Building Strong Reputation Foundations From Membership Testimonials

  • /
  • Building Strong Reputation Foundations From Membership Testimonials

Taking Your Reputation Forward By Asking For Testimonials

If you have a system that currently gets testimonials and positive reviews from your membership that is a gift! If you can get testimonials easily, you’re golden. If not, join the club! It’s not usually easy to elicit praise from customers on the record, even when they are completely happy with your service. The secret is to ask, and to ask at the right time.

Two Words Explain Why Customer Testimonials Work

So, the question is: What do testimonials matter? Getting testimonials and positive reviews from your membership is worth a lot of advertising. That’s because of the way that consumers judge the word of third party opinions. The concept in play is something called social proof. It is the natural human tendency to follow the actions of others, the instinct to copy.

Have you ever had a choice of restaurants, one busy and the other empty, and instinctively felt drawn to dine at the one that was busier? That is social proof. It’s one of those things that have been used by marketers for many years. It is the reason fashions catch on and why pedestrians cross against the light, following the person who impatiently stepped off the curb first.

Even if members are happy with you all the time, they’ll be much more willing when they feel good because they just hit a challenging fitness target. If you have personally trained clients successfully, you’ll know that there is a point at which they experience a peak state of satisfaction with their results. That is the time to ask, in a friendly and respectful way. In fact this is easier to judge in our industry than in others. If you have been working with a client or they happen to mention at the front desk that they are thrilled with the results those are the times to ask.

Finessing The Upside

Share the victories and handle the challenges in private. Once again, it’s like you have to be like a swan on a river, apparently coasting along while paddling furiously below the waterline. Testimonials must be handled in an authentic way that doesn’t undermine their value but at the same time you share in the victory and do the hard things out of sight.

Your front desk staff should be alert for the right time and if they can secure a short written statement from a member they should be just as eligible for a reward as the training staff. Be careful that it doesn’t become a competition, where trainers and desk staff become adversaries. Remember, they’re doing your marketing work for you so even if you have to double up on the bonuses you’re paying to encourage teamwork; try to keep the dynamics of the incentives positive.

It might be that the trainer put the thought in the customer’s mind, and the client then returned and innocently mentions it at the front desk. Conflicting incentives are a dangerously effective way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory every time.

Incentivize Your Staff

When a staff member brings one in you have the perfect opportunity to verify it by approaching the customer to personally thank them. Once you do confirm it make sure you follow through and give out the reward, what ever it may be, in a timely manor. Staff members also appreciate it when you recognize them for having gotten the testimonial. This is another case where social proof can be won by making an example of desired behavior.

The Practical Side Of Testimonials

How can you determine the value of a testimonial? There is a value based on the publicity and social proof that good testimonials can give. If you have an explicit marketing budget, and you should, assume that the customer who gave you the review or testimonial is the ideal customer. Then you can match the testimonial to the cost of gaining one ideal customer.

The fact is that small successes can be multiplied and major successes can be celebrated. After all, most people are happy for the success of other, especially in the fitness profession. The best part is that if you manage the good times properly they are circular; good feelings lead to good results, which in turn lead to feelings of well-being. This applies for customers and staff in equal portions.


Fagan, Lawrence. How Health Club Management is Like a Swan on a River. (accessed November 16, 2014).

Robbins, Anthony. Awaken The Giant Within. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1991.