B: Karen Perlmutter

Well, at least not until you gather all the facts.

Ninety-nine percent of individuals I talk with each day talk about training their staff to implement better service standards – inevitably because they want their members to have a better “member experience” in their facilities. Of course, we all want to ensure our members are happy. But could you be focusing too much on the trees and not enough on the forest? In other words, in-person interactions may be more important to your members, but their experience with you starts from the first click on your website, and doesn’t end until your member cancels their membership. (Maybe not even then.)

Let me explain.

Members interact with several service “touch points” from your club, starting from discovery (which could be online) to in-person club visits, where the parking lot can affect a potential customer’s experience. Yes, the parking lot! In fact as our expert Blair McHaney explains in Smart Fitness’ Member Experience Course, your client begins formulating an opinion about you and your service from the very first interaction with you. Was your website user-friendly? Were they able to find your location easily? Was the parking lot too small? Did a member witness your employees parking close to the front door while they were forced to park far away?

The devil is in the details and as our Member Experience course explains, your customer touch points are everywhere. Arguably, these non-human interactions with your club are just as important as in-person interactions. The cumulative data a member sees, hears, smells and (potentially) tastes all reinforce an opinion they are formulating about your club and your services.

It’s easy to blame a bad member experience on poor human interaction. That’s not to say it doesn’t weigh significantly on a member if they aren’t treated respectfully and with their “expected” level of service from your staff. (And, as Blair explains, there’s a danger in being satisfied with an “expected” level of service.) However, maybe it’s time to pay attention to the entire spectrum of the member experience, starting with taking a blind tour of your club starting from searching for your club online all the way to exiting the parking lot. Look at the details, see what brand new eyes see and then decide where you may be missing the mark.

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