You have a stable but are less than happy with dealing with complaints. Or perhaps you get good customers in but they don’t stay. It’s a competitive business and you don’t want to be at the bottom! Better horses and better customers mean paying attention to better customer service.
Customer service is something often pushed aside for the phone company or businesses “in town” when you have a problem with something you bought. So who do people deal with when they have a problem at your stable? That is customer service!
1.LISTEN to customers! From little comments like their horse isn’t ready to ride when they come to important things like the last four visits his water bucket was empty, it’s important to consider the client’s point of view. It’s true there are some people in all walks of life that complain often and are never happy. It’s also true that there are some things that we can’t do a great deal about – dust when it’s dry out or other things that are just part of having horses. But there are other things that may warrant paying attention. Too many potholes in the driveway can be solved by grading and/or a few loads of gravel. Listen objectively to your customers comments!
2.ASK for feedback. What do they like? What do they not like? What would make their stay better? What services can you offer without adding to costs, and what might they consider paying a little more for? Is the arena satisfactory or what would make it better? Consider a barn “Christmas present” – you have $100 or $200 what would the client do with it in the barn? Feedback helps customers feel valued and a part of things beyond just a source of income.
3.MAINTAIN the property should go without saying but fits into keeping customers happy. Clean waterers regularly, keep grooming and other ‘public areas’ clean and tidy. Have a clear calendar so clients know what to expect in advance.
4.Communicate! Tell them about new improvements that you’re working on, have a newsletter with information and news that’s available by email or printed off and delivered with their bill.
5.Listen to complaints without blame. The horse who has pulled his shoes AGAIN may have a frustrated owner – and it may not be at you. Talk to your care team – is it too muddy? Is the horse having underlying foot problems that need addressed? Remember to stay on target – don’t blame, find solutions.
The horse business is competitive. You can’t afford to lose good clients and no one needs bad ones. The horse world is full of people who take advantage – be firm with boundaries but don’t forget good customer service is as important as clean stalls, healthy horses and safe surroundings. Good customer service pays off.