Tuesday, September, 25, 2018
Customer Service Challenges Take Many Forms
A few months ago, a video of an irate member destroying the front desk area of a Planet Fitness location went viral. When I saw the video, I just laughed — because it wasn't my club she was trying to dismantle. But what really caught my eye was the staff members who were also visible in the video. They just stood there calmly and watched. What else could they do besides call the police?
Saturday, September, 01, 2018
Four Tips for Helping Employees Exit Gracefully
When a new member signs up at our club, we are careful to go over our cancellation policy. Why do we do this? Because when they join, they don't think they will ever quit. But we know better. The same is true of employees. When someone first comes to work for you, they never think about leaving. But just like any business, turnover comes with the health club territory. How are they going to handle it when it's time to move on to something bigger and potentially better?
Thursday, August, 23, 2018
How the Club Market Continues to Change
A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend who owns a small chain of very successful paint and wallpaper stores in my area. He said, "Even with all of the experience I've gained over the past 20 years, I'd never open an independent paint store in today's market." I was surprised by this comment, as I know he really loves what he does.
Tuesday, June, 19, 2018
11 Design Changes That Might Benefit Our Club
This issue of AB features facilities from all over North America with unique, often spectacular designs. I was recently asked what I would do differently if I could redesign our health club. That question really caused me to take a critical look around.
Wednesday, April, 11, 2018
Stemming Attrition Following Record Sales
A number of factors conspired to send our membership and revenue numbers into steady decline throughout 2016. These included internal financial problems, along with increased competition in our marketplace from a low-price chain — not to mention Zumba, personal training and rock climbing studios. With the help of a consultant, we started doing things differently last year, changing our marketing, service and pricing models rather dramatically.
Tuesday, February, 13, 2018
Business Tips for Your Club’s Personal Training Efforts
As readers of this column know, last year our club revamped our membership structure to better suit the needs of our customers. We also restructured our personal training department.
Tuesday, December, 12, 2017
Advantages of Pushing Club Operations Online
When we first purchased Elevations Health Club, 22 years ago, members would sign in when they arrived at the club on a piece of lined notebook paper. Membership dues were collected at the front desk each month. Not exactly technology-dependent.
Thursday, October, 26, 2017
How a Customer Service Reboot Rescued Our Club
After approximately 18 months of declining membership and revenue, I realized that our club was in serious trouble. As identified in this space last month, we had two big issues: poor customer service (we weren't as good as we used to be) and a seeming invisibility in our marketplace.
Tuesday, October, 03, 2017
Identifying Operational Challenges as an Independent Club
Because I write a column that often focuses on helping club owners and managers become more successful in their own clubs, everyone usually assumes that we have a great club (true) and are wildly successful (not necessarily true).
Tuesday, August, 22, 2017
Building a Brand Around Your Business Image
If you read business books and articles, you're bound to be familiar with "branding" — the idea that consumers can and should immediately recognize your business, its logo and what your business stands for. What's special about your company?
Wednesday, April, 30, 2014
Blog: Does Wearable Fitness Have Legs?
Wearable fitness tracking technology is the future!
Such excitement was so early-2014. We saw articles in The Wall Street Journal that described how corporate CEOs were big users of wearables and how they were competing against each other to see who could sleep better or walk more. BusinessWeek ran a story earlier this year that discussed the possibility — the likelihood? — of wearables putting gyms out of business. The New York Times ran a piece two weeks ago today about how wearables were being used in gyms.
Thursday, June, 27, 2013
Blog: Why Calling 'Obesity' a 'Disease' Is So Troubling
Jerry Seinfeld does a bit during which he discusses topics that make people whisper. Cancer is one of them. "Did you hear about Bill? He has (whispering) cancer."
Monday, May, 20, 2013
Blog: SoulCycle Lawsuit Could Hurt Fitness Industry
The recently filed class-action lawsuit against the indoor cycling chain SoulCycle for allegedly violating California and New York wage laws could have a huge impact on the health and fitness industry. We're fascinated by it and are watching to see how it progresses. The complaint, filed by a former SoulCycle instructor, claims that SoulCycle instructors - who are paid only for the classes they teach - are "required to work above and beyond the time instructing a class." Their duties include training, preparation, communication with customers, meetings, special-event classes and assisting with marketing.
Friday, April, 19, 2013
Blog: After a Sad Week, Count Your Blessings
"This is just like New Orleans."
In the wake of the tragedy in Boston this week, we were reminded of that quote from 2005. It came from one of our health club members and is seared into our brains. And it reminds us never to become the kind of people who would say that. Such a statement colors our opinion of customer service and how we respond to difficult situations.
Wednesday, February, 27, 2013
Blog: 'Low-Price' Doesn't Necessarily Equal 'High-Value'
So, who started putting the words "high value" after "low cost" when describing health clubs that we all know and love (and we hate) as the "low-cost providers"?
Monday, February, 18, 2013
Blog: Calling All Catch-Phrase Professionals!
If there is one area of our business that we know is deficient, it is this - our catch phrases.
They're getting better. Can you guess what we used to call our new member introductory program that provided three workouts with a trainer, a fitness evaluation and a free consultation with a nutritionist? We called it "our new member introductory program that provides three workouts with a trainer, a fitness evaluation and a free consultation with a nutritionist." We were nothing if not descriptive.
Wednesday, April, 13, 2011
Blog: Zumba's Great - Just Not for Us
We're going to come right out and say it, and then go hide behind something sturdy in anticipation of the response.