I was asked by Mere Whanarere, the facility manager at Inspire Gym, to give feedback on the service provided by the team there.
In thinking about it, it brought to mind more than the simple "survey" type feedback which I initially drafted. In thinking about it I decided that the insights from doing this simple exercise were better summarised in an article. So here goes…
Firstly, I am a very particular "customer" and have a reasonably "high bar" for expected service. That's not to say I am alone in this, but I will actually seek out alternatives if businesses fall short. And so it is with the gym. Inspire is hands down the best gym I have experienced in many years purely because the team are professional, attentive and friendly – there is no chance that you are a number when you walk through the doors on Wilson St.
Secondly, I generally go to places with a purpose or "need" that needs to be dealt with. I seldom window shop and I really prefer to receive "straight up" service rather than be swamped with "options". Again, Inspire excels here – via a simple process I get a workout for my needs from Kirsty Harvey (personal trainer) and the equipment (while not necessarily brand new) is accessible and serves its purpose very well.
Back in the day, I wasted hundreds of dollars on a membership with a "well known brand" gym and quickly figured out I was a number (to the point that they got my name wrong regularly; you call me "Richard" or "Barry" and I'm looking elsewhere!). In stark contrast, the team at Inspire know my name and greet me at every visit. If you are running a business the "Cheers" effect is an awesome marketing tool because sometimes "you want to go where everybody knows your name". Monaghans Barbershop also does this particularly well.
But most of all, particularly at a gym where you are looking to achieve self-improvement, there is support and a community at the Inspire Gym which is something that I have only seen in very few instances. You get to see familiar faces and it is great to have staff and patrons alike give encouragement. There is a lightness to the vibe at Inspire which is absent in other facilities and this works to its advantage.
Like all businesses there is room for improvement, like the gym could be open a little longer on Saturdays when school sports effectively take the morning away, but really that's the only thing.
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If I was to equate the things that Inspire Gym does well to general business advice, the connection would be that it appears to look after every client. Some customers require more attention than others but, if you get the basics around your business right, your customers will be happy, keep coming back and crucially spend their time and money with you.
I'm happy to report that I am making progress in both getting back in shape and being fitter and, while I will take a little credit for those results, much more credit needs to be passed on to Mere and the team at Inspire Gym.