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Tennis Manager – Killer Customer Service

Tennis Australia Commission ShootThe waiter has just spilled a glass of water all over you!  At least it wasn’t the minestrone soup!  Your meal, the experience at the restaurant and with your dining partners is ruined; irreparably.

Or is it?

Everyone will have a bad customer service experience at some point, in fact most likely several times a year (more if you have to deal with the telephone company.)  It’s not just going to be in a restaurant, its going to be at your tennis club.  Customers are going to:-

  1. Be overcharged
  2. have a lesson cancelled at late notice
  3. be placed in the wrong group
  4. not enjoy the coach
  5. complain because they are using the red tennis ball.

These are just a few possible problems that could arise.  It is inevitable, and while these situations are inconvenient, they don’t need to be a catastrophe for you or your customer.

Consider the spilt drink scenario.  What would it take to turn your experience from a negative, to positive a one you would tell your friends about?

  • A sincere apology from the waiter and manager?
    A free drink?
    A free round of drinks for the table?
    A free meal?
    A free meal for the entire table?
    Well some restaurants take customer service so seriously they do all the above an additionally organise for the customers clothes to be dry cleaned and returned to the owner.

These restaurants understand the dynamics of customer service.  Consider this fact about customer service.  If a person has a bad customer service experience, like having a drink spilled on them or being overcharged for tennis lessons, they will tell 11 people, who will each tell 5 more people.  That’s 55 people who heard you offer bad customer service.

But there is a silver lining!  If you manage to exceed their expectations in your response to the bad customer service their perception will change from good to bad and in an added bonus they will tell their friends about it.  Even more so than a long term satisfied customer.

So if you refund the amount you overcharged, the customer will be barely satisfied; if you refund the amount and give them the next lesson free you will turn that customer into a spokesperson for the virtues of your business.

In our business, where providing quality customer service is essential, our customers must be highly satisfied.  In our business, where mass advertising on TV, radio or print is usually out of the question it is critical our customers are out there spreading the word about the great program we are running.

Of course you will need to show leadership and managerial discretion.  You can’t give everyone a freebie or discount, but consider that the customers who complain actually like you!  They are likely to keep being a customer if you handle their complaint with great customer service, in fact 70% of complaining customers will keep doing business with you if you resolve the issue.

It is important to remember that customer who complain actually like you.  91% of customers don’t complain when they have a problem, they just never do business with you again.  So Killer Customer Service counts, because without satisfied customers, there is no business.  Companies who provide good customer service can charge more and have higher market share.

Tennis Managers Challenge

Your coaching and admin staff are the front line of your customer service efforts. Equip them with as much support as possible.

Create a list of common problems and breakdown the procedures and principles to handle each situation.  For example:
a)  5 steps to handling a student in the wrong standard class;
Acknowledge the issue
Promise to speak with the coach who will provide suggestions and alternatives
Call back at the earliest possible time to discuss the coaches suggestions and book into a new class
Offer the previous class free of charge
Provide the next class free of charge; or offer a discount for another lesson.



Role play
Next time your staff get together run through some of the scenarios with them.  All great customer service organisations do and it will give your team confidence and a customer focus.

Deal with those tricky customers, reply to their complaints requests quickly and make customer service your priority.

Resources Section

To find out more about killer customer service in the restaurant business go to www.zingtrain.com

75 Customer Service Facts, Quotes and Statistics.

Learn from the best.  Google is often rated the best customer service organisation in the world.  Read what Google CEO Jeff Bezos thinks about customer service.


rufus_webRufus Keown is a member of the e9 Professional Development Team

He is Director of the Victorian Tennis Academy, in Melbourne Australia and a Course Facilitator for Tennis Australia.

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