A Tale of Two Facilities

In early July, the gym at our downtown office flooded and continues to leak. We thought it would only be a one- or two-week closure but the facility will be closed until August 22 so I went in search of a 30-day option. I narrowed down my list to World Health Jasper Avenue and Don Wheaton YMCA since they’re about the same distance from my building (I considered the Hotel Mac until I got quoted $120 for the month).

I started with World Health Jasper Ave. I called ahead, told them my gym was out of commission for a month, and was looking to pay around $30 or $50 for 30 days. Bump number one was when the girl on the other end said she couldn’t quote me a price over the phone and no fitness consultant was available to talk to me. The second bump came when I arrived in person, explained I was looking for a workout space for 30 days, didn’t need to be sold anything, and the fitness consultant’s initial reaction was that he couldn’t shorten the consultation process. He got there after about 30 seconds of hemming and hawing (“Ok, come on in”) and off we went to a cubicle to talk about pricing (but don’t tell anyone we skipped straight to that). We’ll call that statement bump number three. Apparently I was in luck because there’s a promotion on for new members. “Great,” I thought, “now we’re getting somewhere.” Nope. Hold on because bump number four is a doozy: I could go month-to-month for a registration fee of $150 (down from $200), a $35 one-time setup fee, and pay $34 bi-weekly (down from $39). That’s $185 to become a club member and then another $68 for the month, bringing me to $253 for 28 days that I’d have to stay on top of so I didn’t get charged more when my regular gym reopens. At that price, the Hotel Mac was looking like a bargain. I told him it wasn’t going to happen and that I wasn’t about to waste any more of my time or his. I got up and left, absolutely flabbergasted with the experience. If this company posted rates on its website, enabled its employees to be helpful over the phone, and had the guy actually listened to me and said there was no way he could do it for anything close to $50, I wouldn’t have spent my time visiting the location or talking to him.

Three minutes later I was talking to Danny at the front desk at Don Wheaton YMCA. I explained what brought me in, that I only needed 30 days, and had read something about $30 on their website. I was wrong about the price (it’s for access only during the later evening) and would have to pay $68. My turn to hem and haw. While I was thinking, Danny mentioned he noticed my ATB name tag and explained they have a partnership that could knock $7 a month off that price if I signed on for monthly. But, since I’d only be there for 30 days, the one-time $68 was my best option and I’d get access to the pool and fitness classes. Ok, sold. As I’m smiling for my membership card picture and punching in my credit card PIN, Danny also tells me my pass will work at all other YMCAs in Edmonton. That got my attention because I’m on vacation next week and there’s a YMCA near where I live. I shook Danny’s hand and thanked him for his help as he pointed me towards the locker room. Talk about a wow experience. Danny listened and connected with me, didn’t make me feel stupid for misreading something, and provided the right advice in the moment so I could make the best decision for me. And, to top it off, he enhanced my experience by making sure I knew that I could use my pass at other locations. That’s sales and service done right, with your customer at the center.

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