Written by Debbie Beesley.
TRP Retention Coach, Debbie Beesley shares her experiences of working within and being a member of health and fitness clubs to advise how you can engage your staff to empower them to deliver exceptional customer experiences and motivate your members to reach their health and fitness goals.
I visit many centres and clubs during my travels and the experience can vary hugely. They may all have gyms, pools, sports facilities, cafés etc., but not all have a friendly smile and warm welcome.
As a member of a large health club chain, I recently took the decision to cancel my membership.
Despite loving the facilities, I found the atmosphere at the club demotivating.
On one occasion I asked a fitness instructor, who was clearly not busy, for some new exercises as I wanted to try something different and was told I must book in for a gym induction. Another time, I had difficulty swiping in and the receptionists were much too busy chatting amongst themselves to help me.
This was typical and at no point in my membership did I receive any engagement from the team. Conversely, when I visited a club from the same chain in another area of the country, their team could not have been more welcoming and even though the facilities were not as good as my home club, I left feeling I wanted to return next time I’m in town.
With our research showing that members are 40% less likely to cancel if they are spoken to by reception and fitness staff, 40% less likely to cancel if they make friends and 10% less likely to cancel for each goal they report making progress on, we cannot under-estimate the value our teams can bring to the customer experience.
Motivating your team to motivate members will bring about success, not only for the customer, but also for the staff themselves and ultimately your club or centre.
Consider the following;
- Are you clear about your ‘why’ (why your business exists)?
- Do the team know what your organisation is about and where is it going?
- Do they share in this vision?
If I were to walk into your facility today and ask any member of your team what their role is, would they tell me they “book customers in”, “provide information to customers”, “deliver gym inductions”, “do the cleaning”, “run group exercise classes” or “teach swimming”?
Or would they look past the day to day operational tasks to their end goals and say “to help people generate real exercise habits and reach their goals”, “to get people active and keep them active”, “to create an engaging, motivational, inspiring atmosphere that customers want to be a part of” or maybe even quote your company vision statement?
A team that believes in the purpose of their role in the overall ‘reason-for-being’ of your company is much more likely to create an experience that motivates members.
If this isn’t already happening in you club, here’s some changes you can implement that will help you motivate your team to motivate members;
1. Set the Expectation
- Recruit staff that share your vision
- Be crystal clear about the purpose of their role and your ‘why’
- Start staff briefing sessions/meetings by discussing your ‘why’ and link back to it in everything you ask your teams to do
2. Become an Engaging Manager
- Agree clear SMART objectives, that will ultimately help achieve your ‘why’ rather than just focusing on the short-term individual task
- Coach your team to bring out their best
- Recognise and reward, a simple thank you can go a long way! At TRP this is very much a part of our company culture. We have a system of peer-to-peer recognition for those who think their colleagues have gone above and beyond the call of duty. We take ‘nominations’ across the month and read them out in front of everyone in our monthly all-company meetings.
- Encourage ‘stretch’ work to help your team develop new skills and confidence, giving them the opportunity to shine
- Create a graffiti wall and invite your team to share their views and feedback
- Team forums provide a great opportunity for your staff to voice concerns and discuss solutions together. The suggestions which come from the team who will be implementing them are more likely to stick and be successful.
- Introduce a break-time ‘Ideas Café’ for the team to meet around a table and discuss new ideas
4. Lead by Example
- Be visible and be seen practising what you preach!
- Hold regular meetings to report back on goals, priorities/progress and promised actions
- Get back to the floor and spend some time with the team sharing experiences, understanding their challenges first-hand and finding solutions together
- Focus on your ‘why’. Maintain sight of what you are ultimately trying to achieve and keep it at the forefront when you are working with your teams.