In an earlier post, we explained why it’s essential to have an athlete journey map to analyze the reasons athletes choose to join and stay with your community. Today, we’re focusing on one of the most critical touchpoints on your map, your affiliate gym front desk. Beyond your website, this is where first impressions are won or lost. It’s also an important place to deliver a consistent and positive member experience.
To support great first impressions and quality member experiences, affiliates need a documented system for their front desk in the form of a first impressions management program. A documented (and followed) first impression program will lead to more conversions, higher levels of athlete satisfaction and better retention.
Affiliate owners should make their procedural expectations clear by documenting them and including timeliness guidelines (ex: following up on questions or greeting athletes as they walk in). To get you started, here are some of the most important tasks for first impression management:
Supporting and Converting Prospects
People are busy, and new systems can be intimidating and confusing, so leading prospects or trial athletes through signups is a must. Depending on your staffing, this can mean assisting new prospects once they enter your box. Or, this can also include tasks like handling box gym software-automated reminders for follow-ups.
Personal connection is critical for building and maintaining a positive, inclusive community. This starts with a prompt and warm greeting every time someone walks through the door. No matter how busy a staff member is, greeting athletes should be a top priority.
Addressing Concerns and Solving Problems
According to the Harvard Business Review, “companies create loyal customers primarily by helping them solve their problems quickly and easily.” But too often, staff members don’t feel they have the authority to make the decisions needed to provide timely and helpful solutions. Set your affiliate apart by giving your staff the authority to remove obstacles and solve problems for your athletes, even if it means issuing the occasional refund (with guidelines).
Managing the Front Desk and Entry Area
You’ve seen it before; an affiliate gym front desk covered with take-out food boxes, coffee cups, a dying plant, personal items and stacks of papers. When this happens, it’s a first impression killer. Instead, help your staff see the bigger picture and why it’s essential to keep the entry and front desk neat and clean.
By systematizing first impression management at your box, you can ensure interactions are up to your standards. To read more about documenting systems to ensure professionalism and quality, refer to our seven-part Operational Excellence series.
Learn how leading affiliates run their businesses and approach their first impressions staffing.
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