The content

Synopsis

The Interactive Instructor is billed as the definitive guide to excellent customer care on the gym floor. It provides practical answers and ideas to equip fitness staff and their managers with the skills they need, filling a much needed gap in an increasingly competitive market.

The book begins by taking an honest look at why many gym instructors find interaction on the gym floor difficult, followed by an overview of the compelling research from industry organisations that clearly highlights the link between customer contact, customer satisfaction and customer retention.

Chapter 3 lays some foundations in terms of having clear expectations of the instructor role from the get-go and having buy-in from everyone on what environment is desired within the gym.

Chapters 4 and 5 suggest ways of looking at the customers in a new light: they all are in fact quite unique and view their gym experiences and exercise very differently from that of the average trainer or floor instructor. Learning to recognise which group of our customers would benefit most from interaction and how to relate to them is a key part of this book and is clearly explained.

Chapter 6 highlights the importance of mastering names, and includes numerous practical tips and examples of how to recognise people and remember their names. This chapter also covers the key elements involved of a simple professional greeting.

Chapter 7, entitled ‘Communication Nuts and Bolts’, is a comprehensive review of the many communication issues that trainers need to be aware of. These include body language and the messages that non verbal communication can convey; the different processing and learning styles of customers and how to adapt to them; being mindful of jargon and using layman’s lingo instead; embracing positive phrases and using imagery that customers find meaningful and memorable.

Chapter 8 looks at the importance of rapport and draws on the study of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to give some practical advice on a ‘fast track’ way to build rapport and connect with customers.

Chapters 9 and 10 are full of practical examples of how to initiate and continue conversation with customers and what specific sorts of interactions are possible in a gym floor context. These interactions include corrections, coaching, spotting, intensity checks and general conversation as well as less commonly executed interactions such as WOW!AM (work out with a member), service, inform and invite, mini surveys and magic moments.

Chapter 11 continues in this very practical vein with some of the tricks of the trade employed by high performing gym floor instructors. These basic skills, tools and systems include; flag spotting, mental scanning, positioning, using a greeting zone, hit and split contact, breaking up duties and smart scheduling.

The attributes needed to be a great gym instructor are highlighted briefly in the next section of the book entitled professionalism. Also covered are difficult situations that can be experienced in the gym environment, namely handling complaints, dealing with put-downs, ending conversations, and coping with a busy gym.

Chapter 12 offers ways of measuring improved interaction on the gym floor with the use of some very simple tools and KPIs. The book concludes with the author’s metaphorical way of thinking about working the gym floor and her 7 closing nutshells and 10 things to take immediate action on.

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