Your Mission: Get on the Same Page As Your Members
By Joe Dinoffer
Retention of members is the key to success in the club industry. That’s common knowledge. And one of the keys to retention is to keep yourself on the same page as your members in terms of expectations. Identify and establish those expectations and you can clearly quantify your success, page by page.
This process of establishing member expectations can be broken down into categories such as tennis, golf, fitness, pro shop, even food and beverage, and within each of those categories, you can identify smaller areas of focus as well. In this article, we’re going to zoom in on tennis, and more specifically, your on-court programming, both social and instructional.
One of the best ways to set expectations is to develop a mission statement for your facility and your programs. Publishing a mission statement and broadcasting it clearly and widely tells your members that:
- You have thought deeply about your standards and are committed to maintaining them.
- Your members will know what to expect — no surprises, fewer complaints.
- You are committed to training and maintaining standards among your staff.
Also, the mission statement sends a clear message to your staff and helps them feel part of a strong and vibrant team that is committed to excellence. But remember that it is critical — make that “mission-critical” — to get your staff on board and to wholeheartedly agree to the standards you publish. You need to get your staff on the same page first to help ensure your success.
I suggest starting your mission statement with a brief introductory paragraph. As an example, here’s a mission statement based on one that I helped develop for an indoor club in the Midwest:
“The entire tennis staff at [Your Club] is committed to meeting and exceeding your expectations. To help us reach these goals and to help you know what to expect, we want to describe our commitment. We hope you will agree that this list of standards meets or exceeds the qualities of any tennis program in the country.”
Next, you can go into a list of standards for your facility, such as:
Continuity — We are dedicated to maintaining consistency among our staff through extensive and ongoing training, based on the newest research and current playing trends.
Confidence — We believe your confidence and self-esteem is critical to improving as a player and enjoying your tennis. We are here to help you feel good about the time you spend at your club.
Accelerated learning — Through active use of visual and kinesthetic aids, we believe your tennis improvement is accelerated. We are committed to using the best tools available.
Guarantee — All lessons are guaranteed. If you participate in a private or group lesson that does not meet your expectations, that session will be free of charge.
Safety and Facilities — We are committed to providing a safe, clean and well-maintained environment at all times and welcome suggestions to maintain those standards.
Recognition — We will make every effort to equally recognize and appreciate player participation as well as success through our bulletin boards and club newsletters.
Fun — Enjoyment is a key element to all private and group classes. After all, tennis is a game. We believe that smiles and laughter must be present in all on-court experiences with our staff.
Exercise — One of the benefits of an active sport like tennis is that there is a healthy exercise component. We are dedicated to making certain that the exercise is appropriate to your needs and desires. Not too much and not too little. Friends — We all know that the social element of tennis is one of the magical elements of this great sport. We will do everything possible to help you make and meet friends you can play with. Family — Whenever possible we want to arrange programs that encourage family members to learn together and play together.
Then, you can close with a statement like this: “Thank you for being a part of the [Your Club] family!”
In a time and environment where more than 5 million players are trying tennis for the first time each year, it is imperative that we all take steps to keep those players playing. I hope this article helps identify one more aspect of player retention that will help ensure the stability and growth of this wonderful sport of ours.
See all articles by Joe Dinoffer
About the Author
Joe Dinoffer is a Master Professional for both the PTR and USPTA. He speaks frequently at national and international tennis teacher workshops as a member of both the HEAD Penn and Reebok National Speaker's Bureaus. He is president of Oncourt Offcourt Inc. and has written 16 books and produced more than 30 instructional videos.
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