Resolving to Serve Members

July 4th, 2012 · No Comments ·

It should be no surprise to hear that the fitness and weight-loss industries are those that profit the most from New Year’s resolutions. According to Scott McConnell of the Ayn Rand Institute, every year, “on average, each American makes 1.8 New Year’s resolutions.”1 And the most common resolutions are “to be more attractive by losing weight, and to be healthier by exercising more and smoking less.”

Why do people make New Year’s resolutions? As McConnell points out, “New Year’s Day is the most active-minded holiday, because it is the one where people evaluate their lives and plan and resolve to take action.” New Year’s resolutions express the moral ambitions of people wanting to achieve their values. They want to do things better and become better people. Unfortunately, people take their resolutions (or moral ambitions) much more seriously on the first day of the year, and then tend to forget them or become less motivated about them as the days and weeks pass.

Most fitness professionals are in the enviable position of not having to make resolutions to lose weight, exercise more and quit smoking on New Year’s Day; you have already achieved those values. You do, nevertheless, make resolutions. And this year, I’d like to suggest that you make two (rounded up from 1.8) that will help Americans stick with theirs. It’s January, and you’ve no doubt spent a great deal of time creating marketing materials to appeal to the hundreds of prospective consumers who will come to your doors looking to stick to their vows to lose weight and get in shape. And when they come through your doors, the likelihood that they will succeed is greatly increased, because you vowed to:

1. Improve customer service. As Stephen Black in his article, “How to Operate an Onsite Hospital Fitness Center (p.30), says, “With billions of dollars being spent on customer service and training, you would think that service would be great everywhere. Wrong. Service is still lousy.” Industry trade shows feature entire seminar tracks devoted to customer service because it’s severely lacking. Black lists nine reasons why customer service in fitness facilities is not only bad, but is continuing to get worse. Take a hard look at these to see if you can identify some of these in your facility, and work to fix them.

2. Put new members on a plan to meet their goals, and then track their progress to ensure they’re met. One of the main reasons inactive individuals who come to your facility don’t remain members is because they fail to get results. It’s up to you to offer more than just a facility. You have to hire well-trained staff who are caring and who have an agenda: to serve members. Don’t let the initial consultation be the last communication staff has with members. Staff should be communicating with members each time they come to your facility, and regular appointments should be set to discuss these members’ programs, measure their progress and encourage them to keep exercising to stay healthy.

Taking care of your members to ensure they succeed in their resolutions is as important as providing a facility for them. This issue features pages of new products for 2003 (p.42) to choose from to keep your facility up-to-date.

There are some innovative ideas to please existing members and to get new members with New Year’s resolutions in your doors. Remember: These new members have made a value commitment to themselves that is bringing them to your facility; it’s now up to you to help them stick to it. Because in the end, as McConnell says, “If people were to apply the value-achievement meaning of New Year’s Day explicitly and consistently 365 days each year, they would be happier.” And if fitness professionals did the same with these two resolutions, they would be much more successful!

Tags: Fitness