Why a Service Culture Is Key to Retaining Members

For Gym Operators

Why a Service Culture Is Key to Retaining Members

Establishing a strong culture of service and high standards in your club is one of the most effective ways to improve member retention.

A service culture affects all aspects of your club, from people to programming. Here's how to transform your club culture into one that members appreciate and will never want to leave.

The following is a summarization of an education session from the 2015 IHRSA Convention, produced with full permission from IHRSA. The full-length video is available for purchase at ihrsastore.com.

About the Speaker

Lisa Gorsline is the President and General Manager of the Corpus Christi Athletic Club. She is a well-recognized speaker, and has 24 years of experience in the health and fitness industry.

Why a Service Culture is Key to Retaining Health Club Members

Culture, Service Standards and Retention

What is Culture?

A culture is a learned way of life shared by a group of people – an invisible bond that ties them together. It is related to attitudes and gives individuals identity. Holding events and parties for members creates a culture of fun. This socialization builds relationships, which aid in retention, differentiates your club, and makes it "the place to be."

There are many ways that you can bolster a sense of culture and community in your club. One option is to do special things for your members. These things do not have to be costly but simply demonstrate your appreciation and recognition. Think outside of the box to celebrate your club, your team and your members.

Keep Your Culture Going

Service Standards

Part of creating a service culture is maintaining a consistently high level of service. Establish departmental service standards. Everyone within your company should have minimum standards for their job. A service standard is a basic expectation of your employees in relation to their job roles. Standards can be applied to departments and to job roles.

The standards can be detailed or general. Employees must verify their understanding of their service standards. External and internal implications of the standards address how to treat employees, how to treat each other, and how customers are treated. This will result in streamlined organizational structure and operations.

Club Core Values

Core values are the basic traits and values of your club. They are your club’s beliefs and fundamental driving forces. Members should feel the core values through staff interactions and simply by being in your club. Core values should be clearly defined and considered in each decision. Without defined core values, who you are and what you offer as a fitness facility cannot be clearly demonstrated.

Core values should also play a part in your hiring process. Review applications, conduct phone interviews, and meet with applicants in-person with your core values in mind. This will enhance your ability to select the right staff for your club. The employee training process is crucial. Provide new employees with information reflecting your values, culture, and customer service. Make staff learning and improving fundamental to your ongoing culture.

It is also important to recognize your employees for their successes and milestones. An employee who feels appreciated and connected will be happier, more productive, and more likely to remain with your facility. If you apply these guidelines in your club, you should be able to develop a strong culture of service and core values that your members appreciate.