When you visit dozens of health clubs and see thousands of comments and survey results from gym members at hundreds of clubs all over the world, you start to concatenate characteristics from top performing clubs into a picture of real excellence.  From these observations and from teaching Customer Experience Excellence and Operational Customer Experience Management, I have came up with what I think defines the best of best.   BEST-OF-THE-BESTThese “8 Disciplines” (8D) can be taught. In fact, I am putting the finishing touches on a “course” in the 8 Disciplines.  I call them Disciplines because I believe if you break any of them down you can be very disciplined about how you teach, coach and improve each.  They become “Disciplines” when they are practiced every day.  In the course I define each Discipline with a clear purpose, an affect, and a result.

For starters, if you have all “A” players, learning the 8D will up-level them even more.  If you have “B” players, they will become “A” players.  If you have “C” players then what the heck are you doing? Go find different players!!

Some of the 8D may seem obvious. But when you accurately capture purpose, affect and outcome, they take on a whole new level of nuance and detail. Once the three elements are defined then you can get “hard edges” as to HOW one can be consistent at each, and become a “practitioner” of the 8D.

One more thing; this all based on the belief that the Front Desk purpose overall is too be great hosts.


  1. Greeting People – Obvious? Yep. But this is an art form when done by the best.  There is constant humor, warmth, graciousness, positivity, personality, and human connection.
  2. Name Memorization – There are great ways to teach this.  The very first thing to teach is to stop saying “I am not good at remembering names.”  Replace it with “I used to not be good at remembering names.”  This sets up the training for success.  It is a good idea to create a “name memorization” challenge that has to be passed in order to be hired. That would help!
  3. Gaining Insight – Deliberately learning something about each member no matter how small. Then use that insight to learn more. This “intel” allows for personalizing the member experience.
  4. Offering Information – When we have knowledge of something that could affect the member’s visit, either positively or negatively, be proactive in offering it up – “We had a leaky pipe in the women’s locker room last night. We have it handled but I apologize that it is still a bit messy.”
  5. Anticipating Need – This just might be the single biggest differentiator of all.  It is one thing to do something for a member when they ask. It is quite another to see a member coming in the door with arms full then running out to unload her and help her with the door.  Or suppose a member comes in and says – “I haven’t been in in 4 months and I got out of my routine.  I even forgot my water bottle!”  The best of the best will be taking them a bottle of water as soon as they get on the treadmill and will probably say something like – “Welcome home.”
  6. Solving Problems – Issue resolution is all about personal responsibility and ownership.  Well, it is also about empowering your people to actually resolve issues in creative ways if necessary without having to escalate. Scary?  Fears about real empowerment are almost always unfounded.
  7. Making Introductions – This is what hosts do.  Teaching people when to introduce members to one another as well as to other staff members will set your team apart and send a strong message of inclusion to your member. Hint – Introduce when it adds value for both parties.
  8. The Fond Farewell – Can’t tell you how many comments I see about how dazzled a member is when team members give a fond and personalized farewell.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if all staff were practitioners of the 8D?  Not just front desk. I am on a mission to teach the 8D to as many staff members as possible.  Beginning with my own clubs and then hopefully yours too.

Please share any comments or thoughts!

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