You devote so much attention to engaging members with creative programming and innovative facility design. Therefore, it would be a shame for your members to become disengaged before they even get past the front desk. Sadly, this is what can happen when your members get bogged down in a cumbersome check-in process.
“If one of the first touch points a member has with your brand representatives — front desk staff — is a negative, multi-step transactional process, the rest of that member’s visit will be dramatically skewed,” said Noah Hastay, the operations manager at Gainesville Health & Fitness. “We call these interactions ‘withdrawals’ from the emotional bank account. This is mentioned in ‘How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life’ by Michael LeBoeuf.”
Your members will enjoy their workouts less if they are stressed before they even set their bags down. On the other hand, a smooth check-in process can subtly, but greatly, improve your members’ moods. “An efficient check-in process sets the tone for the member’s daily experience,” said Hastay.
The majority of check-in problems found at Gainesville Health & Fitness can be traced back to unexpected member account problems. Anything from overdue payments to inconsistencies in personal information can cause delays at the front desk.
“The main problem area is when a member owes money on their account in which we have to slide them down to another computer to look further into their account and possibly take payments,” said Hastay.
The solution Hastay and his team found was making an entirely separate customer service desk at the club’s entrance. “With 3,000 to 3,500 daily visits at our main center, it is imperative our check-in station is only checking members in, and all other things have to be handled by our guest and member services station,” said Hastay.
Allowing members to manage their memberships through the club’s mobile app is another effective deterrent Gainesville Health & Fitness has found for check-in pileups.
“To reduce these problems, a system in which the member can update and know the status of their membership before they check in through their mobile app should be utilized,” said Hastay. “This would drastically decrease the number of ‘failed’ members before the check-in point.”
Your entire check-in process becomes smoother when you minimize the number of membership issues being addressed at the check-in point.
If you’ve noticed your check-in process is prone to getting backed up, consider creating a separate member services counter. You could also allow members to access their membership information via your mobile app. Your members will be happier for it.