Episode 1 of the “There’s Money in Your Member Experience” Webinar Series is in the books and we are thrilled with how it turned out (full video below).
Herb Lipsman, General Manager of the Riverbend Club and The Reserve at Lake Travis and MXMetrics CEO Blair McHaney spent ~40 minutes going through a handful of topics from Herb’s new book, Caring. Herb was kind enough to be our special guest for this new series, and the experiences he shared I see as invaluable to every gym owner.
Herb describes his experience of returning a struggling Health Club to its former position as a hallmark of prestige in the industry by sitting down over a cup of coffee with staff and members and listening to their stories, concerns, and ideas. In gaining the feedback by offering a listening ear, he was able to not only uncover underlying problems, but he earned the trust of members and staff alike. This made them more invested in fixing the issues and therefore motivated them to offer solutions and help. Herb shared his learnings through this process and the steps he took in transforming a health club whose culture was declining into a thriving cultural ecosystem that returned this establishment to its former spot as an industry gold standard.
We’ve put together quick takeaways of highlights of the show, focusing on some of the key learnings. The webinar can also be viewed below in its entirety.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting more content on these themes and sending it to you as part of your webinar registration. We hope the content provides you with insights that can be actionable for every Gym Operator.
Your Best Critiques Come From Your Biggest Fans
Feedback from your members is an invaluable thing to have when trying to create a great Member Experience. It is critical that you are soliciting that feedback, that you are inviting members to give you that feedback - with the idea of bringing that feedback into your operation.
Soliciting feedback from your members is not the same as a review left on a Google Business page or Yelp. When you invite the member to give you feedback, they are more compelled to be a coach and a mentor, which is NOT the case on review sites.
“I don't want to be swamped with negative feedback" is another thing I hear quite often, to which I’ll usually say that “a lot of the negative” feedback contains Constructive suggestions.” When I hear this sentiment, I’m reminded of the notion, “Asking your members for feedback is one thing. Using that feedback to drive a positive outcome is an entirely different thing.”
Try to think about member feedback as a “Revenue Center” for your gym. That’s how we, at my two WORX clubs, have treated feedback for as long as I can remember. As you move forward, seeing feedback through a revenue-colored lens (probably green?) makes taking action feel much easier.
People Don’t Think Like You!
Something that often gets overlooked when running a business is the various paradigms that are swirling around in your orbit.
For context: A paradigm “is a typical example or pattern of something; a model.”
If you have 100 employees, you have 100 paradigms. If there are 1000 members, that's 1000 paradigms. Every person in the world is different in their own way, and it’s on us as business owners to recognize those differences through the lens of the business.
Just because something makes sense to you or doesn't work for you does NOT mean it works for every one of your members. If something isn’t working and you know this through feedback, it’s your responsibility to dig into the feedback and try to understand the driving force behind that feedback. Context is everything.
Let’s say you have an angry member approach your front desk staff and verbally undresses them over a broken machine … while that behavior is completely disrespectful and over the line, you don’t know what is driving that feedback. Maybe that person was having the worst day of their lives and a broken machine pushed them over the edge, which was mentioned by Herb during the webinar.
So, what do you do? You start by calling that member or approaching them the next time they’re in the building. Tell the member that "my staff shared the feedback and mentioned that you seemed very upset. So I wanted to talk with you about what happened so I can make sure to fix the problem for good."
By taking this approach, you’re accomplishing two things.
You're fixing a legitimate problem that was shared by an upset member, which creates a greater Member Experience as you move forward.
You’re showing the member that you truly care by talking to them about the feelings that drove the outburst, which is so much different than only talking about the outburst. This member will appreciate your willingness to understand what drove the negative interaction.
It's definitely not easy to navigate all of the various paradigms that exist, but navigating them by trying to understand them is a great first step. As Herb has said, "a strong culture is built on the back of a great Member Experience."
We’ll have more on this in the coming weeks. For now, dive into the Webinar recording to hear more about it from Blair and Herb.