I inquired at two gyms last week and I had two totally different experiences, which ended up being the deciding factor for which one I chose. Here is what went down.
- Visited their website and signed up for a “free trial”
- Received an email stating just to bring the pass within the next 7 days to use it, and I’ll be good to go.
- The following day I received a phone call from a “Membership Director” who asked me to to make an appointment with him to activate my free trial.
- This is where things went south. I advised him he might have the wrong details, as I received an email suggesting I can come anytime to check it out. He assertively declined saying “No you have to book time with me first.” Sadly, I just didn't know when I was going to be able to go past and check it out.
- The following day, I surprisingly received an email advising me that if I do turn up without making an appointment I will be charged a day-fee. This was the tipping point and turned me right off.
- I never ended up going in. It could have been the best gym ever, but I’ll never know.
- Visited their website and signed up for a ‘free trial’
- Received an email from head office introducing me to the Membership Advisor at the nearest location.
- I was invited to come down to work out anytime (no expiration that I can recall), and report back to him on how it went.
- I went in, worked out, had a great time and then set an appointment for the next day.
- I got a little caught up at work so I missed the appointment, but was welcomed to work out again then meet someone tomorrow.
- The next day, I went in, and they had their bookings mixed up, so I worked out, had a great time and then set an appointment for the next day.
- I went in the following day, and signed up.
Don’t let your processes define your business and it’s marketing. Gym #1 ultimately took it self out of the equation by being so stringent on it’s processes. And to me, with that 'rule' being in place, it represented the brand - which is obviously a factor of it's key marketing messaging.
My perception of the club was instantly tarnished as: deceptive, controlling and overly strict. Why would I want to go somewhere like that everyday?
Admittedly, had I known when I can come in perhaps I wouldn’t have had the experience I did, but when you’re given a “free trial valid for 7 days” you’d hope it means what it says. Why would you want to have to jump through another hoop without even stepping foot in the place yet.
Funny thing is, Gym #2 was extremely apologetic when I did end up seeing them after 3 workouts. They offered me a tour and even another workout if I wanted it, then sat me down and asked me what I thought of the gym and what my goals are.
Final take-away: Listen to your customers, and make them happy. If you said you’ll do something, do it, and adjust protocols accordingly. Don’t make prospects feel like they’re just a cog in the machine. Don't let your processes be the face of your marketing.