One form of communication just won’t do

sign post with question mark“Sign me up!” were the words I exclaimed back in February when I found out the gym I was checking out allowed free guest passes, anytime, any day of the week. What a huge plus!

A few weeks ago, I walked into my gym with a guest. I hadn’t been in about a week and I was ready and raring to go. I told the girl at the desk I’d like to sign my guest in.

“Oh, you can no longer have guests for free during the week. Only weekends. It’ll be a $10 charge today.”

<Squealing brakes>

“What?”

She explained to me that policies had changed. I could downgrade my membership if I wanted (never even explaining what else I would lose by downgrading. . .).

I told the girl behind the desk that I had never seen any form of communication on this change in policy and asked how the gym told its members about it.

“It was posted. It’s been effective since August.”

“Where? I’ve been here regularly, and I never saw a thing.” (Seriously, I’m so not that person who puts up a stink like this, but I was getting peeved.)

I asked to see some sort of communication and she frantically went looking for an official letter from the gym which she ultimately couldn’t produce (hmm?).

Here’s the (much briefer and nicer) “rant” that I laid into my poor, unfortunate guest whom I paid the $10 for because I’m too stubborn for my own good.

You CANNOT base your communication to customers, clients, stakeholders, audiences, etc. via ONE MEDIUM. So, gym of mine, you posted a paper in the bathroom? Great. Did you even think to hand out a notice to members as they entered and scanned their membership cards? Did you think to have staff members share the news around the gym as they asked members how their workouts were going? Did you have an e-mail campaign (because you send plenty of e-mails!)? A mailed letter? Something?

Sure, this example doesn’t come off as directly related to PR. But in fact, I think it can serve as a good lesson for all of us in the field of communications. We must use a variety of platforms and mediums to spread the word about our company and/or clients.

Never put all your weights eggs in one basket.

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  • My thoughts: It's the little things that can sometimes make or break a company right? Or is that a big thing? When does over delivering ever backfire/ and what do customers do when they receive bad customer service… they go viral with their bad experience and blog about it…:) Great post. Big lessons from simple things..are worth their weight in gold.

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  • jeffespo

    Now did you Tweet your experience or out them in a blog? Chances are they may be monitoring for bad buzz, and maybe you can get a change going. Or you can play their game and post the rant in the bathroom for all other members to see.

  • I didn't want to go there…So I posted it in the bathroom… Haha!

    Honestly, I don't even know if they monitor. It's a small gym in CT. Let me investigate. Thanks Jeff!

  • jeffespo

    If they aren't you could help make them. Think about the CA Realtor who's rant on a condo owner who's grass went uncut because dude left for the military. He learned quickly the power of the online rep.

    Yelp is a powerful review tool if you wanted to stay quasi-annon.

  • Nice! Love a real world example, great post. I def agree, one medium (ANY medium) is far too narrow of a choice for communications… especially given the tools available now, and the ease of dissemination.

    And you know me, anything to support a good ol' negatweeting (http://is.gd/4XaWk) post. 😉

  • Great points here! What got me is that not only was the message distributed through one lonely medium, but it was such a *passive* medium. I mean, posting it in the bathrooms? This might be weird, but I hardly EVER use the restroom facilities at my gym (I'm a shower-at-home kind of gal). I would never have known.

    Like you mentioned, email alerts and informing guests as they checked in would probably be the way to go. Or, including that information with class schedules on paper and online (I often bring guests for spinning classes, etc).

    Thanks for bringing this up! It's an important lesson: Just because you said it, doesn't mean anyone heard it.

    @Lex_D

  • jeffespo

    Now did you Tweet your experience or out them in a blog? Chances are they may be monitoring for bad buzz, and maybe you can get a change going. Or you can play their game and post the rant in the bathroom for all other members to see.

  • I didn't want to go there…So I posted it in the bathroom… Haha!

    Honestly, I don't even know if they monitor. It's a small gym in CT. Let me investigate. Thanks Jeff!

  • jeffespo

    If they aren't you could help make them. Think about the CA Realtor who's rant on a condo owner who's grass went uncut because dude left for the military. He learned quickly the power of the online rep.

    Yelp is a powerful review tool if you wanted to stay quasi-annon.

  • Nice! Love a real world example, great post. I def agree, one medium (ANY medium) is far too narrow of a choice for communications… especially given the tools available now, and the ease of dissemination.

    And you know me, anything to support a good ol' negatweeting (http://is.gd/4XaWk) post. 😉

  • Great points here! What got me is that not only was the message distributed through one lonely medium, but it was such a *passive* medium. I mean, posting it in the bathrooms? This might be weird, but I hardly EVER use the restroom facilities at my gym (I'm a shower-at-home kind of gal). I would never have known.

    Like you mentioned, email alerts and informing guests as they checked in would probably be the way to go. Or, including that information with class schedules on paper and online (I often bring guests for spinning classes, etc).

    Thanks for bringing this up! It's an important lesson: Just because you said it, doesn't mean anyone heard it.

    @Lex_D

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