The front desk of your gym or fitness studio is essentially a living, breathing, talking advertisement for your business. These employees can make or break a sale, keep your customers happy, and provide a wealth of knowledge to your current and potential customers.
We pulled together a list of the top 5 qualities to keep an eye out for when you’re interviewing for this important position.
Passion breeds performance, and in the fitness industry, there’s nothing more powerful than a front desk employee that really vibes with what your business is trying to accomplish. Whether they care about helping others get healthy, educating your customers on the mental and physical benefits of working out or the underlying philosophy behind yoga, finding those people who are truly invested in the work that you do will help develop a welcoming and warm atmosphere.
Plus, it helps for your front desk staff to understand where your members and students are coming from. Creating a connection around your mission helps both your customers and your staff develop relationships that will keep your customers engaged and your staff happy to come into work every day.
The best way to gauge if your potential employee cares about your mission is to ask them what is important to them outside of work. It’s hard to fake passion, so you’ll know by their answers and their demeanor whether they truly care about your business’s mission.
Desire to Learn
Most businesses want their employees to come in with a certain inherent knowledge of their industry, which definitely applies to the fitness world as well. That being said, the desire to learn more about the industry and to continue researching, reading and seeking out new trends and offerings is almost more important than coming into the job with a base knowledge.
The fitness industry is constantly changing, with new technology, classes, trends and findings. You’re going to want someone at your front desk who can speak to what’s happening in fitness, yoga, nutrition, wellness and more. Trust us, your customers will ask.
How do you determine whether your new hire really wants to learn about your industry? See if they ask questions about your personal journey in fitness or wellness. Ask questions about their hobbies outside of work. What books are they reading? Do they have experience in other fitness areas? Notice whether or not they try to make up responses for questions they don’t necessarily know the answer to. The ones who don’t have an answer but mention that they’d love to learn about it are your people.
Kindness is an important part of any customer service job. That said, it can be hard for your customers to discover the kindness of your front desk staff if they don’t immediately feel like they can ask your employees anything.
Approachability isn’t the easiest quality to gauge during an interview. To see how your potential employees interact with your current and potential customers, put them to the test. You can try a role-playing exercise where you act as a new student walking in and they act as your front desk associate. You can also give them a three-minute run at your real front desk.
You’ll also tune in pretty quickly to the approachability of your potential new hire when they walk through the door for their interview. Are they timid? Are they making eye contact and smiling at you? How do they interact with students? Are they welcoming? Do they say hello right when someone walks through the door? The best way to gauge this trait is to see it in real time.
You’re going to want to hire someone that can easily pick up on the software you’re using for your memberships, email marketing, check-ins, social media scheduling, last-minute reservations, website hosting and rewards program. While your front desk employee probably won’t need to work with all of these systems, it’s helpful to have them learn the basics in case you need something done in a pinch.
And, much like the above mention of approachability, your front desk staff will probably get questions from your customers on these systems, especially if you’re using multiple integrated systems together.
Ask your interviewee what systems he or she has worked with in the past. Are you using any of them now? Do they have any other technological skills that would help your business, such as web design, trouble shooting, etc.? Usually, potential new hires will show that they’re savvy in the types of software and technology used in your industry, but it always helps to ask questions about those that they don’t mention.
There is little more important to a gym or fitness studio than the ability of your front desk to talk about the various offerings at your business – and not just in a scripted, one-liner way.
You’ll want your front desk staff to understand and, more importantly, be able to speak knowledgeably about the ins-and-outs of your membership types, rewards program, local events, class types, refund policy and more. This is important not only for bringing in new customers, but also for engaging and retaining your members. Your various programs are only as successful as your front desk staff is at promoting them.
Ask your interviewee to explain how something works – something they already inherently know about, such as Facebook, an app on their phone or a recipe they like – to see how they go about teaching someone about a system or topic. You can even send them a breakdown of your membership structure or redemption rules for rewards ahead of time and ask them to explain it as though they were speaking to a customer.
Keep these qualities in mind next time you're looking to add to your fitness business's family – you'll be happy you did.
How do you choose who to bring into your fitness family? Let us know in the comments below.