How do you help your members feel valued?
Call them by their name? Offer their favorite pre-workout snack to them when they check in? Invite them to come back? How about ask for their feedback on the facility and listen to what they have to say? That last one can be a bit intimidating because it leaves you in a vulnerable position. However, listening is one of the best ways to make someone feel valued.
A member survey provides a great feedback platform. However, the survey is only effective if you listen and take action. The follow up and the follow through is the most important part of the feedback loop. It shows that “we asked, we listened, and we heard you”. Before you design and launch a member survey, be prepared physically, financially, and in some cases, emotionally, to make some changes.
Over the past 14 years, Power Systems Master Coach & owner of Camp Rhino, Julie Johnston has created an incredible #fitfam of members and staff. They grow and thrive as a group each and every year. We asked her how she used member surveys to help grow her business. Come to find out, she took the survey a step further – here is what she had to say.
In the past, I was scared to ask for feedback. I had put everything I had into my fitness business and was worried that possible negative feedback would completely crush my spirits and my motivation. At the beginning I started with limited equipment and zero capital. I knew there were things that needed improving, but I didn’t have the money to improve them. We kept adding equipment and improving the gym on a weekly basis and finally got to a point where I was ready to add a ‘suggestion box.’ Every week I would nervously read the suggestions, hoping there wasn’t any negative feedback.
Fast forward to today, I have changed my mindset from being scared to being excited to hear feedback. I speak one on one with as many members as I can and send out email surveys once a year.
For the one on one talks, I utilize Mike Michalowicz’ process outlined in his book The Pumpkin Plan. He encourages you to make two lists: all of the customers who bring you the most joy and all of the ones who help contribute the most in revenue. The members who end up on both lists are the members you want to bring in for the one on ones. You want to find out what they like about your gym and what they wish your gym had. Find out how you can keep them happy. Then, you take the phrases they used to describe what they like about your gym for your future ads and talking points. You want to attract more members just like them, so find out why they joined your gym! Your next best business idea will probably come from one of your members asking you to add something you don’t already have. Which means, you need to talk to them.
For the email surveys, I like to give members a chance to anonymously ask us for something we don’t have or something they want us to change. Last year, members were very helpful. They asked for wall hooks in the showers, little tables in the showers, and free Wi-Fi so they can use their social media easier while at the gym. These were easy fixes and great ideas!
Don’t let negative feedback ruin your day. First, decide if the feedback is legitimate, and second, remind yourself that everything is in your power to fix. There’s nothing about your business that you can’t improve and it’s better to catch it earlier, rather than later!