Previously published on mygroupfit.com
First of all, let’s run through a basic checklist of customer service in the group fitness setting.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Do you arrive for your class on time?
- Are your CDs organized?
- Do you know your choreography inside out?
- Do you know some of your participants’ names?
- Are you well presented and look professional?
- Are you available after the class for questions?
Can you answer yes to all of these? Don’t get carried away if you can though, as you’re only achieving the basics. Participants’ expectations have increased so much that, acceptable is no longer acceptable when it comes to service. So how do you exceed expectations and ensure that all of your participants are raving about the service levels that you provide?
Set Your Watch 10 Minutes Early
While it may be difficult with a busy schedule to get to all of your classes early, arriving with enough time to spare is invaluable so you can say “hello” to all of your participants as they enter the room. It’s not enough to simply introduce yourself at the beginning of the class, taking for granted that everyone will feel welcome and see you as approachable.
Check Your Attitude
Regardless of your own personal situation or whatever happens in your day, never let your attitude influence your professionalism and class delivery. If you are having a bad day, either put your game face on and deliver a great class, or arrange for another instructor to take the class. While class participants may sound sympathetic, quite often they are simply thinking that they have not received the experience that they were expecting and deserve. Membership fees to fitness facilities are in direct correlation to the service that is on offer in the participants’ eyes and if they do not feel that they are getting value because of an instructor who is always complaining or brings their problems to class, they may look elsewhere.
Remember What It Is Like to Be New
Do you remember the first time that you walked into a group fitness studio? Can you remember how big it looked, how uninviting the mirrors can be, the other class participants that look like they know what they are doing, the seemingly over-aggressive (when they are simply motivating) instructor, the unfamiliar equipment, the aroma from the last class (especially in cycling studios)? As instructors we become very comfortable, very quickly in our studio environment, yet it is quite often the most daunting place in any fitness facility. What simple steps can you take the next time you teach to make your environment more welcoming? Try directing new faces to where the equipment is stored, where they can find water, tell them the structure of the class, and ask about any injuries. It’s all too easy to talk to the regulars, but if you make more effort with the new members, they’ll soon become regulars too.
Can you honestly say that if your class is advertised as being suitable for all, you are providing adequate instruction and coaching to meet this requirement?
We have all fallen into the trap of assuming that we cater to all levels yet, quite often, we fall short. Always remember that you should be teaching to the class in front of you and be flexible enough to change the plan of the class as the participants require. You may need to spend longer on technique or explaining the benefits and intensity if this is what the class requires.
Finish Your Class on Time
One of the basic rules of service often overlooked is starting and finishing your class in line with advertised time frames. Not only does this affect other classes, but it can also have a detrimental effect on your class participants’ experience, as they may have somewhere to be straight afterwards. I don’t know any instructor that likes being labeled “the instructor that always runs in late.”
The dictionary provides the description of service as “an action done to help somebody,” so remember that service is all about your participants and not about you.