Recreational Services: Providing Excellent Customer Service
Information That We Can Use
In your work “in the trenches”, you are vital to the improvement of the program. Not only in your interaction with our customers, but also in what you can learn and pass on from these interactions.
Let’s say, for example, that a patron, while picking up her I.D. card, tells you that she would love to come to a yoga class, but all the classes are at a time when she has other commitments. You could handle this in many ways. Try to think what would be best for the customer and the long-term success of the Program. Consider these options:
- I’m sorry that the scheduled times don’t work for you.
- What time could you make it to a class?
- I’ll let ask the Director if our instructor is available at that time and see if we might be able to offer another time.
- Would you like us to give you a call to let you know what we found out?
- Have you seen our schedule of other classes?
- Thanks for your input.
If you have made it through all six, you have provided excellent customer service. You may have a few ideas of your own that would be great too. Of course, the next step is to pass the information on to the Director and to follow up with a call. In this situation, the easy way out would be to say, “Sorry, that’s the schedule”, and leave it at that. Without much more effort though, we can provide the patron with much better service, and possibly improve the schedule that we offer. The patron will appreciate and remember the excellent service. They may pass on a word to someone else on campus, and the reputation of Rec Services and you as a member of the Team, is elevated. This is a win-win situation.Upset Customers
Situations may come up where patrons are upset about something. For example, they may tell you that they can never get on the elliptical machines because people stay on them too long.
In this situation, it is important that we take these steps:
- Listen to what they have to say. Sometimes it won’t be very nice. Sometimes you’ll have to filter through all the emotion and aggression to figure out what the issue is.
- Stay calm.
- If you can remedy the situation by communicating with those who are on the machines, you might solve the problem. “Hi. I’m Tom. We have someone who is waiting for the elliptical machine. Have you been on here long? Depending on what they say, you can let them know they have a certain amount of time left so everyone can get a chance to work out. This lets them know that someone is waiting and it will let the person who is upset know you are trying to sort out the issue.
- You can offer to pass on to the Director the nature of their complaint. Write it down.
- Read it back to them to make sure you have it all and so they know you have gotten it all
- Tell them “thanks” for bringing it to your attention
- Ask if they would like a call back
- If they want to talk to the Director call x7177 to see if he is available. If not, offer to have the Director call them.
It is important that our staff doesn’t get defensive when people are upset. They may have a very legitimate complaint and we might need to fix the problem. That happens sometimes. We need to let them know that we care about their complaint and will work to fix the problem.
If someone is being unacceptably rude, let your supervisor know and if you feel threatened, please contact Public Safety, x7161 or call 911.
As a Rec Services staff member, you will be asked to enforce policies and procedures designed to benefit the majority of program users. At times, the benefits of the policy may not be readily apparent to a patron. The patron may simply be concerned with getting a workout and doesn’t see what is wrong with what they are doing, e.g., Olympic lifts not allowed, etc. If handled tactfully, the communication can be positive and effective. Here are some steps that should help:
A. Be courteous and keep the conversation between yourself and the patron.
B. Identify yourself as a staff member. “Hi. My name is Sharon and I’m a weight room assistant.
C.Make your request. “I'm sorry, we do not allow the lift you are doing. If you need to work that muscle group, this is an alternative that we allow.”
D.Explain why. “With recreational users in the gym, they may walk into the area where you are lifting, risking injury to you and them.”
E. Thank them. “Thanks for helping us out.”
Our goal is to serve the largest number of students by providing
services and meeting their recreation needs. If a patron’s conduct
interferes, we will need them to adapt. We need to be tactful, respectful, and courteous
while we’re informing them and enforcing our policies.
You might want to ask your supervisor for clarification as to why the policy is there so you understand it better.