Boy, do I have some Tales to Tell...
Just in case you have not heard, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new Madonna song, American Life. I am listening to it as I write this. Which leads me to music in step class. I think the reason I have probably become an instructor with some sort of following is the fact that I have some of the best music in the world. If you are ever at a gym and I am teaching a step class, stop by and just listen. Besides the fact that it tends to be exceptionally loud, I have some of the best music anyone can ask for. All this due to a genius of a DJ named Patrick Labbate who works out of Las Vegas. In my view, he is a god!!!!!!!
Thanks to Patrick, I am never bored in class. On the worst days, I can tune out the entire class and just groove on the music that is playing. His mixing is seamless and, even though I tend to ask for certain songs, he is able to mix in some songs that he KNOWS makes the tape just ROCK THE HOUSE. If and when he stops DJ'ing, I am going to stop teaching; unless I quit first.
So, thanks to Patrick Labbate for being an inspiration for me. Later.
At one of the gyms where I teach, there is this device called a Body Blow. Now, before you make any kind of joke, let me at least describe it. It is about 6'-5" in height and a little more than a foot at the base. It looks like an elongated pyramid. The Body Blow is made out of hard plastic, probably some type of new age material that withstands heat and wear & tear. Unlike a pyramid, it has three sides only. At one of the places where the sides connect, there is a mesh-type screen, kinda like the one you see on a hairdryer. To the right of the mesh screen, is a type of control panel with on/off buttons.
If you have not figured it out yet, this machine is used to dry your skin off after a shower. At aforementioned health club, the Body Blow is placed in the middle of the room so that anyone who wishes to use it can do so at full display to the lockerroom population. Intriguing, eh? It's like a porno waiting to happen AND, believe me, some of the people who use the Body Blow are waiting for a porno to happen. Does anybody else find this weird? Actually, I think I am going to start looking for other things, like the Body Blow, that just seem ridiculous and unnecessary. Email me if you see one and I will put it in my blog. Later.
Did somebody change the definition of "Customer Service"?????? When I started working in the customer service field, I was under the impression that it meant you treated everyone who walked into your place of business with at least some respect and decency. Regardless of what the person is there for (of course, barring a robbery or inappropriate behavior), said person deserves some sort of welcome gesture (smile, handshake, eye-contact) and attention.
Does customer service only apply to people who pay to be at the gym or potential members? I hate to say this but I have always believed that whether or not the person pays to be there, is looking to pay to be there, or is just stopping in for the free air-conditioning, we must treat them with respect. NOW, if that person is disrespectful to you, THEN you have all the right to disrespect them back.
As health club staff, I feel most of us are not treated with any kind of customer service by a lot of managers. When I was a manager, I never forgot that when a staff member came to use my facilities, they deserved to be treated like any other paying member. Granted, they may not be extended certain priveleges that paying members get AND may be asked to let paying members use any services before them, it still does not mean that you pay any less attention to a staff member.
I had just gone to complete my paperwork at a new health club, Equinox. Said health club is known for it's high standard of customer service. Equinox is the gold standard of customer service in the mass market healthclub industry. They value their membership above all else. My experience at that health club has been very weird. Don't get me wrong: there are some people there who treat me very well. They are fantastic customer service providers. They treat staff and paying members with the same amount of respect. The scary thing about a place that preaches "110% Customer Service" is that it does not provide it.
As a new staff member of Equinox, I feel that a lot of the management treats me differently when they find out I am staff; and not in a good way. Rarely is eye-contact made and, more than once, I have felt like I am being talked down to. The hypocrisy that they spew is amazing. How can I, as a staff member, give the best customer service when I am normally treated with poor customer service when I walk in for whatever reason.
What I would like to know is if this a common occurence at all gyms. Do you get attitude the moment you walk into the gym? Are you treated with very little respect as you enter your gym? As an industry, we have become more concerned with meeting the bottom line rather than meeting the standard that we "set".
I guess part of the reason I have picked on Equinox is because most other places do not preach customer service as hard as they do. It would be sad to see that a place that is considered the gold standard is really just a bunch of gold plating. Later.
Quick update: I have been ranting and raving about the cleanliness, or lack thereof, at the NYSC on 14th Street. This past Monday, I noticed a difference. This night, the housekeeper was at least in the lockerroom talking on his cell phone. It was relatively clean BUT there were still small things that were not done. I will give him some more time to get with the program.
On a different note, I would like to thank those of you who have responded to this website (good and bad comments are always welcome). I am glad that I am not the only one out there who feels that working for the health club/fitness industry is simultaneously energizing and aggravating. Later.