In the digital world created by COVID online reviews are more important than ever to your gym’s reputation. They are the cornerstone of how your business is perceived online. Even if you serve hundreds or thousands of customers and create positive interactions at your location it may not appear that way online. If your reviews are flooded with low ratings it will look like your business is unprofessional and this will turn away potential customers.
According to a recent study by Luisa Zhou 97% of customers read reviews for local businesses, and 94% said that reviews have made them avoid a business. This proves just how important reviews are as a top priority for increasing signups and improving your local SEO.
So let’s cover how you can generate many more positive reviews for your gymnastics center and bury the negative ones.
1. Ask your customers for reviews
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how often this is forgotten in the hustle and bustle of running a gym. Parents are busy, the office is packed, and it is difficult to remember to ask customers for a review so it just does not get done. According to a study by Zendesk “95 percent of users were likely to share bad experiences, while only 87 percent would share good experiences.”
This means that in your business negative experiences will always have a higher chance of ending up as a review for your business and over time your profile might end up being mostly negative reviews. You as a gym owner need to have policies in place to make it easier for happy customers to leave reviews to counteract this.
A great way to ask customers for reviews is to have review sheets like the one below easily accessible in your office. After a positive interaction instruct your office staff to hand this flier to your customer and ask for a review. This works well for the following reasons:
- It gives the parent something to hang onto so they have a higher chance of actually submitting a review
- It makes creating the review much faster and simpler which also increases the likely hood of it happening
- It makes remembering to ask for customer reviews easier for your office staff (you could even have rewards for whoever hands out the most)
Create your own review sheet in minutes with Canva: Template link here
2. Have great signage around your waiting area
This is fairly similar to the first point although it is something that will be available to parents passively without anyone from your staff needing to say anything to them. I recommend having scannable QR codes in easily visible areas with a sign asking for a review. This makes it a breeze for customers to leave you positive reviews.
If you are worried about this backfiring and causing more negative reviews, from my experience and the study above customers will go out of their way to write a negative review, but not so much with a positive one. So this should just make positive reviews easier for your customers.
3. Create incentives for your staff to generate reviews
Asking for reviews is something that needs to happen often and regularly in order for it to be successful. A great way to encourage your staff to do this is to offer incentives for whoever can get the most reviews. The rewards could be anything that you can think of from a special treat to the next office meeting to a financial incentive, and pretty much anything that you can imagine. The largest point is to recognize your appreciation for your employees going the extra mile to help your gym.
Asking for reviews from customers can be awkward at times, but creating a flier as mentioned in point number one, and adding incentive programs should help to push through that block to create a flood of new reviews for your gym.
4. Automate the review process
Another way to get more reviews is by automating the process. This is the easiest if you already have a well-maintained email list, just send out a message asking for a review. However many class management software such as IClassPro also offer options for sending out mass text messages which can be another great way to generate reviews for your business.
To make the process even more successful, if you have the software to accommodate this, send an email one month after a customer has signed up for a new class. This email could ask something like “How are you liking (class name) at (gym name)” and ask for a review of your experience. With this method, you can ask for a review just when the customer would be most likely to offer their opinion of your gym.
5. Ask for reviews on social media
Social media is another easy resource that you can use to ask for customer reviews. This method will usually not be as effective as email or text notifications. It can still generate some great reviews for your business from your loyal fanbase that follows your social media accounts.
Bonus Point: How to deal with negative reviews
Negative reviews are always a shame. Many times they come from misunderstandings or from one-time mistakes that do not accurately reflect the quality of your gym. All the same, they are inevitable and will happen to even the best businesses out there. Try to find one product or business with over 200 reviews and not one negative, it is nearly impossible. So what do you do when you do receive a negative review?
Always respond to negative reviews in a professional manner. Even if the customer is throwing a complete tantrum try to make your response as professional as possible. Remember that once a customer is leaving a negative review you have most likely lost their business, but now you are responding for the other people who will be reading the reviews. By responding in a professional and courteous way you can have the upper hand. Customers know that many reviews are left by crazy people, your business just needs to respond in a way that makes you look good at the end of the day. Offer an email to contact your team to handle this matter internally (they will almost never follow up with you), but it will make your response appear as though you have solved the problem at hand.
Lastly, fill your profile with plenty of positive reviews to bury it under an avalanche of positivity. If you can get more positive reviews customers will not even see the negative ones in your recent reviews and they will have much less of an effect on your business as a whole.
Ending thoughts on review management
Reviews are more important now than they have ever been. Taking them seriously could be the difference between losing and gaining new customers. This effect is amplified if your gym is in a competitive area because if customers are choosing between two close gyms and your business has 2 stars on Google while your competition has 5 it is going to be an easy choice for most people. It is unfortunate that your entire business can be condensed down to a 1-5 score, but for most customers that is how they will see it. It is best to learn to work the system in your favor to generate a great reputation for your gym online.
For more information about how to improve your gym’s digital marketing, we recommend checking out our ultimate guide to the 16 best marketing methods in 2023.
If you would like any help generating new reviews for your gymnastics center please sign up here for more assistance responding to and generating new reviews.