Now is the time to take a step back, take a look at your facility and make sure you are providing your membership the very experience you promised them.
“Good morning everybody! Rise and shine….……currently it is 80 degrees outside, and we are set to break an
all-time high today.
Stay indoors where it’s cool and enjoy the day. “
Its 5:00 am and there is a line of members waiting at the door to begin their morning work outs. Is your facility ready for these conditions?
Many operators already have in place “best practices” and “standard operating procedures”, but to no fault of their own, these practices and routine items get lost in the shuffle because of budget concerns, staff turnover or any of the many other items that come with operating a multi-million dollar business. Maintaining your buildings systems becomes a low priority.
Your facility has many moving parts that make sure your members experience is the very best it can be. Members don’t see the mechanical units on the roof, the pumps that operate your pools or the laundry equipment that are responsible for assuring they can enjoy their visit. As soon as these items fail they become disenchanted and upset. Your members will be the first to voice to you (and your social media accounts) how poor your property is and what a miserable experience they had.
Planning ahead for issues that affect membership experience requires budgeting, minor planning and consistent follow through. Doing so will prevent a social network overload, full of membership complaints, leading to attrition and revenue loss.
Dust off your standard operating procedures manuals, walk your facility and make sure you have everything in operational order. We are proceeding into quarter two, so now is the perfect time to focus on retention and not attrition.
Over the next couple of weeks NNL-Architecture will provide 5 simple areas that require minimal time to review and can help you avoid a poor experience for your membership. While there are many areas in your facility that require your attention, we will focus on some of the more common areas with high exposure to your membership base. The areas we will be focusing on are:
Base Building Systems ::
This is your first line of defense between retention and attrition. Your base building systems are the equipment that is used daily to maintain your interior environment. Examples are your heating and cooling systems, plumbing, water heaters and storage tanks. Making sure you have a routine maintenance program in place, whether managed in house or outsourced, for these systems will help you stay on top of all items in your facility.
If you are leasing your facility, most likely by the terms of your lease, you are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the base building systems. You may be obligated to follow a routine maintenance program on all equipment. If you own your facility, best practices call for maintenance of these assets.
It is understood that budgets may be tight and maintenance is one of the first areas to be cut when looking at your bottom line. Providing a check list to your general manager and their maintenance staff and requiring a mandatory “start of shift” full building walkthrough, will help avoid any surprises and help maintain budget.
For better or worse, your members are your first line of defense. They interact with the facility with a different set of eyes. They notice things that inevitably are taken for granted by the daily staff. While we should be seeing issues ahead of any member comments, having a process where members can convey a concern or issue with floor staff or front desk staff can help assure items are addressed before they become problems.
Some of the key base systems that should be reviewed are:
Program Area Equipment ::
Injuries experienced on the cardio and fitness / strength floors can be tracked to three key items; members not being trained on the use of the equipment, lack of supervision or faulty equipment. Training and supervision is always high on an operators list of priorities to provide a safe environment. Equally, important is assuring the equipment is safe and operational.
Your staff should be trained on the decommissioning of equipment. Having highly trained staff or a third-party maintenance team on contract to perform routine maintenance checks on all fitness, cardio and strength equipment is a crucial risk item. Equipment should be inspected daily. If the equipment is found to have any type of damage or is inoperable that equipment unit should be placed out of order and removed from member use immediately.
Assuring all equipment is operable and safe will insure your members will have a memorable experience. Implementing a safety walkthrough will reduce high risk issues and will help save costs in the long run.
Locker rooms ::
Being one of the highest used spaces in your facility, the locker room also comes with its own list of issues. Poor air quality, water temperature issues at your showers, lack of towels… the list goes on. Avoiding issues in the locker room starts with supervision.
Having a locker room attendant will help avoid many issues from escalating. Like housekeeping, this team member is one of your key staff. They interact with members daily and are in many case the first sounding board for an upset member.
Ensuring that staff have a clear understanding of the expectations for the locker room operation and an even clearer understanding of processes and procedures for addressing issues in the locker room will help provide an exceptional experience for membership.
Adhering to standards of operations and by implementing a routine walk through with a detailed check list will increase members satisfaction and enhance their experience at your facility. In the next weeks article, we will discuss reviewing your Ancillary Equipment and your Housekeeping teams. Both these areas, like your base building, program area equipment and locker rooms, are equally important to your memberships experience and your success.
As operators, your goal is to make a profit. If membership experience is poor, attrition issues and loss in profit will occur. Providing that next best treadmill, that next best cross fit program or the next best spa amenity is only as strong as supporting the facility that houses them. Planning ahead will help you stay ahead of facility issues and will help elevate membership experiences, in turn helping retention.
NNL-Architecture can help you prepare and implement these best practices within your organization. Contact us with any questions you may have or for any help you may need. We look forward to talking with you.
Please contact NNL-Architecture for a free downloadable facility check list that you and your staff can use to perform a full walk of your facility.
This list addresses all the areas in this article and will help you keep an eye on areas that often get over looked and will help you stay on top of areas that need a little help.
Contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eduardo D. Lucero, aia
As principal and owner of