13 Best Practices to Enhance Your Club’s Customer Experience

The benefits of delivering a great customer experience include loyal, satisfied customers, better word-of-mouth marketing, positive reviews, and recommendations.

Jarod Cogswell, co-creator of Spartan DEKA and senior director of Spartan, contributed to this article.

Customer experience is the overall perception of your customers based on the touchpoints through their journey with your company. It includes every interaction your members and guests have with your brand.

A positive customer experience can add to your bottom line while the consequences of a bad customer experience are costly. A PwC study found that 32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they love after just one bad experience.

Read on for customer experience best practices and explore additional IHRSA resources to learn more.

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

Key Elements to Delivering a Consistently Great Consumer Experience

There are five key elements that we believe are critically important to ensure that consumers and members not only have great experiences in our clubs but that these expectations are delivered time and time again.

  1. Concentrate on the Customer Journey

  2. Focus on Your Employees

  3. Create Fun Experiences

  4. Measure Your Results

  5. Don’t Overlook the Basics

One bad experience—especially amidst the social media era—can lead to an incalculable loss of consumers or members and reduce new member joins. This is why it is so important to ensure a quality consumer experience right from the get go.

Staff training, motivation, and creating a fun environment are the ingredients needed to ensure consumer experiences are top notch. Ultimately, focusing on the consumer’s needs and, of course, measuring the results are key to delivering quality experiences.

Customer Experience Best Practice Guidelines Listing Image Column Width

Concentrate on the Customer Journey

1. Map out your full customer journey and the various touchpoints along the way.

2. A warm welcome and a fond farewell. Provide each customer with a great first impression by smiling and greeting them by name when possible. Remember to also greet customers when they exit the facility and make eye contact with anyone within five feet.

3. Constantly identify, evaluate, and remove pain points for your customers.

Focus on Your Employees

4. Create an ethos of remarkable hospitality, service, and care with your employees first. If the employees feel it from their employer, they will better understand how to execute the expectations with customers.

5. Make sure employees are visible and present well to customers and colleagues. The most important daily task is evaluating the environment and communicating with customers and employees. Train all employees on how to walk the floor and ask customers for feedback.

6. Reward employees for caring for customers and providing a personalized experience. Team recognition is critically important.

7. Communicate with your team daily in a brief huddle (5-7 minutes) and review daily service initiatives, KPIs, highlighted programs, operational issues, and successes.

Create Fun Experiences

8. Gamify and celebrate wellness, and give your customers something to train for with challenges, programs, competitions, and events that measure progress and improvement. This improves exercise adherence, motivation, customer retention, and validates the training that you provide. Competing with others or competing with their own personal statistics is motivating.

9. Introduce customers to each other and to other staff members to create relationships and potentially lifelong friendships.

Measure Your Results

10. Ask for customer feedback regularly through multiple mediums, such as surveys, an online suggestion box, on-site suggestion boxes, and in person.

11. Measure customer satisfaction with an agreed upon metric, then review progress regularly with all employees.

Customer Experience Best Practice Guidelines Column Width

Don’t Overlook the Basics

12. Develop a robust system for facility cleanliness and equipment maintenance. Aim to be the cleanest facility possible. It's every employee’s job to ensure your facility is clean, organized, and operational. Cleanliness is a differentiator and increases the customer’s perception of value.

13. Follow an appropriate exercise pre-screening process that is relevant to your customer base, exercise modalities, and national laws and guidelines. Ensure your pre-screening process is at least as comprehensive as universally accepted models—i.e., PAR-Q or Client Intake Form.

More best practice guidelines are available here. For more resources on how to improve your facility’s customer experience, visit the links below.

Additional Customer Experience Resources for Fitness Professionals

Member Experience Training in the Post-COVID Era: This on-demand class by Chris Stevenson and Marisa Hoff discusses:

  • how to build a case for a great member experience using data;

  • why customer experience is so important post-COVID; and

  • key areas of the customer experience.

You’ll leave with tangible tips and tools that you can immediately implement to start improving your member experience.

Creating the Member Experience: (Member discount; Free to Premium, Standard, Studio, and Developer Members!) This on demand class by Amy Williams discusses:

  • what “member experience” means in your facility and how to adapt to new demands from members;

  • how to create a brand framework to support the customer experience;

  • integrating your member experience into staff training and onboarding; and

  • being consistent, yet resilient in a changing market.

Simple Steps to Improve the Member Experience: In this CBI article, Chris Stevenson and Marisa Hoff discuss five ways to improve the member experience at your health club or studio.

Make Customer Experience Part of Your Gym’s Business Plan: In this IHRSA article, Luke Carlson recommends using technology and staff training tools to create experiences that fit your vision and your business model.

Related Articles & Publications

Author avatar


This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.