Posts tagged Member Experience
How to elevate the customer service at your Fitness Center-a little history on Ms. Lindsey

Lindsey, 17 years old working the front desk

A little walk down memory lane; I started working in Health Club's at the age of 17, my industry adventure began at a private for profit all women's health club in Arvada Colorado, that's a picture of me to the right. I was hired to work part time front desk. At the time there was not a computer to be seen or heard of in the club. The members signed in on a daily sign in sheet and we pulled their "workout card" from the file where all the members workout information was stored in alphabetical order in a large open file drawer. The members were greeted when they walked in the door, we checked them in by hand, pulled their workout card, and when they were done exercising we initialed their card and filed it away for the next time they came in.

My job as front desk was membership tour's for anyone new that came to visit us, and member check in and out. After working there a few months I was promoted to assistant manager, and that entailed closing of membership sales, over seeing daily operations during the times I was scheduled and daily management of the other staff members while working. Looking back on that experience, it was adorable, everything was very simple. We checked members in, helped them monitor their goals and encouraged them; if I remember correctly they got a sparkly heart sticker on their membership card when milestones where reached. I look back at that time and laugh a little, everything was done by hand, created in house with art supplies and smiles and memberships were sold in private offices with tactical 'closing' pitches.

I say all of this and provide you this background to compare and contrast to today's environment within the Health club. Today when I go into my home gym to workout, I punch in my phone number and am on my way. No workout cards, signature or conversations with front desk; I walk in and get down to business. Of course, not every health club chain or private club looks like that, but the monetization that our systems have gone through thanks to technology really frees up staff for other activities.

Technology and systems have streamlined some of the "old school" processes that didn't exist when computers and check in systems were not being used in Health Clubs.

We all appreciate the advances technology has given us, if we were to grade ourselves on customer service, in lieu of some of these advances, I wonder where we would shake out?

Allow me to drill down on that thought.

Back in the day, one might argue it was "harder" for a front desk person to do their job because of the multiple tasks associated with checking someone into the club while also making sure they are welcomed while following procedures that needed to be done.

Fast forward to today, the tasks associated with front desk has diminished due to technology adoptions, so face time and customer service, can be of maximum attention allowing the customer service to be elevated and technology utilized to leverage that connection.

My purpose in bringing this up is this; now that we have adapted and continue to adopt new exciting ways that technology helps us be more efficient and streamlined in our processes, what are we then doing with the extra time this has forded us? Are we going the extra mile to engage with out members? taking the opportunity to be more thoughtful about our connectivity with the members in the facility?

A lot is to be gained from great customer service, people love to feel valued and appreciated, and in my experience, knowing someone's name and a little about their life- goes a long way!

So tell me, Lindsey Rainwater- what exciting ways are you leveraging technology to impact your connectivity with your members?

From the inside out.

External and internal satisfaction.

What are you searching for externally that you could be providing for yourself internally?

One of my favorite topics is the concept of circumstance based living and analyzing how allowing the external frame work of our lives to dictate our internal happiness.  

I know what you are thinking, Lindsey, how does this relate to my fitness business? or operations of my health club? well let me tell you my thoughts on the topic:

Are you a human? then the application is simple and can be applied to the internal framework of not only yourself but your business and employees. 

In my opinion, we have to work on ourselves first and foremost and not look to outside validation, then turn outwardly to be able to help others.  Starting from within allows us to best serve others.  So really, no matter what you do professionally this applies because you are always you!  At work, with friends, with your family etc. 

A few thoughts from my own life to reflect inwardly on a daily basis.  

1. Set your intentions for each day and bring them back into focus throughout the day.  When you have a clear idea in mind of what you want to accomplish and re visit those things regardless of outside distractions you will have a better chance at fulfilling an internal peace of mind vs. getting caught up in the external noise.

2. Learn to quiet your mind.  I have this little trick I do if I feel myself getting out of touch or distracted.  I close my eyes, and count to 5, each breath is one count and I don't let my mind wander, I focus on one thing, usually the color white as I inhale a exhale.  When I open my eyes all the external clutter is much calmer and I am able to move forward clear of mind. 

3. Do something for yourself every day.  I know this sounds so simple, I find most people live in service to others seeking validation through their responses vs. fulfilling your internal needs first.  When in all reality, if you give yourself at least 1/24 hours of the day, you will find the other hours can be spent truly listing and helping. If exercise is your thing that is just for you, make sure you give yourself that hour. For me reading really recharges me, if I spend one hour a day reading, 30 minutes in the morning and 30 at night, I feel far more available to life than I do when I don't.  Finding something of true value to your core and living that out for one full hour can truly quiet your thinking.

I love that in our industry, we are all after the same goal... healthy living.  Whether we provide the environment to get fit,  teach others to eat better, advise, listen, counsel or protrey, the intention of our industry is to motivate people to take care of themselves. So take some time this week to focus on the very things we all teach, but apply them inwardly to yourself. 

Please tell me, Lindsey Rainwater how you stay balanced yourself and then provide that same experience to those you serve. 


Knowledge is power; What exactly does go on when you aren't there?

It's the beginning of a new year! many of us view this as an opportunity to start fresh and analyze our business, life and methods of operation so we do not become redundant year over year.  In regards to business operations, I had something come to mind while visiting a health club today regarding "off peak" hours.

For those of you that don't know, I spent a considerable amount of time in management and leadership roles prior to the role I find myself in today, so I feel when it comes to the subject, I have an exercised opinion to share.

