Life Core Fitness Club in Oakville ontario
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Mitch Monroe, general manager of Life Core Fitness Club in Oakville Ontario, was in a bad mood that morning as he asked his assistant to schedule a meeting for him later that day with his senior staff.  In the morning mail Mitch received a letter from a club member, and the letter was not complimentary, to say the least.  Mitch had been the general manager at Life Core Fitness Club seven years, and he had never received comments such as this member had written.Life Core Fitness Club had opened for business 9 years ago and was successful from the beginning.  It was the brainchild of a former professional athlete and Olympic gold medalist Donovan Bailey and for many years this athlete had operated the club himself.  However, over time and as the club grew in membership, he realized that it would benefit from professional management.  He decided to maintain sole ownership [corporation], hire Mitch Monroe, and move on to other opportunities.  Of course, he kept an eye on the business, but Mitch proved to be as good at his work as his job interview had suggested, and within a couple of years Donovan had left the operation largely in Mitch’s hands.Under Mitch’s leadership the club had been agile in taking advantage of changing trends in the marketplace such as population growth given the GTA’s urban sprawl and trends within the fitness community.  Life Core was now quite a different place to what it had been when the owner had been running the day-to-day operations. Its target market, young professionals of both genders in the Oakville/Burlington area, had never changed.  These consumers continued to demonstrate their attractiveness as a target market: they consistently showed an interest in fitness and wellbeing, they had the money, and importantly, they were willing to spend it on a club membership.  However, what this segment wanted and needed from a club had not remained a constant, and Mitch had been very good at grasping this fact and responding to it, thus leading the market in that regard.  In the past, members were primarily interested in working out with good equipment either in a class or by themselves and relaxing informally afterward in a casual lounge area – and very little more.  Now, however, they showed a stronger interest in one-on-one (personal) training, dietary counselling, while developing a more holistic sense of wellbeing, and in using the club for socializing as well as working out.  These trends had become more pronounced over the past year and, thus, had been the impetus for the most recent set of club changes.  The members were willing to pay more for receiving these additional services, and Mitch and his team provided them.  The club was thriving.The meeting with his senior staff was scheduled for 3:00 P.M. that afternoon to accommodate those employees who were on duty later in the day and into the evening for members’ convenience.  Mitch started the meeting by distributing the letter.He proceeded to read it aloud.  He skimmed over the first part where the complainant wrote, “I have been a member for many years…” and went straight to the heart of the problem.  “I was strongly in favour of the most recent set of planned changes and was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of a more personalized, member-friendly approach to club operations.  I was looking forward to booking with a personal trainer.

I was also pleased with the club’s decision to hire a registered dietician part-time to provide health counselling and with the decision to add more spa-type services, such as massage therapy.  The redecorating contributed to a more welcoming, warmer atmosphere for example, the covered chairs are a marked improvement to those ghastly straight-backed chairs we used to have – and helped create a more social environment.  I, for one, wanted to stay and have a drink in the licensed lounge whereas before the lounge was a bit of a turn off.  In short, Mr. Monroe, I was delighted with these recent changes!  BUT the changes have not turned out as I had expected, and I am deeply disappointed, so disappointed, in fact, that I am seriously considering terminating my membership – and it would take a lot for me to quit.  After all, I have been a member almost from the beginning.”  Mitch took a deep breath and looked around.  No one looked happy.The remainder of the letter went into every unpleasant detail of the inadequate and unsatisfactory implementation of the most recent set of changes Mitch had initiated.  When the woman tried to book an appointment with the personal trainer, the staff person seemed confused and uncertain about the trainer’s availability.  When the club member arrived, sure enough, the trainer was not there due to some misunderstanding about scheduling.  When the woman finally did have her personal training session, she was alarmed to see many other members milling around in the gym area, using the same equipment she and her trainer were trying to use, and even interrupting the training session once or twice.  Although it was supposed to be “personal” training, the woman said, it felt as though she was part of a large group.  The part about this incident that distressed her the most was that it appeared that the trainer was herself unsure how to handle the awkwardness of the situation.  Once, apparently, the trainer said, “Sorry, I am new here, and I’ll have to check on the rule about equipment use by other members.”  Another time a member interrupted simply to say, “You know, there used to be signs around with all the rules listed.  That made it easy.  Now I am unsure what to do.”The complainant also raised a concern about the dietician.  She said that the dietician seemed very knowledgeable but was unable to communicate effectively; she used a lot of technical jargon, according to the letter of complaint.  As well, she seemed subject to mood swings, so that in one appointment the dietician was very helpful and supportive and in the next somewhat sullen and indifferent to the member.  At this point in the meeting, one of the staff suggested that perhaps it was the complainant who had emotional problems, not the dietician.  Everyone laughed – except Mitch who pointed out that whatever the truth was, the complainant’s perception was truth enough for her.   The complainant also mentioned that although the new lounge was beautiful, staffing was sporadic. Other members commented that they did know when the lunge was open, what products were offered at which time and how to order when patronizing the facility. The letter concluded with, “I pay good money and I expect the new club services to be better than this.  Please let me know how you plan to improve them.”Mitch went on to say that, although the letter by itself was extremely concerning, the main reason this letter bothered him so much was because several other, small things had happened at the club recently.  Taken separately, these incidents did not seem significant, but together, they led him to suspect that there were indeed some problems that he and his staff needed to address as a result of the changes that he had initiated.

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Mitch Monroe And Life Core Fitness Club. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from