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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Service Rant: Another Reason to Skip the Gym

As a way to deal with the economic downturn and an ubercompetitive local market, my gym has reduced staff. Fewer trainers, smaller cleaning crew, fewer caregivers in the nursery. Not a surprise. Staff reductions are the easy fix to aligning costs with a reduced amount of revenue.

Here’s the problem:

To cope with a reduced nursery staff, my gym implemented a policy requiring parents with infants to make an advance reservation for nursery care.

When I discovered that Saturday mornings were booked solid until my 4-month-old is a university sophomore, I expressed my displeasure with the new policy.

A little irritated, I adjusted, switching from a prime weekend morning workout to a less-crowded weekend afternoon slot.

Next, I was turned away from the gym altogether when there was inadequate staff to deliver on the promise of the care for the time slot I had pre-arranged.

Now, I’m looking for a new gym.

I’m generally tolerant. I understand that service operations are tough in the current environment, where companies have downsized and are faced with demand for their services that has both diminished and gotten much more variable.

The first strike was diminishing the service value by implementing a reservation system that made it more difficult to use their services, regimenting when I would be able to access use the facility and made me pre-arrange my weekend schedule.

The second was not realizing that Saturday & Sunday morning are prime workout times for working parents and staffing to an adequate level for that 4-hour block to accommodate everyone.

The third was not having adequate capacity to deliver on the promise of care when I needed it.

They’re not out yet, but they soon will be. Then they can try to cover their costs with even less revenue.

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