If you have not read the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, I highly recommend downloading or purchasing the book. I make a habit of listening to it on audio at least once a year.
The first time I read the book was in my undergraduate work as a hospitality major. My fascination with the human experience in relationship to customer service has only grown since, and a guiding light for me has been the principles found in Carnegie’s book.
The most important fact, to me, about the fitness industry is that we are in the people-business. What I see too often is a lack of focus on the member once they have joined. I can already imagine the hackles going up on the backs of the health club managers in defense. I know this is top of mind, and there is difference between being interested in the member experience and executing a solid plan to create an environment for the member.
That leads me to providing you with three simple points to reflect on, regarding customer service and reinvigorating your staff to re-prioritize the member experience within your health club.
1. Names, Names, Names … What’s my Name?
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie
Simple, and yet so difficult for many! An easy way to implement this: Ask your front desk staff to make it a goal to remember two to three new people each day. Teach them the art of remembering a person’s name, by repeating it in their mind or making an association. If each of your front desk staff members memorized two new members’ names each day, it would only be a matter of weeks before employees know members’ names consistently.
2. Eye Contact and Verbal Recognition.
Easy, and goes hand in hand with the first one. Look your members in the eye, ask them how their day is going and say their name! I will say, this point works much better when paired with No. 1. “Hi Lindsey, how is your day going” versus “Hi, how is your day going?” The key is personalization.
3. Thank them when Leaving the Facility.
Again, this is very simple, but is often overlooked. Most membership sales happen near the front desk, so if your prospective member is over hearing your front desk person being friendly repeatedly when people are arriving and leaving, it will leave an impression with the person considering joining your club.
This week at your staff meetings, bring these three points with you and request that your employees commit to focusing on these three tactics for at least one week. Monitor their performance and at next week’s meeting, ask for testimonials and stories from their experiences. Friendly competition as to who can remember the most names and stories about the members they better got to know.
As the leader, put your focus on paying attention to the progress and also demonstrating this yourself.
Happy engagement! I hope your members enjoy the elevated experience!
Lindsey Rainwater is an experienced consultant and coach to the fitness and wellness industry. She specializes in business development and leadership. Currently she is working with the Fitmarc Team helping club owners all over the South Central region of the U.S. propel their business forward via group exercise solutions. For more information about Lindsey, follow her @lindseyrainh2o.