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Expectations of the Journey Forward


The quest for discovering the most effective way to serve our members and guests may never be more daunting than in today’s world. COVID-19 has instilled fear, anxiety and panic in the hearts of millions. People now fear social interaction, and fitness clubs are built on socialization. In the past we worked to move members through experiences to build a form of loyalty so they stayed and told others. Our goal was not to just simply meet expectations — it was to exceed them daily.

Today those expectations have changed. Members coming to clubs have expectations of it being clean, and yet they want safety, value for money, a great experience, etc. The list is a mile wide, as they say. So how do we navigate it?

The simplest way is to meet those base expectations every time. No wowing and no surprise. Those will come. The basics are being clean, safe and sanitized, right? Yes and no — those are part of the equation. The other component is effort. How easy are we to do business with? What is the customer’s perception? Do we make them wonder what other gyms are doing?

Think of it like this:

  • Can they find gym wipes easily and readily?
  • Are there sanitizing places spread throughout the gym?
  • Do they have to go into the club to cancel or can they do it online? 
  • Do they have to email, call a few times to get a response, or can they find FAQs and do self-service online? 

To end, I want you to think of four simple yet powerful steps to change the outcomes and start on the path to a better tomorrow:

1. Engineer a better experience. Think like a member and not a fitness pro. 

2. Give the front lines control. Yes, empower them. 

3. Do the basics so well, no one has a reason to talk negatively about you. 

4. Ask for help and guidance if you do not know. It is time for us all to lay down our egos and unite. 

Do not miss out on the lessons we are learning from this pandemic. Be the change you want to see. 

Mark Miller

Mark Miller is the vice president of Merritt Athletic Clubs. For questions on retention, he can be reached at mmiller@merrittclubs.com.

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