Return of the Blog

Our ComCast service is out this right now, so with no phone or internet available I’ve decided to revisit our blog. It hasn’t been touched in years, but lately I’ve been thinking about using it again. This seems like the perfect excuse to give it a kick-start.

Before the service went out this morning I received two very interesting e-mails. One was from a member who had experienced a minor medical issue and passed out while he was at the Club. He was writing to express how grateful he was for the care and concern he got from our staff. He described how he was checked on multiple times following the incident, how he was walked out to his car and then driven home by two employees. He talked about how there were follow-up calls to check in and see how he was feeling, and how employees had also asked his daughter (who is also a member) how he was feeling. He ended by thanking our staff and praising Walter and Mary Ann for being so kind and caring.

The very next e-mail I looked at was a marketing piece from a health club “sales consultant”. He wasn’t someone I know, but somehow I ended up on his e-mail list, and he was offering his expertise to develop some new sales strategies to help boost our Club’s bottom line. Here’s how it started out:

“Summer can be tough. You don’t get as many walk-ins, your
sales people are scraping by, and it can get a little lonely in
the gym during off-peak hours. Instead of waiting for the Back
to School rush, let’s generate some revenues NOW”

I had to chuckle a little bit, because that’s not how exactly the scenario around here. First of all we don’t have “sales people” working on commission. While that’s how many of the big chain health clubs operate, that’s something we’ve never done. Call me crazy, but the thought of having to deal with a sales person who is “just scraping by” just doesn’t sound very pleasant. I don’t want your incessant calls and emails and to listen to your high pressure sales techniques.

The other thing that struck me was the “tough summer” reference. We’ve never had the big seasonal ebb and flow that’s so common in this industry. Sure we’re always busy after the New Year…but it’s mainly from existing members getting back into the swing of things. And while we’ll usually sign up a few more new members in the winter than other times of the year, it’s really not a dramatic difference. But for reasons that I can’t quite figure out, this summer has been even more on an anomaly.

We don’t advertise, we don’t do a lot of self-promotion, heck, we don’t even have a sign on the street. But last month (June) our revenue from new member sign-ups was higher than in any previous month in our entire history. Why June? I sure wish I knew what the secret formula was, I could hire myself out as a consultant!
While we may never know the reason that we were so busy at such an odd time of year, the formula to our overall success isn’t much of a secret. When we first founded the Club 25 years ago we were only focused on two things. The first was to provide the top workout equipment and the best fitness classes available to our members. The second was to hire the friendliest and most helpful employees we could find. A lot has changed at HealthQuest over the years, but those two underlying ideas have never wavered. That first e-mail was confirmation that we have some wonderful, caring people on our staff, while the second shows the value of focusing on service rather than sales.

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