Health club owners and operators are facing many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, with member service being near the top of the list. Prioritizing members during club closures may require a new—and flexible—strategy. Maintaining member communications is key, but in an unprecedented situation, what does good member service even look like?
To find out, we asked five fitness industry leaders from four countries to share how health clubs should adapt their approach to member service during the coronavirus pandemic. They told us that how, when, and where you communicate with your members must change. As you adapt to these changes, you’ll want to ensure the level of service your members are used to, even while your doors are closed.
Here are some of their best practices:
1. Start with Your Staff
“You cannot serve your members if you don’t serve your staff,” says Scott Gillespie, founder & president of The Saco Sport & Fitness Foundation for Kids. Taking care of your staff and building them up during this time is crucial to allow them to provide good member service, he says.
2. It’s about Communication
Your usual communication strategy should be reevaluated during this time. You want to keep your staff and members well-informed, but not overwhelmed.
“Good customer service now is about being really clear and not trying to push too much in one go,” says Paul Bedford, research director at Retention Guru. Bedford also suggests being routine with your communication.
3. Approach Members with Understanding
Be understanding of your members’ situations.
“You may have every natural inclination to stick to your cancellation policy that’s in your membership contract, but forget it,” says Luke Carlson, CEO of Discover Strength. “We have to focus on the relationship now and we’ll figure out the commodity later.”
4. Look to the Future
“If you do the right things at this moment, you’ll get much more loyal members,” says José Teixeira, head of customer experience for SC Fitness in Portugal.
He recommends thinking of how you want your members to remember you during this time. Communicate with the perception of your future members in mind.