phillipsburg and Vicinity, a branch of the Greater Valley YMCA, about customer service best practices.

What are some ways your facility provides great customer service? 

We treat our members like a member of the family. We greet them by name, with a big hello and friendly smile. We also like to acknowledge something about the member such as “I like your dress today,” and “Nice new haircut.” Another way we do this is by sending cards at times of hospitalization or the loss of a loved one. If we have not seen some of our senior members, we call them to make sure everything is OK. We also respond to messages and emails within 24 to 48 hours.

If we make an adjustment in an account, we follow up to make sure the action promised was achieved. Quality tours that are highly informative are key, while making sure the tour is based on the potential member’s needs. We make sure members feel heard whether in-person, on the phone or via email by first acknowledging what we hear them saying before offering a solution.

What systems and processes should be in place to ensure consistent customer service? 

Training is the key to ensure consistent customer service. Staff should be trained on all systems and how to effectively communicate with the members. We observe the 10-foot rule: stop whatever you are doing when a member gets within 10 feet of staff and then acknowledge them by name. Another way is if you do not know the answer to a question say, “I’m not sure of the answer, but let me find out or find someone who does.”

How do you measure member satisfaction? 

We conduct member satisfaction/feedback surveys that give data to calculate net promoter scores. Retention or return rates are a good indicator of member satisfaction as well. We also provide a comment box for members to convey their feedback. Staff always respond to the comments so the member knows they have been heard.

What advice can you offer community centers when it comes to providing the best customer service? 

Treat your members how you want to be treated. A simple smile, hello and use of a member’s name can go a long way. Always be willing to help a member with their questions/concerns. Go the extra mile to deliver excellent customer service. One of the best stories of “wow” customer service is when a member forgot her swimsuit. The person working at the welcome center told the member to wait, then went home — he lived across the street — and got one of his wife’s clean swimsuits and brought it back for the member so she did not miss her swim. She was impressed by his creativity and kindness.

Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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