OnTarget Range: Hitting the mark with online reviews

For some businesses, a good rating from an industry group can change everything. For shooting ranges and gun shops, the big goal is a strong review from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry’s primary trade association.

Until recently, there was only one shooting range in Illinois to receive a five-star rating from the NSSF. In July 2017, OnTarget Range & Tactical Training Center became the second, a huge milestone for the five-year-old business in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

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“A number of businesses proclaim to be a ‘5 Star’ operation, so another emblem, sticker, or plaque may not draw too much attention,” director of operations Tom Dorsch wrote on the company’s blog. “For this reason, we feel the need to hang up our usual cloak of humility and indulge ourselves for a small stretch down the path of braggadocio.”

Getting the coveted rating wasn’t easy. It culminated with a full-day onsite review, but before that, there were the mountains of paperwork and preparation. The rating is based on a number of factors, ranging from policy compliance to the condition of the physical facility. OnTarget spent a lot of time and effort getting ready — over 100 hours in all. In preparing for their 5-star review, OnTarget emphasized that one of their best practices protocols included reading, responding, and reacting to online customer reviews on Yelp, Google, and Facebook every day.

“We’re lucky to get a lot of 4-5 star reviews. Sharing this positive feedback with frontline staff is highly motivating and reinforces the value of good customer service,” says Judy Claxton, managing partner in charge of business development. “We also share the occasional bad review, as this can only help us to improve.”

Monitoring and managing online business reviews on multiple sites can be cumbersome and time-consuming, so Judy uses Womply to read and respond to all of OnTarget’s reviews from one place. This gives her a global view of what customers are saying about OnTarget so she can understand what’s working and what’s not, and take action when necessary.

For example, Judy and the management team implemented a no smartphones policy for staff after she saw a few customers mention it in reviews. OnTarget prides itself on its attentive and knowledgeable staff, all of whom go through rigorous background checks and mandatory first aid training. Even the occasional quick glance at a cell phone was sending the wrong message to customers, so they made an easy fix.

“I love the fact that Womply notifies me every time we get a review so I’m not running from site to site,” Judy says. “I usually look at the review immediately. Customer feedback is valuable, and we have it coming to us without any effort required on my part.”

Judy also uses the Leaderboard feature in the Womply dashboard to see how OnTarget is performing financially compared to other similar businesses. It allows her to see if a trend in sales is specific to her business or if it’s a broader trend in the market.

With better small business software and a freshly minted five-star industry rating in hand, OnTarget is taking aim at growing all aspects of the business. This includes the firearms pro shop, the shooting range, and the myriad firearms classes serving children (Tot Shots and Teens on Target) to the expert tactical level Operator’s Course.

If you’re in northern Illinois, visit OnTarget’s shooting range (12 rifle and 12 pistol lanes) for some target practice, or make a purchase or get advice on firearm maintenance in the gunsmith shop. You can also:

If you run a small business, request more info about how Womply can help you take control of online customer conversations with less time and effort.

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