I’ve been member to many a gym during my 24 year tenure on this earth. For me, the experience of signing up at a new gym can be equated with that of a new school semester. I buy my new workout clothes, create my workout program, create my meal plan and have all my back to gym tools ready. Yet, as I begin my speed dating with the local gyms to find the best fit, I quickly find soon thereafter why I resent the process.
We’ve evolved into a socially connected world through many mediums and it is the enveloped human element that molds our experiences; how we convey, connect, and care for a product and/or company.
Let’s go with an example, one you can possibly relate to. We have two characters and a gym; Bernie the gym salesman, a potential new member Colan, and the gym itself The Body Shop.
Colan walks into the gym, curious of what The Body Shop has to offer. Inside, Colan meets Bernie, a “Fitness Manager” who takes it upon himself to give Colan the grand tour of the facility, listening to each word spoken and every question asked to make sure any concerns/doubts can be combatted and accommodated. Having made a great connection with Bernie, Colan leaves with exuding confidence not just about The Body Shop, but about his decision to join a gym and become part of a culture. Throughout the week, Colan receives multiple follow-up phone calls & e-mails from Bernie offering his time, thoughts, and personal attention.
Colan decides The Body Shop is the best fit for him but soon after joining, he notices the attention he once had disappeared after the dotted line was signed. The once communicatively elaborate Bernie no longer checks on Colan. The once attentively Bernie no longer offers his time as he did while Colan was in the process of choosing a gym. The support system and culture sold to Colan when he was talking with Bernie evaporated soon after.
Where did that personal attention disappear to and why did it suddenly dwindle from 150% effort to a 10% hello after you signed? What happened to the human element of personal follow-up phone calls, e-mails, and other communications to check up on you?
The more you focus on new clients, the less you focus on existing members. This ultimately leads to a downward spiral of trying to patch holes of a sinking ship while attempting to look like a brand new ride to hopefuls.
Chain gyms need a social reform, applying the same support & attention they offer during the selling phase of potential members to newly signed & veteran members. The magic that originally conveyed the auspicious experience Colan would have, the intimate connection he made with Bernie, and the detailed care for him as a member needs to be upheld and sustained throughout the entirety of a member’s tenure!