Customer Experience

Calling All Fitness Providers & Gyms: A Guide To Keeping Up Awesome CX During the January Onslaught

It’s right around the corner: the mad rush of new-years-resolution-setters who sign up to fitness centers in hopes of starting 2023 on the right foot. While this big influx of business is a great thing, you need to get member experience right if you want your customers to stick around and refer their friends and family. Keeping up awesome CX is a challenge in the best of times, but the mad month of January requires even more preparation. So, does your business have the stamina to run the January mile? Here are some strategies to help you go the distance. 

Make Your First Impression Count 

You only get one chance to make a great first impression. During January, you’ll come across many new faces: new frontline employees who are brought on to help with the influx and of course new customers. It’s critical that your first impressions with both of these groups of people hit the mark. 

New hires with less experience can be prone to dropping the customer service ball. To counter this, make sure they:

  • Are on board with your company mission: what the mission is, why they should be champions of it and what that looks like in practice.

  • Understand your service standards and how to practice them.

  • Feel valued from the get-go. Frontline teams do most of the heavy lifting for customer experience and play a crucial role in member retention. Make them aware of how important their role is, and how much they’re appreciated. 

Your first impressions with your frontline teams are equally as important as your first impression with your new customers. No one wants to be treated as just another member ID. For many people, their first time in a fitness center is the first step of a personal journey plagued with questions like: What will the gym be like? Will the people there be nice? How do you use fitness equipment? The first visit can make or break a customer’s decision to keep coming back or look elsewhere. To make a great first impression with your new members: 

  • Make sure they are aware of your service standards: make it clear what they can expect from you.

  • Have an induction period where new members are shown around, made aware of class timetables and how to use the equipment.

  • Assign customers to specific membership coordinators who can help customers with questions and inform them about referral specials and promotions.

Collect and Share Real-Time Customer Feedback 

How do you know if your customers are having a great fitness experience? How do you know what matters most to your members? You can wait for them to cancel their membership, or you can start collecting and sharing real-time member feedback. There are two critical steps here: 

  1. Collect: We usually recommend that service businesses collect customer feedback as soon as a service has been delivered. However, with the fitness industry, your service is ongoing. This means that you should gather feedback on both a short and long term basis. For best results, send out an automatic survey after the first time a member visits your club to get initial feedback (did you make that great first impression?) as well as every 3 months or so to check-in on a more long term basis. Keep your surveys small to increase member engagement and make your survey results easier to analyze and act on.

  2. Share: Once you’ve got that feedback, find ways to share it with your member-facing staff. This can be at the personal level (ping them when they’ve got an awesome review, start a coaching convo when something went wrong) and at the team level (AskNicely TV set up in the break room anyone?) This serves a couple of purposes. Firstly, it get’s everyone to rally around the most critical success factor - member happiness, and if it suits your team dynamic you can foster a culture of friendly competitiveness. Secondly, it gives folks a clear overview of what they’re doing well and what needs changing to enhance the member experience. 

Give Your Coaches a Coach 

The goalposts of awesome CX are constantly on the move. Your trainers and frontline staff need consistent coaching so they know where to aim. Like making gains in the gym, this is best achieved by coaching for small improvements. 

The thought of making time to coach your frontline teams during the January onslaught seems overwhelming and out-of-reach, but with the right technology, it doesn’t have to be. Take a look at your customer feedback and pay close attention to the trends – what are individual employees, teams and whole branches nailing, and where are they lacking? Make sure you recognize teams for what they’re doing well, and use trends in customer feedback to guide coaching conversations. For example, if you see an employee receiving low NPS scores because of their timeliness, you know they might need a little extra support. 

Use Technology to Personalize the Member Experience 

Gyms are in tight competition with one another. There are only so many ways to make a treadmill seem exciting. Or is there? One easy way to stand out from the crowd is through personalization – it has the power to elevate a customer experience from average to awesome. 

A great CRM system can help keep track of a customer’s personal goals and details to make their fitness experience more meaningful and engaging. Before you know it, customer’s could be celebrating a year of fitness with your club with a personalized video of their progress. One fitness provider, Orangetheory Fitness, uses customer BPM to create a soundtrack to each end of year summary video. CRMs also help frontline teams get to know your members on a personal level, so birthdays and other milestones can be celebrated. 

When times get busy, personalization helps make members feel like they’re not just a number, but an important part of a tight knit community.

Ready to Take On January? 

Make sure your January gains don’t disappear. To keep up awesome customer experience, focus on first impressions, collect and share real-time feedback, coach and recognize your frontline teams and personalize the member experience where you can. 

Want more? Learn how to build a stronger fitness brand by unmuting the frontline here. 

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