Personal Fitness Professional - Spring 2017 - 10
Melissa Knowles | www.gymhq.club
Robert Linkul l www.bestrongerfitness.com
5 keys to build and
maintain your reputation
Plan your personal training
career... in reverse
Businesses work hard to build a strong reputation. The same effort should be put into maintaining it! Below are five areas to consider on
the path to customer service excellence.
Have a plan
Think through how to deal with the
business's most common issues. While
it's not smart to make a habit of merely
quoting policy to a member, a framework
of policy is needed to serve as a guide
for decision-making. It creates an environment of consistency, and
consistency is easier to scale and replicate, thus enabling a business
to grow. Carefully consider each policy to ensure it makes sense for
the model and isn't simply the fitness industry norm.
Clearly-worded membership agreements
While most states mandate specific language and guidelines for
fitness contracts, it's not a requirement to word agreements in foggy
legalese. Simplify the terms. Strip down the superfluous text. Make it
easier for members to understand.
Have a system
A sure-fire way to botch the handling of a member's account is
poor communication. What was discussed? When? With whom? The
system being used should be simple (or it won't be used) and ideally,
should allow for follow-up and interaction directly within the system.
When it comes to account changes, clearly notating a member's profile is a key first step to ensuring that what was promised, is delivered.
Member history should be accessible to all necessary staff members.
What is measured, is improved
One of the biggest mistakes owners make is simply not knowing
the volume or causes of member issues in their clubs. A good analysis
starts with identifying what should be measured. What is important for
the business? What is the retention goal? How many cancellations are
there each month? What is causing them? Are members able to easily
make contact and get a resolution to their issues in an acceptable
timeframe? Targets should be established, an information collection
protocol developed, and reporting templates produced. From there,
institute a consistent schedule to review, analyze and improve.
Look in the mirror first
Finally, always hold the business's facilities, team and services up
to the light first, before addressing a member's concern. Sometimes
members' reasons for leaving are very valid. Listen to complaints
focused on resolution and improvement. The value that exists in a lost
member is learning how to prevent it from becoming lost members.
When you create a training program for a
client, you start with the culminating event
and then build the program backwards
to where the client is starting. Next, you
fill-in the progressive steps to make the
program a success. Building a plan for your
career can be done the same way. Start by
selecting a long-term goal for various aspects of your career. Then, chart a timeline
backwards to where you are now.
Some of the best mentors and fitness professionals in our industry
are writing out their career goals, creating retirement strategies and
setting client retention goals years and even decades in advance.
With the endgame in mind, a plan can be created to map out the
step-by-step process that will lead to achieving each goal. These
steps should be specific, realistic, progressive and time-sensitive.
Consider all obstacles or needs that could arise for you to achieve
your goals, including financial savings, scheduling study time, booking travel plans and creating budgets.
Melissa Knowles is Vice President of Gym HQ, providing corporate services
including accounting, payroll, HR and customer service for the fitness industry.
In more than 14 years of industry experience her expertise includes strategic
operations, staff training, cost savings analysis, reporting development and
implementation, fitness department overhaul, client retention systems and
| WWW.FIT-PRO.COM | SPRING 2017
Suggested career goals for personal trainers:
Career progressions: become an employee, independent contractor,
studio owner, etc.
Continued education opportunities: attend annual conferences,
earn certifications, hire a mentor, etc.
Client retention, referral programs and business strategies: marketing
campaigns, community events, hire employees, etc.
Retirement options, vacations and healthcare: open a Roth IRA,
earn health insurance, purchase life insurance, etc.
Once you establish where you want your career to go, you can
plan the route on how to get there. The way you map out a client's
training program is a great example and guideline for forecasting
your career path. Be sure to include time to reassess and update
your goals just as you would with a client. Reassessments allow you
to track progress, make changes and confirm that you are on the
path to success.
For sample plans and timelines for the four career goals listed
above, visit www.fit-pro.com. You'll find specific action items and
progressions for each goal to keep you accountable to success!
Robert Linkul is the NSCA's 2012 Personal Trainer of the Year, committee chairman of the Personal Trainers Special Interest Group and Career Development
columnist for Personal Training Quarterly. He speaks internationally and mentors
new personal trainers on business strategies, client retention and professional
longevity. Robert owns and operates Be STRONGER Fitness in Sacramento.