Tips for Addressing Awkward Situations with Members
A gym in Michigan recently made news when a member was asked not to wear a shirt that expressed his political views while working out. Another gym received negative press after asking a member to change her clothes because her chest was too big for the shirt she was wearing. While these stories are very different, one thing is clear. Uncomfortable issues are bound to arise within the fitness industry. How you deal with the problem not only impacts its resolution but can also have lingering effects in terms of your fitness business’s relationships and reputation.
The good news? You don’t have to go it alone. Read on for a roundup of three member relations tips aimed at helping you facilitate best outcomes when dealing with awkward situations in your gym.
1. Be discrete but direct.
Members should be treated with dignity at all times. The first rule of approaching someone with a concern? Have the conversation in private.
At the same time, directness is also critical. Odds are that the person is unaware that there’s a problem; don’t expect members to read between the lines in terms of your expectations. On that note, consistency is also key. What applies to one member should apply to all.
2. Put yourself in their shoes.
Empathy is everything when it comes to supporting positive member relations. Before conducting a conversation with a member, think about how you’d like to be approached and treated if you were in their shoes. In a Club Solutions article, award-winning fitness leader Jason R. Stowell shares the following sample language:
“Hi John, I am Jason, a fitness director here at XYZ Club. Obviously, we all sweat a lot more than usual when we workout, but what a lot of us don’t know is not all deodorant is what I would consider ‘workout grade.’ I know I would want someone to tell me if my deodorant wasn’t doing its job, and of course I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but I think perhaps you are unaware and I just wanted to bring it to your attention that you may want to consider something else for before your workouts.”
As Stowell points out, the mere act of raising someone’s awareness in a sensitive way leads to the desired outcome. They may simply be unaware of how their actions or behaviors are being perceived by others.
3. Address the issue promptly.
Can you think of an example in your life when ignoring a problem has made it go away -- especially when it pertains to an interpersonal issue? The reality is that things of this nature tend to fester if not handled soon. Plus, if one person is bothered by an issue, others probably are, as well. Addressing a small problem quickly prevents it from becoming a large one.
Also, don’t pass the buck. Handling the problem yourself ensures that the message will be delivered in the best way. No one likes conflict and it won’t be easy, but it’s the right thing to do.
One last thing to keep in mind? Awkward situations aren’t limited to members. The same rules apply when it comes to resolving issues that arise with fitness business staff. As fitness business owners and managers, we often place the focus on member recruitment. However, member retention is equally -- if not more -- important, and knowing how to manage these challenging scenarios can help you come out ahead.
Another way to come out ahead with your members? Meet their needs. Enter fitness monitoring technology. Request a demo today to learn how the Accurofit System can boost your member recruitment and retention initiatives.