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Quickly resolving equipment-specific repair problems is an area where many gyms fail to deliver satisfaction to the customer. With member satisfaction being key to retention, it is apparent that this is an area where many gyms may be able to drive significant member retention improvements.
The problems in this area largely stem from both speed of resolution and the perception of that speed. Generally speaking, members understand that equipment failure is inevitable. The mere occurrence of a malfunctioning machine is not enough to drop satisfaction levels significantly. Satisfaction levels only begin to drop when they perceive the equipment is not being fixed in a timely manner.
The problem is made significantly worse when there are a limited amount of suitable alternatives to the machine. A lack of available machines can also contribute to a sense of being overcrowded, which is also shown to be detrimental to satisfaction levels.
The solution to this is keeping staff informed about equipment status and repair schedules, as well as properly training them about how to convey this information to members. A direct line of real-time contact with equipment service providers can also create an environment that fosters operant conditioning where the gym staff begins to learn that certain vendor requests elicit quicker response times and better insight to equipment issues that can be readily used to diffuse tense member situations.
By quickly resolving issues, member loyalty can be developed. Management should coach team members to take responsibility for acting on any complaints. This will also enhance the members’ trust in the staff by eliminating the need to pass problems on to management or technicians.
TARP Worldwide, a research firm that specializes in customer experience, completed a study showing that if you resolve a customer’s complaint satisfactorily, that customer will be 30 percent more loyal than a customer that has had no complaint at all. Studies also indicate that if a customer complaint isn’t quickly resolved, that customer will likely cease any further transactions with your gym.
Rusty Hosea, PMP MBA, is the vice president of FitnessEMS. For more information visit http://www.fitnessems.com/.