Do you want Fitness with that?

Thursday morning, among the items in my inbox was a customer survey from my gym: 24 Hour Fitness. As I like my gym (for the most part), I clicked through to answer the corporate questions – anticipating that these would lead to an improved experience in the future.

I was so wrong.

After assertaining my gym location, I was asked 4 questions:

  1. Is my favorite piece of equipment working?
  2. Are the bathrooms clean?
  3. Did they check me in within 24 seconds?
  4. Did the desk attendant make eye contact and call me by name?

Note: they never asked WHAT my favorite piece of equipment was (it’s dumb bells – so they can’t really BE broken, can they?).  Nor they ask meaningful questions about my time in the facility.

This same survey may have been asked about a trip to McDonald’s or a visit to Wal-Mart.  Two things I NEVER do.  It reduced the corporate interest in my experience with their business to a mere simple retail interchange.

And it insulted me beyond belief.  If there were another option in my region for attending a gym (besides the local Y which I don’t like) -I would be leaving 24 Hour today and joining elsewhere.

This short-sighted dismissive attitude by the 24 Hour corporate management is the main reason I am dis-satisfied with the company.  And why- after hearing the story of my becoming a member and  then choosing to become a certified personal trainer- I still refuse to work for them.

They dismiss as unimportant the real connections made between the members and staff of their facilities.  They have made it nearly impossible for trainer/client relationships to develop is such a way that the clients will be successful.

24 Hour Fitness appears to believe that the speed which I’m checked in makes or breaks my satisfaction with the company.  I believe the ability to find dumb bells in an appropriate weight to do my workout, to get to the cable equipment without having to wait an half hour is important, having the locker room open so I can shower is important (they often close it during slow times for repairs – and I GO during slow times because it’s when I can get on equipment).

I know that 24 Hour Fitness is working on “advisors” theories on how to improve their appeal before their IPO.  This offering has been talked about for over a year – and the moves that the company has made in that time may make their bottom line look better to some investors- but it has HURT thier relationship with their members.  In the long run -and not so long run- this damaged relationship will impact the appeal of their IPO more than customer satisfaction with the front desk help.

I regularly invest in companies I interact with: from the coffee I buy to the shoes I wear – if I like something, I become an investor when I’m able.

As a current member of 24 Hour Fitness, I already know that there is no way I will be interested in their IPO or ever consider investing in their stock.  This makes me very sad.

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3 responses to “Do you want Fitness with that?

  1. Hi Deb,

    My name is Vincent Cheung, and I am Chief Customer Officer with 24 Hour Fitness. I just came across your blog and appreciate your thoughtful comments.

    I definitely agree with you that no survey will do justice to fostering a truly meaningful dialogue between our members and our club team members who serve our members. In listening to many of the over three million stories of our members, I have come to realize that each of them is unique and reveals valuable insights to us on how we can continue to improve their experience at our clubs. We always strive to do a better job in this area, and your comments have helped keep pushing us in this direction.

    The survey you referenced above is one of the tools we use to better “listen” and gain a more holistic view of our member experience, including more in-depth surveys, focus groups, and fan pages on Facebook. The 3-4 survey questions on this “quick” survey provides a gauge on how we’re doing against a few key things that matter most to our members, consistently and broadly across many conversations we’ve had with them. Beyond that, our club managers are here to listen to specific questions or concerns from members of their club.

    Deb, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and learn how we can do a better job listening to your feedback, especially in personal training. I also encourage you to check out our Facebook fan page, where over 33,000 fans congregate regularly to share their stories, suggestions, and supportive one another on their fitness journey:

    http://www.facebook.com/24hourfitness

    Yours in good health,

    Vince

  2. What a weird survey! And the premise behind the broken equipment question seems to be: well, as long as ONE piece of equipment is working for each customer, we’re good!

    I’m gymless at the moment, but won’t be running to find a 24 hr fitness.

  3. Nice blog..

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