In business, humility is a virtue. We cannot get everything right the first time, every time.
And no matter how hard we try, this is no less true in the Gym and Fitness Club business.
Machines will be over-used or break, members will be stressed and won’t achieve their goals with the best will in the world, the coffee might be luke-warm on coffee Friday.
It isn’t about the mistake or the short-coming, it is about how it is addressed. In this short blog we will be looking at quick and easy ways to ensure that the valuable feedback that your members have can be communicated, harnessed and actioned.
This is a classic across many organisations and with good reason. By placing several Feedback boxes in prominent positions across your Gym or Fitness Club and making sure that they are regularly monitored, you’ll be helping to ensure that your Member’s feel like they have an omnipresent way to make their voice heard.
Don’t fall into the trap of putting feedback boxes only in the lobby area, foyer area or entrance/exit corridors. This will be the area where your Members will be focused on arriving or leaving.
It might seem intuitive that this will be the place where they have the most cumulative experience at your Gym or Fitness Club, while leaving. However that does not mean they will be particularly interested in breaking down the nuances of their good or bad experience. They will most likely want to get back home and eat, or get on with their working day.
I know after an hour and a half of working out, the last thing I want to do is fill out a form detailing everything that sucked.
As such, feedback boxes should be placed primarily on tables in the workout area itself. In addition, encourage and normalise staff to refer members to these boxes.
Furthermore, if the staff are willing and capable at doing so, ask them to listen to the concerns of the members and then write in the suggestions verbatim themselves.
This will allow all the feedback to be centralised even though it is coming ad hoc and at various members of staff.
Not to sound like an agony aunt in the papers, telling someone to just talk openly with their spouse. But it really does work!
Set up a doctrine with your staff that will allow them to spend a certain amount of time just talking to willing (emphasis on Willing here!) members about their workouts and experiences with your Gym or Fitness Club.
This will enable your staff to harvest more feedback for the strategically positioned feedback boxes and more importantly, allow them to easily address issues on the spot.
In this culture of increasing impersonal gyms, there is a habit among a growing number of gym-goers of the 2020s to stick to themselves, do their workout and not question anything that may not be to their satisfaction.
This is disastrous as it means that dissatisfaction and resent towards an institution can grow without any indication from the member. It is important that we, as Gym Owners and Staff, attempt to combat this apathy and learned helplessness.
We have found that one key way of empowering members is to simply get the staff to ask them. Some members may take a little coaxing and you should never ask your staff to force their conversation upon someone who wants to be left alone.
But you’ll find if a member is comfortable in your Gym or Fitness Club (and this may not happen immediately), then they will be more than willing to tell you what hasn’t been to their satisfaction!
Set posters near your Feedback Boxes, or get your staff to ask specific questions that will help coax out feedback from your members.
“Which equipment had a long wait time today?”
“Which equipment did you want to use but couldn’t because it was broken or being maintained?”
“Have you stopped coming at certain times because it is too busy”
“Do you like the music we play?”
Having these questions displayed in prominent positions, or having them on the lips of your probing staff will make all the difference in extracting the information you need to know to improve the experience at your Gym or Fitness Club.
Collect and Collate your Feedback
These last two stages are the hardest part unfortunately. However, they are also the part where the most reward can be reaped from this entire process.
All of your feedback has been flowing into your feedback boxes from various sources. Whether it is members, staff, or a combination of member testimony as written down by staff. You now have several bulky wads of paper.
But bulky wads of paper do not correct a mistake or flaw in your Gym or Fitness Club.
It is important you design a system to break down this feedback into usable data.
One easy way is by making the feedback form structured. Include certain sections that can be easily identified as yourself or a staff member are sorting through hundreds of feedback papers.
By having a format, this can greatly reduce the time taken on trying to parse each individual series of sentences.
Another way could be by eliminating hand-writing all together and having a series of tick-boxes. This has the advantage of not trying to dissect cursive, but also will limit the options that can be fed back on.
Finally, you can have exclusively blank pieces of paper that the customer can free-style write whatever they please on.
This will have advantages, you are more likely to get detailed feedback through this system. But it will also take longer to reduce this into manageable data.
This is a personal decision that must be made based on your staff, your Gym or Fitness Club and your personal preferences.
With that being said, our advice would be to structure your form with questions and then allow boxes for the member or staff to write out the answer. This is a good compromise between both systems.
Act on your Feedback!
The final stage should be unsurprising if you’ve been paying attention. Enact that feedback! Now that your feedback data has been broken down into easily manageable and parsed data. Make the changes.
Have you learnt that the best machine in the gym, the Rear Delt Fly Machine is in constant use between 5pm and 9pm, Monday to Friday. Maybe it is time to consider getting another?
Has the Chest Press been busted by a Lou Ferrigno or Arnold Schwarzenegger wannabe several times in the last few months. Maybe it is time to have a talk with them, or get a more sturdy chest press!
Are an overwhelming amount of people saying the changing room is cold, or their favourite electrolyte drink isn’t being stocked? You know what you must do.
Some of this may sound petty or silly but it is the little changes that can really make a difference and the big changes that will transform your membership satisfaction.
If members see your Gym or Fitness Club shifting based on their advice, it will make an impression that won’t soon be forgotten and it will boost retention in a very satisfying way.
Grow with Us
Now that you are thinking of professional growth and development, it is time to meet a business partner who can help you.
There are many aspects of a Gym or fitness club that need to be worked on. Marketing, software systems, payment, collection, retention strategy. The list can seem daunting, especially when you’ve got to run a Gym or Fitness club, everyday, BAU.
Ashbourne Membership Management might have the solution.
Get in touch for a full demo of our software, our principles on website design or to simply have a conversation about how we can help you and your gym achieve its full potential.