Part 1: Member feedback… get what you ask for

suggestion boxLook familiar? It should. The “suggestion box” has been the Health Club Industry’s primary Member Experience Data tool for as long as we can remember.

Some health club owners use the Suggestion Box very effectively to improve their club operations.   Others use the Suggestion Box as a means to absolutely prove to the member that club management/ownership really, truly, absolutely couldn’t care less about their members.  How to treat “Member Suggestions’ will make a good subject for another Blog.  Right now I want to consider what different data collection methods deliver by means of customer experience (CE) or member experience (ME) feedback.

So we put out the Suggestion Box and wait for the member to decide that he or she has something to tell us.  What ever that “Something” is, it must be important enough to the member to stop his or her activity in the club, find the Suggestion Box, find a pen/pencil, and then take the time to describe the suggestion and the circumstances or rational associated with the suggestion.  We all have stories about the Suggestion Box; the wide range of things that can be stuffed through an envelope slot); the illegible notes written by members with hands shaking from combinations of physical exertion and emotional rage.

The Suggestion Box needn’t produce just a litany of anger (right?).  Members can be so overcome with the need to offer praise that they will stop to write something up; or a member’s epiphany can drive the need to stop everything and write up a great idea for the club to implement.

Good or Bad; Happy or Sad doesn’t matter.  The point is that by leaving your member to initiate the feedback event, the Suggestion Box tend to capture information on very specific events/issues that a specific member feels pretty strongly about ,(in NPS terms we are talking 0’s and 10’s). In addition to relying upon the member to initiate the feedback event, via the Suggestion Box, we also leave it to the member to frame the feedback.  Accordingly, each member suggestion will vary from the last, making it difficult/impossible link one members suggestion to those of other members.  There are no database tools for hand written notes.

At ClubWorks we advise our clients to retain their Suggestion Box and to pay attention to its contents.  That said, a Suggestion Box will never deliver the combined view of your membership on how well you are delivering on your Brand Promises and where you need to direct your management attention.

NOTE:  This is Part 1 of  ‘Member feedback……you get what you ask for’.  In Part 2 we’ll contrast single question (likelihood to Recommend) feedback systems with multi-question member feedback systems like MXM.

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