Can A Customer Experience Program Change Your Culture?


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What’s your NPS? Every month the C-suite at Gold’s Gym places calls to a few gyms in its global franchise to ask whomever answers the phone, “what’s your NPS®?” (NPS=Net Promoter Score, a commonly used customer satisfaction score) If you answer the phone, you need to know what customers think of your gym. Everyone at the gyms knows this.

When you go to a gym (particularly one you pay a lot of money to go to) you expect the equipment to work, the place to be clean and the staff to be friendly. Gold’s uses their Customer Experience Management program as a way to stay on top of not only customer sentiments about classes or equipment, but they use it to determine what operational areas to focus on and prioritize. They use it to drive action among the staff at each location. And they use it to drive a culture of putting the customer first.

When I spoke to Kristen Baynard, Gold’s Gym Director of Service Operations she said: “It (the program) changed our culture because it made us acutely aware of the customer. Having the ability to get this feedback has given the GM’s, the corporate and franchise owners and our front-line the ability to really control and understand how they serve customers and what areas really impact the customer experience. We also take action. We reply to every survey and have business processes to address concerns and to be the best we can be.”

At Gold’s having customer information and the action list to impact the customer experience at the fingertips of each employee changed the mindset of the whole organization. Each employee, from the maintenance team to the front-desk, all the way up to the CEO had the information they needed to actually understand the experience and that knowledge gave them the passion to create a customer centric business.

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Inciting this intra-organizational passion for customers, Gold’s executives have created a culture of action. Here is how they have done it:

Goal-setting: At the latest Gold’s Gym company conference, the president Jim Snow took the stage and set aggressive NPS goals for the entire organization. Goal-setting is key: it unites the organization around a common mission, propelling individuals into action.

Daily Reps of NPS: Everyday, current NPS scores and customer comments are not only available in real-time online, they are posted in the break rooms. Morning meetings consist of reviewing the scores and comments, focusing on areas to improve.

Monthly Measurements: Every month, members of the executive team cold-call a sample of locations—that’s right, hundreds of gyms—asking whomever answers the phone one question: “What is your NPS?” According to the executive team, every single person within the gym—from the front desk to instructors to the managers—should both know and feel responsible for the gym’s NPS.

Celebrate the wins: Gold’s also rewards and celebrates employees who truly excel in creating excellent experiences. Recognizing great actions reinforces leading by example.

In most cities and towns there are many options for people to choose from when it comes to getting some exercise. Local gyms, community centers and the great outdoors provide more options than most people need. With many alternatives, the local gym owner has quite the task to allure and keep people at their gyms.

In a competitive market, Kristen Baynard, Gold’s Gym, Director of Service Operations says that having a Medallia enabled Customer Experience Management program “enables Gold’s to provide great member experiences that helps us retain and grow our membership.”

At Gold’s they rely heavily on their CEM program to actually help them run the business. The senior executive team, who manages the brand that is left to the control of franchisees around the world, can now manage customer satisfaction and provide the tools to gym owners to enable them to win in a competitive market.

Watch the video about Gold’s Customer Experience Management Program and how it created a customer centric culture by following this link:

Customer Loyalty Solution for Gold’s Gym from Medallia on Vimeo.

Michelle deHaaff
Michelle leads marketing at Medallia, the leader in SaaS Customer Experience Management and has over 18 years of experience in marketing, branding, product management and strategic partnering in Silicon Valley. Michelle came to Medallia from Attensity where as Vice President of Marketing and Products she led the transformation of the brand and the products to be the leader in Social Analytics and Engagement. Michelle also led Marketing at AdSpace Networks, was a GM of Products at Blue Martini Software and worked at Ernst & Young as a CRM practice manager.


  1. I love the idea of an employee knowing the NPS (Net Promoter Score). It means they know what the customer thinks. As the company works to improve their score, every employee is aware. That can be motivating. If the score goes up, everyone celebrates. If the score dips, everyone is motivated to try to get back to the original score – and then improve! Bottom line, this is a great lesson we can learn from Gold’s Gym.

  2. Every customer facing employee holds your brand’s reputation in their hands. What they do (or don’t do) reflects back on your company as a whole, not just that one employee or particular location. If every employee knows what is at stake and knows that at any moment they could be called to stand and deliver it helps keep the customer experience in the forefront of everyone’s mind. I think it’s a great way to prevent complacency.

  3. Trish:

    I couldn’t agree more that every employee does hold the brand in their hand! An empowered workforce that understands the customer experience vision and has the tools and policies around them to impact is so much more successful than one that doesn’t. Thanks for commenting!


  4. And yet I was a customer of Gold’s Gym for two years and finally dropped because of unmet promises, missed expectations, and a varying bill total each month.

    You cannot solely focus on the customer or you will go out of business. Be smart, agile, realistic, know your customer better than anyone else, listen and act!

    Spend wisely in all areas that are customer-facing and be human. I’m not an NPS or KPI with an TLA.

  5. Matt:

    You are totally right. Gold’s is still rolling out this approach to their gyms around the world and it is not just about the score – at all. It is the whole product/service – the atmosphere, the way they treat you, billing, follow-up, the equipment, etc., etc. I appreciate your point of view.



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