So, off peak hours, those times of day when you close your eyes and pray that the opening supervisor you hired to unlock, lock and manage your enterprise when you are not there will own up the expectations you set out for them.  That they will cary the message to the patrons of your environment when you the operator is not there.  Can you depend on them to do their job when no one is looking? What a weighted and often times scary situation! I am sure you can relate, it's simply not possible for you to be at your club from 5am-10pm, 7 days a week! so you must trust someone else to take care of your people while you sleep... So how do you ensure that the environment does not shift out of your scope of desired wishes when you are not there?

I wanted to share a few different tactics I have used in the past, and then open up the feed to share best practices, especially in the climate of New Years, new members... retention is at an ultimate peak of concern.

1. Communicate your expectations and follow up when you see them not being executed.

Clear, concise operational procedures that are universal is a key to employee success.  They must know what you expect and have a clear understanding of what it looks like to embody it.  Role play with new employees, give them a written check list of opening and closing procedures.  More often times, you know your club like the back of your hand, and we forget that the new employee can't learn simply via osmosis, they must be led to discovery and then followed up with to ensure execution. 

2. Pop-in visits

Stop by when you are not scheduled and do not call ahead to let anyone know you are coming.  Take the 6am class even though you are not 'scheduled' until 9am, you might be amazed at what you learn. It's fairly simple, the best way to see what happens when your not there, stop in when they know you aren't normally there, put on a ball cap and be one with your members, do some on the fly research. If it's beyond you being incognito and everyone knows who you are, have a friend they don't know stop in and report back, you will learn a lot and be armed with useful knowledge to coach to. 

3. lead by example

Practice what you preach; this is so simple, but truly inspiring when done correctly!  If you have asked your employees to leave their cell phones while working, you do the same.  If you have asked for smiles and eye contact upon check in at the front desk, hang out at the front desk and set the tone for how it should look.  If you make it look easy, and inspire while leading, your employees will not have a reason to not follow in line with the tone you set.

Let me know, Lindsey Rainwater what it looks like to manage to your expectations at your Fitness facility!  I love the transparent exchange of industry knowledge.  The more we know, the better we can be!  



Light up your members life! A story of how it's done.

As promised, I wanted to highlight another Fitness Center that I had the opportunity to visit while I was on my most recent site visits in Oklahoma.  

One of my last stops Friday morning before heading back to Denver was a trip to Lighthouse Sport, Fitness and Health of Oklahoma City.  I was warmly welcomed by Lisa Allen, Dean Murphy and Christy Walther. Impressed is not a large enough word to describe my impression of their customer service and membership care! Upon my arrival I realized they were mid Thanksgiving Dinner with their members!  Each year they have a a member social near Thanksgiving, highlighting the holiday and having a pot luck with the members.  Laughter filled the air and many members were there in the lobby socializing and enjoying each other's company.  

I had a few minutes before I sat down with Lisa and Dean, the leadership that I would be meeting with, and I chatted for a few minutes with the front desk gal, Christy Walther.  She lit up like a Christmas tree when I asked her what her members liked most about working out at lighthouse... (Left to right) Lisa Allen, Dean Murphy, Lindsey Rainwater

"Our members are here before I am, ready to go right at 5am, they workout together and sit and have coffee until it's time to workout.  Sometimes they are having so much fun I have to go remind them class is about to start.  This place is home to them, they come in, workout, but also spend time socializing, this is their home away from home.  A lot of them go to classes, some of them have their own workout, but no matter what they have fun doing it and they get to see their friends"

I simply love it when I find stories like this out there!  Not only is Lighthouse providing a place between work and home for their members to call "their gym", but they feel connected.  Christy knows their names, and they know hers, they belong!  

I share this storie with you for a few reasons, it is so crucial that in our fitness environments we are connecting with people, and going the extra mile to elevate the member experience.  It's equally as crucial to know it's happening out there, share best practices and look at your own environment for ways to improve.  

At the end of the day, people want to connect with people! we all want to be a part of something, and when you gain new members or are challenged with retaining the ones you have, put away the reports and graphs, and walk your fitness floor.  Be with your people, retain them because they know you, attract them because you have an environment they want to be a part of.

While I was there we snapped the "thumbs up" picture above, our smiles and laughter were a bi-product of the environment they were creating!  A fun one, that made me want to stay for a workout.  

As we enter into this holiday season and continue to work on our plans for next year, I would ask you to look at how you are currently engaging your members and think of ways to go the extra mile.  We all just want to "belong", don't we?

I would love to hear your thoughts, tell me, Lindsey Rainwater, what are some of the ways your members engage in your fitness environment?


When January 1st comes, will you be ready? Captivate your fitness audience.

I was thinking this morning a lot about the fitness industry's PUSH at the first of January in alignment with the annual ritual of most people setting a new year's resolutions.

I talk to a lot of health club professionals, and this is a HOT topic! especially this time of year, owners, managers and leaders in our industry are shifting their focus to their "new year plan".  

Regardless of your business model within the Fitness industry it's no secret that there is a surge of new members, traffic and check in's to your facility upon that first official Monday morning the first week of January.  The puzzling fact many leaders always find themselves left with is, how am I going to get them to stay past March.  While it is very important to consider providing a meaningful experience for your new members, don't forget about your faithful 5am crew that's been with you all year.  

So, in this ever changing climate of smart phone technology, facebook check in's, content marketing and on and on, What is your plan to bring new members in the door this January?  How do you plan on providing an experience that will captivate new members, re energize and continue to wow your existing members, and grow your membership base past March when the 90 day "I'll give it a try this year" new member buzz fades away. 

Tell me, Lindsey Rainwater, please comment here and tell me, how do You plan on mixing things up this year to captivate your fitness audience within your fitness environment.