Credit Card Chargebacks = Negative Energy

If you run a small business and accept credit cards, you know what I mean.

You’re just going along working your butt off trying to build your business and provide great service to customers and one day you get a friendly notification from your processor.

“The following transaction has been charged back by the cardholder or the card issuing bank. Your account has been debited for the chargeback amount in addition to a chargeback fee.”

So, the money you collected for a sale is taken away AND you get charged a Fee of anywhere from $15 – $100 in some cases… at least $25 if you happen to process payments with Mindbody. So this happens automatically when a customer files a dispute. No “innocent until proven guilty” — it’s more guilty unless you can prove innocence — and it takes a lot of time and paperwork to prove your innocence. It sucks! For a gym or studio, this could be anything from $10 for a drop in class to $500 or more for a package. Either way, it takes money out of your pocket.

So, what can you do?
There is no one simple answer. This is in part because there are so many different reasons that consumers will file a chargeback. According to Chargeback911, this is a list of the top reasons consumers file chargebacks:

  1. Fraudulent transaction
  2. Products or services not as described
  3. Cardholder doesn’t recognize the transaction
  4. Services not rendered or merchandise not received
  5. Credit not processed
  6. Duplicate processing
  7. Transaction amount differs from the agreed upon amount
  8. Cancelled recurring transaction

Given this list of reasons that consumers file a dispute, it really comes down to good business practices. Here are a few things we all should be doing as a general rule to provide great customer service which should help prevent chargebacks.

  1. Be very clear about what services you are offering up front. Provide thorough descriptions on your website or scheduling management software.
  2. Be very clear about your policies. Ensure customers making purchases are aware if you have strict ‘no show’ polices or ‘no refund’ policies.
  3. Provide receipts to customers either in person or via email and make sure it describes what they purchased and for how much.
  4. If you promise a credit or refund, process it immediately.
  5. If you make a mistake in charging your customers, inform them and let them know you are working to fix it.

If you do all these things, it should minimize your chargebacks, but you will never eliminate them. They are a fact of life in modern commerce.

Unless you are using fitli. When you sign up for a fitli business account, payments are fully integrated. You pay a predictable amount on each transaction. Period. No monthly fees — No hidden fees — and yes, No chargeback fees.

Unfortunately, you will still be at risk of having your sale frozen until resolved and you may still have to provide information to a fitli representative to help fight the dispute, but at least you won’t be charged an additional fee.

So, treat your customers right. Communicate clearly about your products and policies. And sign up for fitli.  🙂

It’s also important to know what fees you are paying your processor. You just might be surprised what they slip in there. Learn more here.

Think Like A Customer: 5 Things Your Potential Members Think About When Evaluating A New Studio

It is no surprise that excellent customer service is paramount to engaging and keeping studio members engaged and loyal.  In order to deliver a great customer experience, a business owner needs to think like a customer — regardless of whether you’re running a yoga studio or a Fortune 500 company.

Thinking like a customer is important in every step of the customer journey. I recently moved to a new city and am in search of a new fitness studio. Right now I am on the first step of the customer journey — evaluating my options — and I could be your next member.

Here are five key things I look for, and many of your potential future members look for, when choosing a new studio. 

  • CONVENIENCE: The studio I join has to fit my schedule. This means a location that is close to home and work, or has multiple locations I can access. Hours are important too. You may not be operating 24/7, but accommodating the early morning and after-work crowd is a must.
  • CLASS SCHEDULE: Variety and times that fit my schedule. If classes I enjoy the most, like spinning, are only available mid-day during the week, I’ll be taking my workouts elsewhere. Posting your full class schedule online makes it easy for a prospective customer to visualize how workouts at your studio can fit in to their daily routine.
  • HASSLE FREE: We all have busy lives and the best way to get customers to commit and visit your gym is to make it easy. I look for easy payment options, like monthly memberships that auto-renew, and an easy booking system so I can reserve a spot in my preferred classes. Fitness studio software is a great way to automate scheduling and allow guests to sign-up for classes with one click.
  • FACILITIES: Know your target customer segment and design facilities that meet their needs. Personally, I look for good equipment, with a clean, bright space. If your studio caters to high end clientele looking for a fitness spa experience, make sure your facility gives that experience. Sell your studio like you would sell your home – with pictures! A gallery of photos on your website is a great way to show prospective clients what they can expect when they visit.
  • GREAT VALUE: There’s price and then there’s value. Price is the amount of money you charge clients for a class or a membership. Value is what your members feel they get for their membership fees. Sure I’m looking for an affordable fee and I prefer to see those fees posted on your website before I come in to meet with your sales team. However, what I really want is to feel like I’ll get my money’s worth. Price is important and you want to set your fees to capture as much of your target market as possible — but don’t forget to focus on value. Understand what your customers need, meet those needs and reap the financial rewards.

Attracting new customers is one of the biggest challenges a studio owner has. Thinking like the customer will ensure your studio is taking steps to attract and retain members. If you are looking for a way to simplify the payment and booking process to make it easy for customers to join your studio, visit www.fitli.com for a free demo today.