Chances are, like any business, your studio experiences periods of pandemonium and periods of calm (if not flat out boredom). While it may be tempting to sit back and relax during down times, why not use these moments to strengthen your business? You'll be performing important tasks, and also projecting the message that says, "This is an active, vibrant business."
Plan for the Upcoming Season
What season or business cycle is approaching? Use the opportunity to invite friends, preferred customers, or prospects into your business, or plan special promotions. If you sell yoga clothing or props, hold a pre-holiday sale, offer discounts on gift certificates, or announce special classes or workshops. While you're at it, why not use this time to do some strategic planning, not just for the upcoming season but for the ones beyond?
Touch Base with Customers
Use down time to reach out to key customer groups, rather than doing a one-size-fits all communication. Find out who your "big spenders"" are and give them a phone call just to say thanks. (You'll be surprised at their reaction—"You mean you didn't call me to ask for something?"") Check to see who has re-upped their three-month membership and and send them an email that includes a discount for their next session. Hand written birthday cards, perhaps combined with a discount, are always a sure bet.
If you can't cover all your clients, start with those who've been with you the longest. Try offering regular students an opportunity to try out a new class or workshop via email.
Connecting with customers on a personal level will make them feel special and appreciated, and keep them coming back.
Redesigning your retail displays is important for attracting clients to your merchandise and making them aware of other services. Ideally, your displays should be different every time a customer visits, depending on your type of business. So if the average customer visits once a week, you should have something fresh each time they come, whether it's a new product or just trying out a new display. By highlighting different products, changing décor, or altering the lighting in your business, you will attract your clients' attention and keep them looking, which can prompt them to make additional purchases. Another fun idea is a display board that keeps students inspired with messages and photos, say a pose of the day or week.
Brush Up on Product Knowledge
Taking a few minutes to test your product and service knowledge can help ensure that you are able to answer questions your clients may have. Can your staff talk knowledgeably about the different styles of yoga offered, and about various teaching styles? They should also be able to recommend mats and props, and even books and clothes for sale in your retail area. A firm knowledge of your product lines and services will strengthen your ability to endorse them, and customers are more likely to purchase a product if they receive a recommendation from someone with expertise.
Check In With Personnel
You can use slow times to talk to your employees and make sure that everything is running smoothly. Ask everyone the same three questions and see whether any themes emerge (e.g., we're having a lot of people letting their memberships lapse, our busiest class is at 6:00 p.m.), and then give thought about how to address these issues. (Don't forget to use the next down time to translate those thoughts into a specific action plan!)
Quiet periods are also a good time to chat and build relationships with staff. Maintaining positive relationships with your staff not only makes them more productive, it reduces employee turnover and potentially the client attrition that can occur as a result of losing an employee. You can also use this time for professional development by teaching staff some new aspect of your business or a new technique to try with clients. The more they understand your business and feel empowered, the more loyalty they're likely to feel.
Article by MINDBODY. To learn more about MINDBODY, go to mindbodyonline.com.