Change and Challenge. Part 2
Member services and programs
Buyer’s remorse may be combatted by stepping up services to new members. Clubs can build post-purchase reassurance by offering free personal training or fitness consulting within the first three months of a new membership. After clearing that first hurdle, however, customer service efforts should continue while staff determines member needs and expectations.
In general, many clubs don’t know what the customer really wants, says Frank Napolitano, president of Highpoint Athletic Club, Chalfont, Pa. Clubs must determine the specific needs of members and then begin marketing and selling programs to meet those needs. As Napolitano says, health club members have differing needs, yet clubs sell general memberships. “If you have a leaky faucet, you go to the hardware store and buy what you need. What if the guy at the hardware store sold you a license to buy anything in the store? You don’t want everything in the store — only what you need to fix the faucet.”
Napolitano uses the hardware analogy to explain how health clubs sell people a right to use the club, rather than a specific program. “One member wants to lose weight. Give them the ‘lose weight’ program. Someone else has a different need.” The challenge, he says, is to determine the need.
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