The 360° Member Experience

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Allow me to provide you with a different perspective on the overall club experience and how it relates to member engagement and retention… here is some Q & A on how you can customize your club’s atmosphere to create a member experience that will not only keep them coming back, but keep them inviting their friends for years to come.

What is the pulse of your club? 

You might not notice because you walk in and out of your club every day; however, the next time you walk into the front door ask yourself, “If this was my first time in here, would I want to come back?” Literally, what does it feel like when you walk in? Does it appeal to four of the five senses? Consider things like this:

  • Sight: Is your overall look – clean, modern, and professional? Or, kitschy, dated, and laid-back?
  • Touch: Is the air cool and comfortable? Or, hot and stuffy?
  • Smell: Is there a smell? Is it pleasant?
  • Sound: Is there loud music and weights clangin’n’bangin’? Or, is there soft music that matches the hum of the treadmills?

These four senses are stimulated even before the member or prospect can be greeted; therefore, it is a good idea to consider these points. Ask yourself these questions as you walk into each section of your club from the front door, to the weight room, to the locker room, etc. (You might decide that you want certain areas of the  club to have a different feel than others.) If so, decide what is best and see if your ideas match your reality.

How does your staff interact with members vs. guests? 

Do you AND your staff get just as excited to greet guests as regulars? Speaking of regulars, how do you greet them, by first name or last? Dale Carnegie speaks to this point specifically in his book How To Win Friends & Influence People.

Carnegie says,“Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

When a membership consultant is hosting a prospective member, do they make it a priority to learn and use their name?

How does your staff look?

Does your staff look like a team or a motley crew? Are they in uniform? Are employees easily distinguished from one department to the next? Are employees easily distinguished from management? Do you want them to be – or – would you rather look like one team?

Like a sleek, shiny row of cardio equipment, uniformity within the appearance of the staff will give the same clean and professional impression. Speaking of equipment…

When was the last time you updated equipment?

Wait! I thought we were talking about “atmosphere” here?! In that regard, a treadmill in your gym works the same as the one at the gym across town… or does it? While the birthdate of the equipment in your club might not have the biggest impact on member retention, its function and appearance might. Classic cars can appeal to any age, if they are kept in mint condition. Quality is more important than novelty when it comes to equipment, but if you look at some of your older models and you don’t even want to use it because it looks dirty, clunky, or intimidating; you might want to consider an update.

You also don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a new cardio deck or a new set of free weights. You can make a big impact by just updating some accessories in your club such as handles and upholstery. Adding some shiny new stability balls, kettlebells, and mats can make a updated statement.

Is your club clean throughout? 

I’m not just talking about the front area or locker rooms, I’m talking about the entire facility. I was visiting my parents once and I went to workout with my dad at his gym; a large, well-known chain that shall remain nameless. It was impressive in many ways with multi-levels, a huge cardio deck, multiple sports courts, and group fitness rooms, both indoor and outdoor pools… but I noticed when I was using the leg press that it had a layer of dust 1/4 inch thick. I curled up my lip and immediately thought, “this place needs to get it together”. All of the floor space and equipment should be just as smooth and sparkling as your locker rooms.

Let me be clear in my conclusion; I’m not telling you that there is a right or a wrong answer to any of these questions. I’m simply suggesting that you consider these points and decide what feel you want your club to have. Once you have done that, walk your club and see if it meets the new expectations.




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About Elisabeth Fouts

Elisabeth is the Education & Content Manager for Power Systems. She has served the fitness industry for over 15 years has a wide variety of experience from personal training and group fitness instruction to health club membership sales and fitness management. She joined Team Power Systems as Education Coordinator in 2015 and has since produced and co-authored educational content for live and virtual training sessions both internally for staff training and externally for industry educational organizations across the United States. Elisabeth holds a B.S. in Education & Exercise Science and is a certified fitness instructor with ACE and Les Mills.