10 Surefire Ways to Build a Five-Star Service Team

Commercial Fitness

10 Surefire Ways to Build a Five-Star Service Team

What can you do when you hear that a member has had a bad customer service experience in your club? The first step is to talk with the staff member who was involved, but you should also determine if there is a bigger issue.

Fortunately, there are actions you can take as a leader to provide the best service possible for your members.

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

Bryan Williams is the owner of B. Williams Enterprise, LLC. He is also a Hospitality Consultant with a Doctorate of Management and Organizational Leadership. He has authored two books related to the customer service industry, and is a recognized speaker on the subject.

10 Surefire Ways to Get a Five-Star Service Team

Providing World Class Service

The fitness industry is focused on people and their wellbeing. If you’re in the fitness business, you’re in the people business. Research shows that one of the major reasons people avoid joining gyms is because they are intimidated. Your customer service team can make the gym experience more welcoming, fun, and accessible.

Your presence should enhance the quality of your team, and your input should improve the customer experience as well as the business as a whole. This applies even if you are not the club owner. Customer service is not just another job. It requires commitment, passion, and an honest love for people.

The key to great customer service is to set clear and precise expectations for your team. Establish high service standards and do not deviate. The Pygmalion effect describes the phenomenon whereby higher expectations result in higher performance. In other words, the more you expect from your team, the more they will deliver. Use this effect to your advantage.

Nurture your team by inquiring about their personal lives, involving them in decision making that impacts them, and by making more eye contact. This conduct conveys that your team is important and you care about them.

Do not tolerate mediocrity as it can become the standard and impede your ability to deliver five-star customer service to members. Encourage an environment of feedback and ask your team to do the same. Provide feedback and hold your team accountable for their actions.

Supporting the Company Culture

Members of your staff will likely be at different phases of engagement with your club's culture, but the goal is to have every one of them practicing it.

The phases of cultural engagement include:

  • Hearing it. These are the people who are aware of the mission and the culture of the company, but are inactive and uninvolved.
  • Believing it. In this phase, their attitudes begin to change and they get more involved in the culture and the business.
  • Practicing it. The team member becomes fully committed to the company and their role.

Improving Yourself and Your Facility

You want to constantly be improving yourself and your facility to set a good example for your team. Be involved in your mission and engaged in your culture. Focus on excellence rather than past failures. Demonstrate your appreciation for those who work hard. The fastest way to demotivate your best performers is to accept mediocrity from other staff members.

Leading a Five-Star Service Team

Leaders have the ability to recruit people to their cause, so consider your legacy as you make hiring decisions. Challenge your staff and influence them positively. The higher your standards, the more important it is to be influential. Without influence, you are followed only because there is no choice. This is not an effective way to lead.

Do not rely on your job title as the basis of your influence. Being engaged and involved with your team in a nurturing way makes you influential. If you are a strong leader who enforces high standards, people will follow you because of your reputation. Focus on staff development, being a mentor, and investing in people.

Feedback is important, whether it is constructive, positive, or negative. Constructive feedback should include standards for reference. These standards within your organization remove subjectivity. Performance gaps between actions and standards should be addressed immediately. Discuss the implication of the gap between standards and conduct with your staff members so they understand why their performance is important.

10 Key Steps to Effective Leadership

As you consider your leadership style, strive to achieve each of these ten steps to get better performance from your team members:

  • Keep your standards of service high.
  • Maintain high expectations of your team members.
  • Make sure that each person on the team knows they play a critical role in delivering a positive service experience.
  • Never tolerate less than 100 percent effort.
  • Discuss excellence every day.
  • Reward excellent performance regularly.
  • Ensure the purpose of a role is communicated clearly during the onboarding process.
  • Focus on purpose and the functions will come easily.
  • Continuously invest in employee development.
  • Work directly with team members when needed.

If you follow these steps, you will have a team that respects you, follows your company's culture, and prides themselves on providing excellent customer service.