by Nick Dyess|Netpulse
History is a little fuzzy on the origins of the suggestion box, but the anonymous tip box has existed in businesses for at least 110 years. Ever since its invention, businesses have been dealing with its flaws – it’s slow, you don’t get many tips and the tips you do get are anonymous. Then came online surveys as the feedback method of choice. While email surveys are better than pen-and-paper, they still only give you a limited perspective of a small subset of members.
Here are 6 insights that your old-school feedback program misses every day.
1. How your average member feels about your club
People don’t go out of their way to leave positive reviews, because they expect their club experience to be positive. This means that typical club feedback programs only hear from members in a timely way when something is wrong and they are upset. While some companies may get more participation on their email surveys than others, you’re still likely only hearing from a small segment of angry members, obscuring you from knowing how the average member actually feels.
2. Are you improving?
How do you know if your club is improving? Email surveys are not a reliable way to measure performance. They take too long to collect enough data to be meaningful and often have different members taking each survey. As mentioned in the first point, the members who take the time to complete online surveys are likely just the members who are angriest that month, not giving you any kind of reliable benchmark to measure yourself against.
3. That piece of broken equipment or bathroom disaster
When does your staff hear about a piece of broken equipment or an “incident” that needs to be cleaned up immediately? Sometimes a member tells you immediately. Sometimes the problem lingers until your staff discovers it much later. Feedback programs don’t help you solve these daily issues. Instead of hearing about these issues as soon as they happen, you find them hours later when countless other members have been frustrated by a solvable problem.
4. Helping the upset member who walks out the doors
It happens. Sometimes members have bad experiences. Maybe they thought the music was too loud, or they didn’t like their class that day or the hot water in the showers wasn’t working. They weren’t upset enough to seek out a manager or file a formal complaint, but it’s frustrating enough that they will remember when it comes time to renew their membership. The typical club feedback program has no mechanism for handling situations like this, meaning there are upset members that leave your club every day without hearing how you’re going to improve their club experience.
5. Motivating your staff
Uber collects feedback after every car ride, which motivates drivers to provide exceptional service to every passenger, every time. Your club likely has internal performance reviews for your employees, but does your member feedback program actively encourage your staff to go out of their way for every member like Uber’s does?
6. What your most important members are feeling
While all of your members are important, not all members are created equal. There are members who are big spenders on personal training, classes or merchandise that you would really like to keep happy. But how do you know if they are happy? Unless they happen to take your email survey or tell you their feelings directly every time they are at your club, you really have no way of knowing the mindset of your high value members.