I don’t know why flagrantly bad customer service still shocks me, but it does.
I’ve been trying to join a gym this week. When my husband accepted his great new job a couple of weeks ago, I lost access to his uncrowded, well-appointed company gym. My inner cheerleader was all, “Yay, dynamic career move,” while my inner weightlifter was all, “Crap, now I’ll have to wait for bench time again.”
I qualify for a significant discount at this gym, which I’ll call Party A. I’ve been a member there before, so no worries, right?
Worries. Oh yes, worries.
Clerks who don’t want to explain, just process paperwork, even if it’s wrong. Managers who ignore polite e-mails. Clerks who do explain things, but only to inform me that they work for Party B, a contractor for Party A, and therefore can’t really help me. Clerks who insist that both clients (me and the husband) fill out our paperwork at the same time because they might lose it before he returns to complete his part of it.
Essentially, this gym is doing its best to avoid accepting hundreds of dollars a year from me.
I’ve been nice. I’ve been beyond nice. If anybody deserves good customer service for being polite and helpful, it’s me. A combination of Southern manners and unspoken inner apology for actually using the services of customer service personnel (I know, issues) means I’m on my best behavior. I’m the most awesome customer you ever want to cause problems for.
Yesterday, after having had no gym access for more than a week, I gave in and stopped by my neighborhood gym, which is run by the homeowner’s association.
The last time I was there, it was a small, humid little room stuffed with a couple of weird weight machines, a few dumbbells, a stairstepper and two stationary bicycles. It was frequented by a few guys attempting to lift weights on a laughably small mat, and a bunch of retirees pedaling in place while watching Oprah reruns.
It’s since been renovated. It still contains the weird weight machines and a few dumbbells, but the association has tripled the space and added more cardio equipment. It’s much less humid, though there seems to be an inordinate number of roach motels lining the walls, a condition that I choose to ignore for now.
It is, appropriately enough, entirely adequate for my gym needs.
I guess I should thank Parties A and B for their complete ineptitude and disregard for minimal customer appreciation, since their neglect led me to find a useful resource that is a mere half mile from my home, not to even mention the money they’re saving me every month.
Still, chasing customers away and playing the “I’m just a contractor” card is really bad long-term strategy. Eventually, those lost and angry clients will add up.
In the meantime, though, I’ve got a whole season’s worth of Oprah reruns to watch with Betty, provided I can get Carl to turn off Fox News.
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