As a yoga studio owner, you likely find joy in being able to share your love of yoga with others. But because your yoga studio is a business, sometimes situations arise that require you to take off your yoga hat and replace it with your business one.

A great example is when a student’s card is declined when processing their membership payment, or when they forget to bring their wallet to classes that require payment before entry. Ensuring you handle these situations with grace is key to maintaining positive relationships with your students.

Holly Meyers, the studio manager of Embrace Yoga DC, believes there are a few keys to addressing these issues. It all comes down to having a team who are unified in a similar approach, all while maintaining a kind attitude.

“As a smaller studio, we are able to understand innocent mistakes by students — such as forgetting a wallet or having an on-file credit card expire,” said Meyers. “For every student, we follow up by researching the account. Every error is considered on a case-by-case basis, and the student’s payment history and long-term loyalty is taken into account. The payment correction is handled retroactively.”

Meyers said when training the front desk staff on handling payment issues, she encourages them to be understanding toward students in these circumstances — but to also completely understand the situation before acting upon it.

“Be sensitive toward people because they may have forgot their wallet or their pass expired, because these can be completely valid reasons, very innocent things that people forget,” said Meyers. “So, I train our front desk staff to do that research and to use their best judgement, all while having our policy to fall back on.”

Having a policy for payment is vital, but making sure your students know about it or understand where to find it is equally as important. Meyers suggested dedicating a section of your studio’s website to your policy — this way your staff always has somewhere to turn in uncomfortable situations.

“Make sure that your policies are on your website,” said Meyers. “Make sure they’re glaring out, not hidden. If anyone has an issue, your staff can then say, ‘I’m so sorry that you have an issue with this, but I do have to follow a policy which is on our website if you’d like to look at it.’”

Meyers explained the importance of having an email address available for the front desk staff as well. This can be a place where students can further ask for a resolution if they feel dissatisfied with the policy or the outcome of the situation, rather than inside the studio.

“We’re a fairly small studio compared to some of the studios out there,” said Meyers. “We have one room, one floor and that definitely leads to us being very community minded, but I still believe that in bigger operations that sense of care and fairness can be instilled. I think it can be a model for everyone.”