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Business lessons from the gym

As long as you are willing to look, there are business lessons to be learned from many places. A local gym club has unfortunately provided numerous examples of how to alienate members.

image source: 123rf.com

So here are some of their mistakes that we can learn from:

  • send out quarterly invoices at seemingly random times and vary the means of delivery (snail mail or via staff to members)
  • never answer the phone and wait for at least 3 messages before returning any calls
  • ask for a deposit for the following year then question why members pay that much less in the first invoice of the year – either admit it is an extra fee or understand that a deposit is deducted from the main invoice
  • don’t answer emails
  • if you do answer emails (and it’s taken over two years for this to happen in our case) do not put your name at the end of the email, just use a signature with the club name and address
  • give out dates of major events (like the end of year performance) via wall posters 2 weeks beforehand – notices, emails and advance notice are overrated, surely?
  • claim to leave multiple messages, but not speak to member when at the club each week, as justification for not communicating important information. If nothing else, maybe it was worth checking if the correct phone number was being used (as no messages were ever received by us)

I have heard people praise the location and facilities but only ever criticise the organisation itself. It is a pity to see people travel further than necessary because they want a basic level of customer service.

Of course, that is the key lesson from all the mistakes above – provide customer service and make things easier for customers.

How much poor or mediocre service will you put up with? Are there situations where it bothers you more than others?

10 Responses to Business lessons from the gym

  • ranjitrgeorge says:

    A humorous but thoughtful post! I completely agree with you. Providing gym facilities is a given thing, but giving prompt and best customer service may be the added X factor.

    • tashword says:

      Glad I gave you a smile ranjitgeorge:)

      I think it shows that anyone can provide the physical services, but a good business will provide more and plan for good customer service and have systems for smooth operations.

  • onlinebusinessgal says:

    Thank-you for sharing this story with us. I cannot imagine a business offering such horrible customer service. If I am unable to answer my business phone, I return the call as soon as possible. I try to answer emails in an hour or less when I am in the office. It is terrible when businesses do not cleary state their fees, billing policy or other financial matters that impact the customer. If this gym’s goal was to provide a model for, “How Not to Do Business,” they have been a success!

    • tashword says:

      You’re right about what they have succeeded at – and it’s very sad. Hopefully their example is a good reminder for the rest of us of things to watch out for in our own businesses.

  • meowcow says:

    Their establishment sounds awful! LOL. Well I’m glad you are able to find some humor in it, I assume this because of the way your wrote it – quite cheeky actually. It’s healthy not to take things so seriously. I do agree though, we learn as business people from the businesses we frequent and use. And I am sure that although these pointers seem so simple, it is so easy for any business to overlook them and be spending time and resources at the wrong things to improve on or throw money at unnecessarily. Great perspective and very smart way to put it!

    • tashword says:

      Thanks meowcow 🙂

      We can learn from others’ mistakes – it is a great way to learn in fact as we can then avoid those mistakes completely.

      I was frustrated with this business but decided to make it a positive for myself and my blog readers. And appreciate the new gym so much more because of the poor customer service at the first place.

  • KennyK says:

    Interesting post. My local gym, although not super professional, at least got some of the most important communication aspects right. They also provide a warm welcome and talk to every client. Simple greetings, small talk, really helps. My previous gym was one of those big names, very fancy and expensive, but when I contacted them by e-mail about my subscription and asked about their special offer, I never got a response, not even after two mails. Makes me wonder, either they are lazy or don’t care, but either way I just went to another gym that pays attention to customers.

    • tashword says:

      I’m glad you found a good gym that treats you as a person, Kenny. It’s interesting how often big companies loose sight of people whereas smaller busiensses keep up service because they understand the importance of every customer/client.

      A warm welcome makes you feel good so you associate that gym (or whatever) with good feelings and will come back. It is that simple to me.

  • Marry says:

    Thanks for such informative information. This will really help my gym business, and I will work hard to give good customer service!

    The most important job in the gym industry is one that most of you have never heard of in your careers, and probably would never hear about in the magazines or trade shows.

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