Since gyms reopened after the lockdown in the summer of 2020, the whole industry was bound to change the way it functions: from mandatory face masks at the front desk to maintaining the social distance and mandatory bookings to enter the gym.
All those measures have not only affected fitness gyms but members who frequent them as well. Unsurprisingly, all these restrictions have arrived with a new set of rules which all fitness clubs are compelled to implement, even if not all members agree with them.
If you have troublesome members, who refuse to abide by the sanitary rules, there are different strategies to convince them without escalating the situation.
People are often confused about the new guidelines, so they often forget to put on their masks in the areas where they are required or stand 2 meters apart. You and your team's role is to remind them of those rules and explain to them the reason for their necessity.
At the same time, it's not advised to overlook those violations since other members will notice them. And the last thing you would want is for your club's reputation to suffer.
Now more than ever, it's essential to explain and publicly announce all the safety measures implemented at the gym to guarantee your members and win back their trust. Only then will you be able to convince them to return to the gym.
This is the most essential aspect. Explain to your members what the rules are, what they must do, and what you are doing as a gym to stop the spread of the virus. Of course, not everybody may agree with such strategies. Still, you need to explain to them that those measures are for everyone.
If members feel attacked because they don't follow the protocols, they will become defensive, and the chances of the situation escalating are extremely high. On the other hand, if you speak to them with empathy and try to explain why everyone needs to wear a mask or sanitize the equipment they use in the gym, those members will be more inclined to listen.
Teach your team to use the mandated protocol as an argument when dealing with troublesome members. After all, fitness clubs are forced by the authorities to enforce those rules. If the member refuses to comply with them, they are not allowed to receive access to the services included in their membership.
Make sure that your employees explain these problems in a warming and polite manner so that the member realizes that his actions not only affect the people around but the entire gym.
To help your team easily and properly handle such situations, you can work out various speeches they can use when talking to those members. In such tense situations, anyone can forget how to react. Therefore, a small guide would prove extremely useful to your employees.
Regardless of the situation, when someone from your staff talks to a member, they first need to introduce themselves and mention their role at the club. Thus, an initial connection is formed, and the member will be slightly less aggressive.
Explain the rule they are breaking without pointing the finger
In most cases, members are aware they are breaking the rules, but if you absolve them of their guilt, they will be more inclined to listen. Hence, you can use expressions such as: "I'm sure you didn't know, but it's mandatory…", "Maybe you haven't heard yet, but you must…". Most of them will reply with positive feedback because you offered them an elegant solution to set their actions straight without feeling guilty instead of confronting them.
The main reason for any sanitary guidelines is to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, even if the person in question doesn't feel threatened or has different opinions towards this situation, explain that all the members wish to feel safe and comfortable while training. That's why everyone needs to follow the rules.
Although it might not be possible in every scenario, where possible, provide different alternatives. For example, if the member refuses to comply with the social distancing, you can suggest a similar machine in less crowded areas.
Regardless of the members' reaction or their answer, always thank them for following the rules. This action will leave a good impression in the aftermath of your interaction. They will feel more comfortable, even if they are forced to do something they don't wish to do.
Hi! I'm George, the manager of Panther Fit. It's really nice to meet you. You probably haven't noticed yet, but wearing a mask in the front desk area is mandatory, so I kindly ask you to put on a mask. We are doing everything in our power to create a safe environment for our members and our employees. Therefore, you need to wear a mask in the front desk area. If you don't carry a mask with you, we can provide one for you. Thank you for helping us maintain Panther Fit a safe space for all our members. Have a great day!
It is not always easy to deal with troublesome members, especially in the pandemic context. Not everyone is eager to obey your gym's rules, and their actions can bring repercussions to your business. If a member notices another one not following the sanitary guidelines at the gym, they will be harder to convince to return. And surely they will share this information with their friends, and this message will spread and affect your club's reputation.
That's why it's vital to teach your staff what the rules are and how to persuade the members to follow them.
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