Something must be awfully wrong in the True Group boardroom. Despite getting bad press last month for not relenting to a court ordered refund of (just) $2,500 on Jan 24, they were still strong headed and kept on at being bad!
On Feb 13, the local newspapers reported on how customers are complaining about poor service at the fitness centre. Straits Times, in its article, noted that
- Online, the forums and blogs are abuzz with gripes against the yoga arm, with customers venting their frustrations in at least 50 postings.
- A group of 16 disgruntled customers have also banded together to file a collective suit against True Spa.
- customers have so far been angry about repeated cancellation of appointments made for spa treatments, pressure selling and the unavailability of slots despite bookings being made five weeks ahead.
In response, their spokesperson said “……., we have offered them ways to make bookings easier. There is really nothing else we can do”.
Are you kidding me? Nothing else you can do?? There is something they obviously can do. Refund the customer.
First off, they need to decide which is more important, money or customer satisfaction? I would suggest to the GM that put customer satisfaction before money. A satisfied customer can be a customer for life. An unhappy customer is going to make a hell lot of noise. The management at True Yoga must have been living in a well. Don’t they know that with Social Media, anyone can spread a piece bad news like a bush fire.
Customers can band together either for your company or against your company. I hope the Management wasn’t surprised to find “a group of 16 disgruntled customers have also banded together to file a collective suit against True Spa” (ST). I bet these 16 people didn’t even know each other before this. And now they have a common enemy. Dangerous.
Why bother spending so much money in glossy ads, spokesperson and promos to build credibility and then let is all go down the drain because of greed. I guess reputation comes cheap at True Yoga. Definitely cheaper than their spa packages.
What we can learn from this:
1. Your reputation is more valuable than the cost of any product or services that you offer.
2. If your customer is not happy, help resolve the issue sincerely. If you cannot resolve it, then give full refund. The sensible customer will understand and forgive you for your mistake. The irrational customer will not dare make news about it, because they know inside them that they are being irrational.
3. If your customer has to use legal means to resolve the issue, its as good as losing him/her for good. As reported: “Marketing manager Nora Yusoff, 43, took True Spa to court last year, where an agreement was made that allowed her to make bookings a week in advance. She said: ‘It improved for me after that, and I was able to use my whole package. But I am never going to sign up with True Spa again.’”
4. Remember what Warren Buffet said. It takes years to build a reputation and a day to destroy it. (or something like that).
Full article as appeared on ST below:
Feb 13, 2009
Wellness group gets flak from customers
Complaints pile up online and at Case; unhappy spa clients file collective suit
By Jessica Lim
COMPLAINTS about poor service are piling up against the True Group, the wellness empire that runs yoga, fitness and spa businesses here.
The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) received 331 last year, more than double the 155 filed in 2007. And barely two months into this year, True’s business arms have already drawn 15 complaints, mostly against True Yoga.
Online, the forums and blogs are abuzz with gripes against the yoga arm, with customers venting their frustrations in at least 50 postings. A group of 16 disgruntled customers have also banded together to file a collective suit against True Spa.
Last month, True made the news when a court bailiff went to its True Fitness outlet in Suntec City to seize equipment to raise money to make good on a customer’s court-ordered refund of $2,500.
True’s customers have so far been angry about repeated cancellation of appointments made for spa treatments, pressure selling and the unavailability of slots despite bookings being made five weeks ahead.
Assistant marketing manager Tan Siang Mei, who bought a $4,000 spa package in 2006, said she has hardly been able to get through the booking hotline and has had appointments cancelled at the last minute. As a result, the 29-year-old has used only $580 worth of services in two years.
Of her attempts to make spa appointments, she said: ‘No one picks up the phone. And when you are lucky enough to get some attention, spots are fully booked for weeks on end.’
Going online in the middle of last year, she had no difficulty finding 80 others with bad experiences at True Spa. Out of that number, 15 of them joined her to file the collective suit.
One member of the group, a 27-year-old teacher who declined to be named, wants a refund for the $6,000 package she bought. She is frustrated in having snagged appointments for only three sessions in her eight months as a member.
A True Spa spokesman confirmed that the spa received a writ of summons through the group’s lawyer on Jan 24, but said True has ruled out refunds.
‘In these cases, we have offered them ways to make bookings easier. There is really nothing else we can do,’ he said.
He explained that the existing system allowed customers to book spa slots two weeks in advance for peak hours and a day or two ahead for off-peak times; some of those who complained were assigned personal representatives to help them with bookings. He said these customers had earlier sought refunds for entirely different reasons, such as financial difficulty or because their favourite massage treatments were no longer offered.
But one of two lawyers representing the complainants, Mr Michael Loh of Clifford Law, said: ‘It’s not a case of wanting their money back due to making a bad decision. They are coming forward with what they have experienced, which should not be discounted in any way.’
He said his clients were asking for a full refund, though they were open to ‘any sincere offer’ to settle the matter.
Case, which has described the number of complaints as ‘quite high’, advises consumers to be clear about the terms and conditions of membership and to go online for reviews before signing up.
It added that, it may, if needed, invite True to sign a Voluntary Compliance Agreement, that is, admit to unfair trading practices, compensate its customers and clean up its act.
Mr Peter Sng from the Spa Association of Singapore put down True’s problems to its membership base being too large.
Marketing manager Nora Yusoff, 43, took True Spa to court last year, where an agreement was made that allowed her to make bookings a week in advance.
She said: ‘It improved for me after that, and I was able to use my whole package. But I am never going to sign up with True Spa again.’