10 Best Practices on Using Customer Reviews to Improve Your Club

Learning what your members think about your club or studio—and making positive changes based on their feedback—can help you improve the customer experience and increase satisfaction rates.

Jenny Hymer, vice president of customer success at MXMetrics, contributed to this article.

Ken Blanchard, Ph.D., business consultant and author of The One Minute Manager and other bestselling business books, often cited an expression from his colleague Rick Tate: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Rick and Ken would explain this using sports metaphors. Can you imagine high-performance athletes training for the Olympics without anyone telling them how fast they were running or how well they were landing their triple axels?

Just as athletes use regular feedback to achieve their goals and develop their potential, customer feedback is essential for health clubs and studios to deliver the best possible product and build relationships with their members and guests. And, when it comes to feedback, Ken stresses that the more timely the feedback and the more regularly it is collected and acted on, the more effective it is.

High-quality customer feedback is critical to improving retention rates and improving word-of-mouth marketing. Customer feedback can take many forms and this article details how to collect it and use it.

This article is one in a series of 28 Best Practice Guidelines for Operating a Fitness Facility.

We have broken up these guidelines into three categories to help you easily navigate through your customer review to-dos.

  1. Collect Feedback From Multiple Sources

  2. Coach Your Employees

  3. Track and Report on the Feedback You Receive

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Learning From Customer Feedback and Applying it to Your Club

There is a lot you can learn from customer reviews and feedback. What do your members and customers love about your club or studio and what don’t they like? Paying attention to feedback can give you a full picture of your customers expectations and their experiences at your gym. It can help you do more of the good and less of the bad.

Customer feedback is also a good way to connect with your customers and build trust. If your customers see that you engage with their comments and use them to improve your gym, they can feel confident that you care about their experience and value their business.

Collect Feedback From Multiple Sources

1. Monitor widely used third-party customer review websites in your geographic area—i.e., Yelp, BBB, Google, Facebook—and respond to all feedback as timely as possible.

2. Consider a Net Promoter Score (NPS) software that integrates with your billing software to regularly solicit customer feedback across all customer touchpoints.

3. Provide multiple channels for customer feedback based on size and scope of your business, including automated, on your website, on-site, solicited (email blasts), and feedback given directly to employees.

4. Establish a customer complaint process that is clearly explained to all customers and employees. Consider your response timing, appropriate privacy, escalation process, and resolution.

5. Set the expectation—especially with new customers—that you welcome their feedback in any form and use it for evaluation and action.

Coach Your Employees

6. Train all employees on how to handle customer feedback—both positive and negative—by providing tools and regular education on your facility’s process.

7. Use positive feedback for building employee morale and for marketing purposes.

8. Over-communicate your gratitude to both customers and employees. Happy employees create happy interactions with customers, which leads to customer loyalty and greater feedback.

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Track and Report on Feedback

9. Track the actions you take along with details on the feedback, including any expenses incurred in making the change. This is a very powerful tool for your leadership team to review. Share the changes and innovations with the rest of your employees and your customers. Customers love hearing about how their feedback led to positive change.

10. Make customer experience data transparent and available to your team. It should be part of meetings where goals and KPIs are established and where accountability is created.

This article is part of the 28 Best Practice Guidelines for Operating a Fitness Facility series, where we’ll cover topics like fitness inclusion, emergency preparedness, group fitness, and more in upcoming articles.

Additional Customer Review Resources for Fitness Professionals

Health Clubs Use ‘Net Promoter Score’ to Improve Member Experience: This article introduces the Net Promoter Score and gives examples of how NPS is being used in fitness facilities.

4 Ways to Solicit Health Club Member Feedback: This article gives a high-level overview of how one health club collects thoughts and feedback from its members.

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This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.