Customers, Front and Center

June 3, 2014

By: Hope Osborn

Creating Customer Experience vs. Selling Customer Service

The fitness club market is overwhelmed with selection for the fitness-minded, from the abundance of health clubs to the variety of services. Clients have their pick of hours, locations, types of classes and equipment, cost, and availability of experienced trainers in just about any gym they walk into. Only one service remains unique.

You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied. ~ Jerry Fritz

Remarkable customer service is the one way a fitness club will consistently set itself apart from competitors. Promoting good customer service seems cliché. It is common personnel campaigning and common customer marketing. But today’s common knowledge of customer service boils down to making sure staff is friendly, available, and helpful in selling product.

Today a fitness club succeeds by creating a remarkable customer experience rather than selling good customer service. In successful business Ritz-Carlton’s words, customer experience, “enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.” Developing remarkable customer experience at a fitness club starts with understanding a client’s wishes and needs or, put more simply, why a person is at the gym.

Creating Customer Experience at the Gym

Today’s customer is limited in motivation, accustomed to technological ease, and mindful of exercise options at home or a park. Part of the client’s “unexpressed need” is the ability to start right into their workout, free of discouraging hurdles.

Technology is one of the best assets a gym has to “instill well-being” in offering a Ritz-Carlton kind of remarkable customer experience in meeting this need:

  • Enrollment processing using health club software is fast and easy without the awkwardness of paper or complicated online forms or disgruntled staff using or disgruntled clients completing them. A first impression is still key in developing customer experience.
  • Automatic fund collection in health club software manages a client’s credit card, debit card, or checking account on file empowering staff to focus on enriching the client’s experience with gym services and empowering club members to impulsively join a kick-boxing class or grab a refreshing drink. No one need count change.
  • Check-in with a health club software enabled key fob, key tag, or pin code could be a thoughtless moment for staff and client. Creating a remarkable customer experience is staff using that moment to look the client in the eye to offer a friendly, personal greeting.
  • A gym app to check on H.I.I.T. class schedules, schedule a time with a personal trainer, or update their account information meets a distracted client’s real-time needs and with push alerts give them needed motivation to work out and go to the gym.

Technology is just a tool for creating remarkable customer experience in a fitness club. Recognizing useful tools for creating remarkable customer experience comes from first considering the client’s needs.

Attentive staff focused on individual needs delight clients. Clients delighted with experience attract others. Fitness clubs with remarkable customer experience surpass competitors.