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What Service Means for Premium Low-Cost Clubs

Panelists, from left, Nick Coutts, Franck Hedin and Martin SeiboldExcelling in customer service has long been considered essential for the membership-based health club industry. What constitutes excellent service, however, varies depending on whether the clubs are budget, mid-market, or high end.

Having worked as CEO of both high end and premium budget clubs, Nick Coutts has a unique perspective on how to define and deliver the kind of service his members expect. Coutts, CEO of Fitness Hut in Portugal, shared his insights in a CEO panel discussion at the IHRSA European Congress.

“We don’t have a reception desk,” Coutts said of Fitness Hut. “People join online, so it really isn’t necessary.”

Coutts noted that the clubs have a “gym service” person on at all times. The role of this individual is to gently cajole people to step away from their individual workouts away to take 10-minute classes.

“Their role is to make people feel connected. That’s very important,” Coutts said. 

Noting that Fitness Hut is a premium budget brand, Coutts said that they offer personal training services.

“We want to be disruptive in this space,” he said. “We have a big gym with lots of ‘toys’ for the trainers to use with their clients. Both the trainers and members appreciate this.”

Coutts noted that Fitness Hut takes very little revenue from trainers.

“We want to attract the best personal trainers. When they know they can do well financially, they want to work for us.”

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