The Importance of Member Feedback
Mary Beth Knight, the owner of Revolution Fitness in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a big proponent of member feedback, whether it is positive or negative. “We want to know what [our members] want and need,” said Knight. “We would spend a lot of extra time and money if we simply tried new programs and classes, or changed existing ones, without asking first!”
As a result, Knight uses multiple tools to gather feedback, such as Facebook, e-mail surveys through Constant Contact and conversation. “We don’t want to give [our members] a reason to leave us, so we check in with them regularly and find out how we are doing,” she explained.
When member feedback is received, there are multiple courses of action Knight has turned to. “The first thing I do when I get to the gym is ask the desk staff person what I missed, what happened, what did members say — good and bad,” said Knight. “We have groomed our members — we ask often and remind them to tell us what they are thinking, what is working, what is not — to tell us what is right and wrong, so they do.”
Knight takes that information and shares it with her staff. “We do share the feedback regularly through memos, e-mails and in-person conversations,” said Knight. “If we hear a number of similar requests, we do it, but we have to make it fit into our business and our budget, and it must be in line with our beliefs — doing what is right for the body, not just trendy programs.”
Lindsey Hagen, the marketing director for Genesis Health Clubs in Kansas, said that Genesis reacts to member feedback in a similar way. The club gathers feedback through multiple avenues, including comment boxes, social media, its website and word-of-mouth.
“The comment cards are looked at an implemented right away by the club manager,” explained Hagen. “They’re really helpful, because sometimes the members notice things that we don’t. We also have executive meetings every other week, and any serious issues are brought up then. This way, any of our members who have complained realize that we really want to help.”
According to Hagen, member feedback has been extremely helpful when it comes to group exercise scheduling. “It’s really important when you get feedback from members about group exercise schedules, especially when you change the schedule,” said Hagen. “We’re more than willing to listen to our members and work with them.”
When Genesis is about to change the group exercise schedule, group exercise coordinators interact one-on-one with members to get feedback directly.
Knight takes a different approach when it comes to feedback on group exercise schedules— she surveys her members through e-mail, asking them questions such as, “Do you feel that the class schedule at Revolution accommodates your schedule?,” and “Are you happy with the variety of classes offered at Revolution?”
“We are releasing two new forms of programming this spring due to our members telling us what they need — both in the gym and out, to continue making progress in their health and well-being,” explained Knight. “Without asking how we could help them we never would have known their needs.”
According to Hagen, it doesn’t matter how you get member feedback. The important thing is that you get it. “The more we show our members that we care, the happier they’re going to be,” she said.
By Rachel Zabonick