I want to ask you a question. How is your bedside manner? How is your, your company’s, your team’s CUSTOMER SERVICE?
In the fitness industry specifically, I would say most people say 8 out of 10 gyms’ customer service is simply awful! I would love to disagree, but I can’t.
Let me explain.
As mentioned before, I just moved from San Diego back home to a teeny tiny town in SouthEast Texas. After I got settled and after the holidays, I decided it was time to scout out a gym.
Now I am not a big box gym kind of girl. Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with big box gyms (and for most people it’s great, and that’s GREAT!); I just think that when you’re mass produced, some of the time (ok.. a lot of the time), somewhere along the way culture and customer service priorities are replaced with someone caring less about your name and more about how much money you’re going to spend on personal training. But I’m going to save that for another blog post on a different day.. because I honestly have a lot to say about it… 🙂
Ok, back to my story.
I visit 3 gyms that day.
Gym #1: I walk in and there’s a lady behind the front desk.
I stood there for about 30 seconds before she even looked up..
- I got a blank stare when she did finally look up and she didn’t say anything to me at all (seriously); I got an eyebrow lift and a nod like, “what do you want?”
- So I said, “Hi! I just moved to the area and I was hoping for some information.” <smile>
- Her answer.. no joke.. “Well what do you want to know?” (almost in a sarcastic, like, “you’re bothering me” tone)
<insert monkey covering his eyes with his hands emoji here>
Gym #2: Again there’s a lady standing behind the front desk:
- She at least acknowledged my presence but just said, “Hi!” (half smile)
- But then again.. the horrific blank stare and eyebrow lift..
- Again, I say, “HI! Just moved to the neighborhood and I’m looking for a gym!” <smile>
- And AGAIN I get, “Well what do you want to know about?”
Can this be for real?
Neither gym offered me a tour and I had to ASK if I can take a look around. Their response: “Sure!”
Gym #3 was a big box gym and here, surprisingly, they at least smiled and acknowledged me when I walked in the door. They were honestly very friendly and offered me a tour.
During the tour the gal never asked me one question about myself; she just kept giving me the script I know the company gave her. She even told me, not even kidding you, “As you look around, the majority of the people here have never worked out before. That’s why people really like working out here; we’re not intimidating because most of our customers have never really made fitness a priority.”
So, just so you know, I have never had a filter on my face. And I’m pretty sure my wide-eyed stare said enough because I about dropped to the floor when she told me that. I wanted to shake her and scream, “WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT!?!??”
If she had asked me a single question about myself she would have found out that:
- Not only have I lived an active lifestyle since I was 3 years old..
- Worked out consistently in the gym since I was about 18-years old..
- Worked in a gym for the past 5 years before starting my own company..
- But, oh yeah, I own a marketing company SPECIFICALLY for fitness professionals and facilities.
Any one of those facts would have let her know that her normal sales pitch wasn’t going to work on me. But nope, like a lot of gyms, she made it all about her and the company, and nothing about me.
Unacceptable. Three times UNACCEPTABLE!!
PEOPLE! We have GOT to do something about this. And we wonder why the fitness industry has such a bad wrap. I visited three gyms that day and all three were strikes!
Yesterday I spent the entire day at MD Anderson supporting a loved one (if you have no idea what or who MD Anderson is, pray to GOD that you never have to find out). Literally every single door guy/gal, front desk person, valet guy, nurse, doctor, cleaning crew peep, was all smiles and all, “how can I help you?” in the most friendly and genuine tone I’ve ever seen or heard. It honestly made you forget for a very brief second where you were and why you were there.
But then when you think about it, it makes total sense. It’s the PURPOSE of why every single person is there that makes the entire staff on their A-game EVERY SINGLE DAY! They understand the bigger picture. They know that in their particular situation the simple things go a very long way. That a simple smile, full attention and focus on YOU, eye contact, patience and never rushing you or treating you like you’re inconveniencing them can make you just a little more comfortable in an extremely uncomfortable, stressful, life-threatening situation.
I think gyms should be more like cancer centers.
When you really think about it, most people are either working to prevent disease, fight disease, or recover after the fight, and every single person who walks through the gym door should be treated like they’re fighting for their life. Because they are.
Maybe they haven’t worked out before, or maybe they have. Either way, they took the initiative, walked through your door, maybe scared as all heck, and want to work on living a happier, healthier, overall better life.
They are FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES!
So how is your bedside manner? Do you treat people like they’re an inconvenience or do you treat them with genuine care, concern, empathy, and cheer.
I want to petition that we change the world’s view of fitness facilities and anyone in the fitness industry. That we’re not all selfish, self-served, money and popularity-hungry meat heads. That we do genuinely care about helping people get better and live healthier, happier lives.
I’m in. Are you?