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Customer Service: Everything is Negotiable

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Last Saturday, the infamous organization TEDx came here to Gainesville to host a series of TED talks on the University of Florida’s campus. TEDx is a branch of independently organized talks “designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.” If you aren’t familiar with TED: Ideas Worth Sharing, I highly recommend you check out their website and view some of the thousands of videos posted there, full of motivation, insight and humor.

One of the talks this weekend was by a guy named Ken Staab. Ken is an “Ambassador of Hope” for an organization called Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure. Tyler is actually Ken’s nephew, who was diagnosed with the debilitating disease, Dystonia, at a very young age. Hearing of the struggles that the family went through when they found out that there essentially is a cure for dystonia, but there just isn’t enough funding to find what out it is, was heart wrenching.

But Ken didn’t let that stop him; in fact, it only served as motivation. The family developed Tyler’s Hope for a  Dystonia Cure to narrowly funnel all funding into very specific, valuable research devoted to finding a cure for one disease: DYT1 Dystonia. Tyler’s Hope has given out tens of thousands of dollars in research grants to scientists whose passion for finding a cure is undeniable. As a result of those smaller grants to get their research started, the U.S. government has awarded those same scientists over a million dollars to continue and further their work.

All of this is amazing and inspiring, but there was one thing that Ken said that seemed to stick in the minds of most people that attended his talk. When they were going through the exhausting process of raising money, awarding grants and fighting through red tape, he realized a very valuable piece of information: Everything is negotiable. Keep in mind that Tyler’s Hope is a local charity, not a large conglomerate, that has raised these huge amounts of money, is staffed solely by volunteers (meaning that none of the funding goes towards overhead or salaries), and sees 100 percent of the money raised go directly into research for a cure. All because Ken realized that everything is negotiable.

I was going to take that saying and apply it directly to those of us in the health club industry and how we can use it to manage our clubs more effectively, and make our members happier, while doing the same for ourselves. But I think by doing that it would almost devalue that simple idea…that everything is negotiable. We can apply it to our businesses, to our members, to our office relationships. We can also apply it to every facet of our lives, big and small, and see incredible change and incredible results. What are you willing to negotiate on to see your dreams come to life?

You can check out Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure here.

 

Amanda Purser is the Front Desk Manager at Gainesville Health & Fitness. She can be reached at APurser@ghfc.com.

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Rachel Zabonick

Rachel Zabonick is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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