A New Yogi
When I started training for the Ottawa Marathon in December of 2013, I decided to give yoga a shot in an effort to improve my balance, increase my core strength, and generally loosen up my stiff joints and muscles. As someone who was new to yoga, I was a bit hesitant. I knew that I would be taken outside of my comfort zone. I began searching for a studio that not only was close to my apartment, but had fair prices and classes that I would enjoy.
What I found was one of the best customer-brand relationships I have ever been a part of.
This is the story of how Elevate Yoga delights their customers by making a big impact with small, yet meaningful gestures.
Remove the Barriers to Entry
For me – a 26 year old male who had never done yoga before – yoga was a tad intimidating. There were a million reasons for me to chicken out and not go to yoga. The first thing that Elevate Yoga did to win me over was make me comfortable and remove the barriers to entry.
My search for a yoga studio began with a simple Tweet. I had noticed that Elevate had opened it’s doors a few months earlier just down the road from my apartment, so I went to Twitter to get the scoop. Amongst the positive reviews I got from my followers, was this:
A free class? Perfect. This simple Tweet accomplished a few things. First, they showed me that they didn’t just want my money. They wanted to prove their worth to me. Second, they got me in their doors to experience what Elevate Yoga was all about – the studio, the people, the culture. Lastly, they included my girlfriend Katie, which brought my comfort level with the whole thing up a couple of notches. There was no longer any reason for me not to go. There was nothing stopping me. They had just turned me from someone who was apprehensively considering yoga, to someone who was in their studio experiencing their service first hand.
I loved it, and have been going weekly ever since.
Yoga is hard. Really hard. I’m a fairly athletic guy. I run marathons. I bike to and from work each day. I play golf all summer, snowboard all winter, and volleyball all year round. I expected yoga to be intimidating, but I never expected it to be so physically demanding. To be honest, I really struggled with yoga those first few months. I couldn’t get into certain poses, let alone hold them. I got frustrated. Being bad at yoga sucked. I was so used to being good – or at least decent – at every physical activity I participated in. But not yoga. Nope. It really beat me down.
After one of my more frustrating classes, the instructor Kelly came up to me to ask how I was doing. She could obviously tell that I was having a tough time. I was very honest with her. I loved yoga. I loved the class. I loved the studio. But I hated being bad at it. She took the time to talk to me and give me advice.
The next day, the owner of Elevate, Lizl Fleury, sent me an email titled “Your Yoga Practice”.
She personally reached out to me to talk about my practice. What I was having trouble with. How she could help me continue my journey with yoga. She explained the complexities of yoga and the dedication needed to succeed. She offered me a complementary class to go over my needs and to help me find the practice that was right for me. Our conversation went on for several emails, and showed me that she really cared about my personal experience with yoga.
Elevate gives back to not just the community, but to their customers too. Here are some examples:
Every Friday evening, Elevate hosts a class call “Elevate Your Charity”, and donates 100% of the proceeds to local charities throughout Ottawa.
On my birthday, I got a free class. Small gesture, but it was nice.
On their one year anniversary they celebrated by giving away free yoga, snacks and prizes.
Basically, they really love their customers, and it shows.
Small, local businesses can learn a lot from a company like Elevate. Provide an incredible service, make it easy for people to participate, treat them like people, not just another customer, and give back as much as you can. Too many business don’t care anymore and take their customers for granted. It’s a damn shame. Elevate gets it.
Their customer service and attention to detail is only a part of what makes them amazing. The rest of their marketing is incredible – their website, newsletter, branding, and social media are all superb. Their studio is beautiful and their people are awesome. Their community involvement is second to none. I can go on and on about them, but you should find out for yourself. Go check out the awesome folks at Elevate Yoga, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.