There’s plenty of talk these days about the importance of the member experience. Honestly, I know I’ve written my fair share of content trumpeting the need for the member experience to be central to every club.

And trust me, I still stand by that comment, but in order for clubs to create that member experience, they need to start by building a service culture among their staff and throughout their operations.

To develop a true service culture, clubs need to develop their mission, vision, and values with a service mindset. Many clubs will dedicate the time and attention to creating the words, they’ll communicate them across the team, ingrain them as staff onboards, and they’ll even build the values into their member-facing website. But sometimes the work stops once the words have been written. In order to truly create a service culture, clubs need to put those words into practice. 

The creation of a service culture requires two things, a mission and vision, and the tools to support it. Clubs must reach beyond the collective way employees think about providing outstanding service, and enable them to  act on and provide it, as well as understand how and why they do it. 

Below are five practices for enabling a service culture within your club by aligning your technology and business practices around that culture. 

1. Educate and enable with data and insight.

Clubs need to provide their staff with more than just a list of member names. Access to member preference data is certainly a step in the right direction. Capturing order preferences allows staff to better understand the wants of a member. But to build a service culture, staff should have the data and insight to proactively deliver an experience the member didn’t know was possible. It’s one thing to know that a member orders a protein smoothie after every spin class, it’s quite another to have that protein smoothie waiting for them once the class is complete. Collect more than preferences, understand their club utilization. This will provide a view into the member's motivations and behaviors. 

2. Orchestrate In-Person and Digital Channels Around Your Desired Service. 

Practice journey mapping. Map the desired service experience from the beginning to end of a transaction across your club’s multiple channels. Have a keen expectation of your member’s expectations. Conduct a capabilities assessment to understand if you have the right personnel skills and technology to execute your service strategy.

3. Make Smarter Service Decisions Based on Collective Analytics. 

Clubs are obtaining data insight to make smarter business decisions, especially during a period where many are having to rework financial plans. By capturing and analyzing a member's behavior at the club, as well as their Digital Body Language across all channels, clubs cannot only develop that sought after universal member profile but also understand things like cost of recruitment efforts and effectiveness of their communication outreach.  They can collect member feedback and understand club utilization. Clubs can really begin to understand where their service practices are paying off, and where there’s opportunity for improvement. I find most clubs have the in-person service nailed. Over the last few months, as clubs shifted to services that extended beyond club grounds, they recognized the need to strengthen their services digitally. From touchless payments, online ordering, digital events, and kiosk check-ins, clubs are beginning to invest more and more in the digital services. As these service practices become more common in a member’s everyday world, they’ll come to be expected at the club as well. Not having them will be noticed and be seen as an inconvenience to members.

4. Serve your staff in the same capacity as you would have them serve your members. 

This is a page taken right out of the Disney playbook. A few years ago I was on a Disney cruise and struck up a conversation with a few of the cast members (how they refer to their employees). The cast members shared that once a year they get to bring their family on a cruise so they can experience the same service they’re expected to deliver. We’re seeing this mentality playout at many clubs in the COVID environment. The safety and peace of mind of your staff is just as important as your members. Incorporate touchless and contactless technology to keep your staff safe, happy, and healthy.

5. Beware of inconsistencies.

It’s important clubs constantly look inward and be diligent about inconsistencies between culture and brand. You need to look no further than the social media channels of corporate America these last few weeks to see what happens when a company tries to promote a certain brand image but its internal culture is really something else. Provide your staff with the tools and technology to walk-the-walk that aligns with all the talk. 

The goal of your technology should be to reinforce your service culture. Technology can be a differentiating enabler when you listen and ask the right questions. Having the right platform ensures that you create a picture that’s as comprehensive as possible for your staff, club management, and your members. With insight into member actions, desires, and their impact on your club, you can build a strong culture that will serve your club and members for years to come.