Front-Line All Star: Jamie Zukewycz
Jamie Zukewycz, promoted earlier this year to general manager at Mountainside Fitness, has made a great impression on the club’s membership by paying close attention to every member and cultivating relationships with them.
“Jamie is the epitome of a Front-Line All Star for Mountainside,” said Robyn Klawitter, the senior vice president of human resources at Mountainside Fitness. “Not only does she know the majority of our 7,000 members’ names, she makes a concerted effort to address them by name when she sees them.”
She is also the manager of Mountainside’s sales team, and according to Klawitter, the sales team hasn’t missed its goal in several months. But her most valuable contribution has been her ability to provide excellent customer service.
“She frequently interrupts her work just to say hello,” said Klawitter. “Jamie is the kind of employee any company would cherish and desire.”
Learn more about Jamie and her exceptional customer service and dedication to members’ experiences here:
Title: General Manager
Club: Mountainside Fitness
Years of Service at Club: 9 years, 10 months
CS: What is the favorite aspect of your job? What do you love most?
JZ: My favorite thing about my job is every day I feel like I have made a difference in prospects’ and members’ lives. I love that I can help them have a healthier lifestyle in a safe, clean and comfortable environment.
CS: What’s kept you at Mountainside Fitness all this time?
JZ: I love working for Mountainside Fitness because I truly believe in owner Tom Hatten’s dream and the Mountainside Fitness way. We have the very best business principles and I am proud of what we offer. I also appreciate that as a Mountainside Fitness employee, there is room to grow and move up within the company. I was hired for the front desk then quickly moved into sales, and now I am a general manager. I am very happy to be part of this amazing team.
CS: What was your “aha” moment that made you realize you loved this job?
JZ: I remember the very first time I convinced a lady to come in to see our facility over the phone. She was very nervous, had never stepped foot in a gym before, and bluntly told me she was very insecure. I set up an appointment for her to come in during a slow time so I could show her she can feel comfortable at Mountainside Fitness and give her all my undivided attention. When she actually came in to see me and thanked me for getting her in, I knew I absolutely loved my job. She joined that day and signed up for a personal trainer as well. A year later, she had lost 100 pounds and felt amazing.
CS: How does Mountainside Fitness make you feel valued as an employee?
JZ: The owner, Tom, always takes the time to say hello to every employee when he comes into the club. We have so much support and everyone at the corporate level is always available if any employee needs help. The Mountainside Fitness team also puts a lot of effort into making sure every employee feels appreciated by hosting a huge party and award ceremony for all the employees and their spouses to attend. Tom gives out special thanks and awards for numerous jobs well done at the ceremony. The party is always amazing and everyone looks forward to it all year long.
CS: Where do you get your work ethic? How do you keep a positive attitude?
JZ: Growing up, my mother had a very strong work ethic; she showed me that no matter what your job title is, you always work hard to try to be the very best person for that job. I am raising my three children with that same work ethic. It is easy to stay positive at work because I am one of those lucky people who are happy at my job. I am very thankful to be part of such a great team.
CS: What practices or techniques do you use to make strong connections with members? Do you have any tricks you use for remembering members’ names, or significant aspects of their lives?
JZ: During my tours, I ask questions about them and their families to relate their story to them personally. After I get them signed up with Mountainside I always ask them to come say hi to me when they are working out. It makes me extremely happy when a member is excited to tell me about their weekend or ask me about mine. Having a friendly relationship with members gives the gym more of a family environment.
CS: What’s the most challenging aspect of your job, and how do you strive to overcome that challenge?
JZ: As much as I try, I cannot always make everyone happy. My goal is to give the very best customer service I can so when they leave they have nothing bad to say about how I personally handled the situation. I want them to feel like I did everything I could to help.
CS: What best practice tips can you share that would be beneficial to professionals in a similar role at other clubs?
JZ: Recently in one of our sales trainings, the chief operations officer, Mario Arce, said something I think is simple and genius: “Your problem is now my problem.” I love using this idea for all customer or employee issues that come my way. It shows such empathy to say, “I understand your problem and I will take it as my own to help solve it.”
CS: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made, and what did you learn from it?
JZ: I have learned the hard way lack of communication can seriously ruin your sleep. I have found that having what seems like an uncomfortable or difficult conversation is better than not having it. In my experience, when I feel like things are not clear, or have been misinterpreted, it is best to be brave and ask for clarification. Trust me, you will sleep better without the worry of miscommunication on your brain.
CS: What’s one of the best ideas you’ve ever had that improved the member or customer experience?
JZ: I can say the best idea I have used to help improve members’ experience is to just be there for them. My door is always open and I am never too busy. If they want to chit chat, complain, cry or laugh, I am there.
CS: What’s your funniest member story?
JZ: My funniest member story is a classic. I was exercising on my day off and decided to finish up with cardio. I was tired but forced myself to just casually walk on the treadmill for twenty minutes. One of our members came onto the cardio floor so I smiled and waved and of course I stepped off the treadmill, fell, and flew backwards, slamming into the wall. It was ridiculous! After he came to my rescue, we were crying, cracking up.
CS: What’s the best gift from a member you’ve ever received?
JZ: The best gift I have received from a member is lunch that turned into a ring. About nine years ago I was in hurry to get to work so I decided to grab a can of soup for my lunch on my way out. That day this amazing member named Andrew came up to my desk to say hi and visit with me for a minute about my morning. He saw my soup and made fun of how unhealthy and gross my lunch looked. I teased him that if he cared so much to go get me a healthier and more delicious lunch. 30 minutes later he came back with a huge grilled chicken salad and asked me for my phone number. We fell in love right away and last month, celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary.