As health clubs and gyms reopen following lockdowns, it is "absolutely crucial" operators take a tough stance when it comes to enforcing social distancing and other COVID-19 safety protocols.
Paul Roberts, CEO of sentiment analysts, MyCustomerLens, says unless fitness staff are empowered to go beyond their comfort zones to make sure COVID-safe rules are adhered to, health clubs risk losing members, trust and credibility.
"Our analysis shows that one of the value drivers around current consumer behaviour is trust," Roberts says, speaking in the latest issue of HCM
“As they go back to their clubs, members will be expecting the gym to have COVID-safe measures put in place and in order to build and retain their trust it’s crucial these rules are policed.
"Staff need to step in if members aren’t acting as they should be. If you let it ride once, then that will be it - you’ll have lost the credibility and won’t get it back.
“It’s understandable that gym floor staff are going to shy away from making a scene, nonetheless they will have to do this in order to reinforce the fact the health club is a trusted and safe space.”
Roberts added that, in some cases, operators might need to risk losing the membership of the rule breaker – in order to save multiple memberships of those quiet, possibly anxious, people who observe it happening and vote with their feet when they decide the gym isn’t upholding the rules put in place to make them safe.
“A PT might not want to get involved with an altercation because they want to have a friendly relationship with everyone and not create a scene, but clubs absolutely need to take a zero-tolerance approach to those who don’t follow the rules and be prepared to lose members,” Roberts said.
• To read the full interview with Paul Roberts – and to discover tips on how to enforce safety protocols, click here for HCM Issue 3 2021