4 Front Desk Must-Haves for Every Fitness Business
Editor's Note: This blog has been updated on 12/18/2020 to reflect that Mindbody no longer sells Poynt.
Working in the fitness industry can be a mixed blessing. Whether you run a yoga center, a boxing gym or a barre studio, your mission is to make others feel better. But inevitably, at some point in your quest to be all things to all clients, you’ll hit a wall that may prevent you from being your best self.
When you don’t have the energy or motivation to be your best self, it directly impacts your business. And sometimes, hitting those lulls—even for a short period of time—can be damaging to business.
While emotional burnout can’t always be avoided, staying focused, organized and delegating day-to-day tasks can alleviate the stresses of running your business.
And that all starts with the front desk.
The front desk, really?
It may sound silly but think about it for a minute. What feeling do you get when you walk through the threshold of your business?
On the mornings where the prior day’s chaos lingers alongside a half-empty coffee cup and ball of receipts, loose wires dangle next to a wilting plant—how does that make you feel? The chaos, in other words, can manifest and affect your every interaction and transaction throughout the day.
But don’t lose all hope just yet. These four front desk tips will help you navigate the good days…and the bad. The key is a fresh, clean and functional front desk—a way to tidy up and control the clutter and make life better not only for the patrons who support you but your own peace of mind.
The right point-of-sale system
Payments are the crux of your business. Taking them isn’t always the most enjoyable task, yet they are the key factor in whether you’ll be able to keep your business alive.
Fitness business owners report having an increasingly limited amount of time to get a customer checked out and onto the next class or appointment. Forty seconds or fewer is the industry standard. In that time, you must swipe a card or take payment, print a receipt and finish the transaction with a pleasant smile and farewell. Make sure your POS system is fast and efficient to avoid any hiccups during checkout.
Have two devices: One for you, one for check-in
Devices, devices, devices. Computer, phone, tablet, wearable. You don’t need another, right? Well… not so fast. A dedicated device to run your scheduling and sales software is the key to business owners like you staying organized and on point.
Having a single dedicated tablet to run the Mindbody business app, for example, led one yoga studio owner to report that it kept her life organized and flowing and—more importantly—a dedicated device also worked faster and more efficiently (read: no YouTube videos to crash it!). Also, remember to have a single customer-facing device for check-in. What’s good for you is doubly good for them. Learn more about the Mindbody class check-in app.
A well-balanced retail area
Transitioning in and out of workout mode can be jarring. The easiest way to get people out of their coats and worried states of mind is to offer them a cold drink (usually water, but tea or kombucha are options if you have a little in the budget), a place to sit, relax, turn their music up and get their minds right pre-workout.
If the customer experience is a good one, which it will be, be sure to carry shirts, hats and water bottles with your logo so your customers can show off their loyalty. A well-stocked fridge with energy drinks and healthy snacks also yields more revenue and more grateful customers at checkout. Get more ideas on merchandising in our Fitness Owner's Guide to Earning More Money Through Merchandising or check out our Pinterest board for examples of actual fitness businesses with a knack for merchandising.
Meet and Greet
The smooth transaction, the easy environment, the unlimited amount of cool swag—none of that matters if the person greeting clients isn’t a reflection of the best version of your brand. Fitness studios are making sure check-in/check-out time is precious by employing a concierge-type greeter (or using off-duty trainers to serve as tour guides).
A designated voice at the front desk to set expectations, provide customer support or even escort first-timers to their class and introduce them to the instructor is key. People are often nervous when trying out a new fitness activity—especially with a room full of strangers. The easier you make it on them to get started, the likelier they’ll be back… and maybe with a friend.