Welcome desk staff are a vital part of every club’s business. They wear many hats, whether it is driving revenue by promoting new events or products; new member tours, or some of the more mundane tasks. They walk the floor, checking on things to make sure they are clean or set back properly, or simply scanning people’s passes into the gym. They add a personal touch, creating that relationship between the member and the club, and represent your clubs’ culture within the first 10 seconds of members walking in.
Many welcome desk teams have a very set schedule of tasks and things to do through their day, but what happens when something new comes up? How do Regional Directors, and Franchisee Owners broadcast out new information to their welcome desk teams? There are many things like chat apps, email, or just picking up the phone to call them, but at the end of the day, your welcome desk teams are busy. They are busy welcoming members, walking the floor, touring the club with a new member and don’t have the time to sit, face buried, into a computer screen or in the back on the office phone.
So how do we improve welcome desk communications? What would the benefits be if communications improved? Simply put, welcome desk teams using improved apps built for fitness like OurPeople have shown improved employee knowledge and engagement, happier members, and increased revenue. To see how a club’s current communications strategies are flawed, let’s look at what is used now, and where business owners and managers could improve.
Welcome Desk email
Many welcome desk computers are going to have a full or partial web connection. Many clubs rely on setting up a club or internal email specific to the welcome desk. The idea is to be able to send changes, new info, training, etc. direct to the welcome desk teams. Unfortunately, welcome desk email tends to be checked earlier in the day then seldom as the day continues. Employees who come in later in the day generally are missed on info and members walking in don’t have the same experience through the day.
From a leadership standpoint, unless you get a response from the team, you have no idea if something is read or acted on. Spending more time through the day doing follow-ups and visiting clubs for a director can be time-consuming. Many teams are told to continue to check email through the day, but with all their other tasks, it can be distracting. Also, not only distracting but for many members walking into the gym, being ignored or looking like they are not the primary focus of the welcome desk team can lead to a bad experience for your members.
Many welcome desk teams have started to adopt common office chat apps. Think of apps like Slack — which can be great, but as many businesses have adopted them, are now realizing how disrupting they are to everyone’s day. During an interview with Recode, Founder and Exec. Director of Startup Pregnant Sarah Peck, mentioned that “We’re just moving email to another place and it’s less searchable.” So, with chat apps, many clubs are now creating more distractions. How does it affect a club’s welcome desk team?
Very similar to desk-based teams in offices, chat apps are disrupting and create even more attention onto a computer’s screen instead of the faces of your members. Tasks become lost from leadership, and unless someone responds or sends a thumbs up emoji back, there is no way to know if someone read or acted on something. Conversations also tend to quickly fall off track and become much less formal for communications, they can start to communicate with other locations, and things become sidetracked from the normal daily tasks.
Posters and Back Office bulletin boards
Believe it or not, many welcome desk teams have relied on posting information for each other in the backrooms. Whether you are still stuck in the 90s or don’t mind killing trees this method is quite commonly the worst method for bringing new info to your welcome desk teams. Leadership has no idea who has read it or if it is even posted and many people through the day ignore it. Posters tend to stay up much longer than a promotion goes for because there are so many other tasks going on through the day, the last thing most think about is whether a printout has expired.
POS and PC Notifications
If your club is luckily enough to have a software that is not so out of date where you can broadcast notifications to your team via the welcome desk computer, great! Unfortunately creating that message can be very time consuming, not clean, or not even really engaging. Welcome desk teams have been found to quickly click ‘ok’ and skip through a message popup just so they can service members walking in instead. The message tends to be ignored and looks more like just another thing to click than something that is urgent. Leadership may be lucky enough to see who has clicked ‘ok’ but not know who really saw the message without a detail report.
So now what — we need better welcome desk communications
Designed in the fitness space with leaders in the boutique fitness industry, OurPeople has been crafted to outperform the common challenges many clubs face. OurPeople is built for a club’s entire team, to ensure nobody is missed on an important announcement. With features like ‘Smart Tags’ managers can ensure specific groups of people receive a message every time. Keeping your welcome desks team more engaged because they only receive something if it is meant for them. This allows you to drive revenue from the front of your club, keeping the member experience consistent, and a communications strategy that is built around how their days flow.
Owners and managers benefit from reports to drive their teams, and with OurPeople’s reporting, for the first time gives you true metrics to your internal communications. Now instead of wasting time with follow up, calling, etc. managers know who saw the message and who didn’t. Keeping welcome desk tasks and communications consistent across the brand is simple with OurPeople. Every broadcast sent was designed for your team’s day in mind. It is quick, easy to read, and relevant to what they do every day.
If it sounds like something you have been looking to improve, try a demo and see how OurPeople can help with these and many more common challenges clubs face as the industry continues to grow.