NBS Winner - Best Customer Satisfaction
- News Kelly Joyce
Places Leisure, Wisewood Sports Centre won the Best Customer Satisfaction Award in the 2018 NBS report. It’s an accolade their team is very proud of.
The National Benchmarking Service (NBS) is a partnership approach to providing critical data on the performance of leisure facilities. The partnership brings together the expertise of the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University and Leisure-net to work on behalf of Sport England and provides the industry with a collection and analysis of participation, financial and customer satisfaction data.
Wisewood Sports Centre is a small leisure centre based in the middle of its community in Sheffield. The leisure centre is an old school building, which was totally remodelled and rejuvenated in 2016. The facilities include a 60-station gym, dance studio, hall and outside spaces for clubs, including a 3G pitch for football. They have 1,200 gym memberships and on average see 12,000 visits a month.
General Manager, Edward Pryor says: “It’s a very inclusive leisure centre; because we are small, it means our customers become more like friends.” Pryor runs an open-door policy for customers and staff. His office can be seen through reception, meaning if there is a problem he can manage this very quickly.
Wisewood Sport Centre only employs a handful of staff, including the general manager, a fitness manager, a membership manager and six additional people to help support and cover shifts. Pryor says: “All our staff take ownership of their roles. However, every member of staff is trained in front of house skills, meaning queries or complaints don’t get passed on. For example, if someone pops in to enquire about a children’s party, whoever is on front of house at the time can manage and advise the customer immediately.”
The staff at Wisewood Sports Centre multi-task throughout their shifts. All with a sports and leisure background, they are multi-skilled, meaning the front of house team will also deliver a lot of the exercise classes in the studio. Pryor says: “Our customers really bond with the team, they trust our staff and their expertise.”
Wisewood Sports Centre is located in an area of Sheffield that is largely industrial and has a white working class demographic. The team at Wisewood have galvanised the community by ensuring memberships and classes are affordable and they offer special rates for those out of work, retired or on a low income. In addition, the centre employs local people, with higher than average industry standard pay, to help retain staff and maintain consistency. Pryor says: “We do not want financial barriers to stop our community’s ability to access exercise. We need to be able to deliver memberships and price points that are affordable and accessible to various working shifts and patterns.”
The centre makes steps to ensure its doors are open to everyone. They run many specialist sessions and classes, including pre and post-natal groups, where mums are welcome to bring their babies and toddlers along, classes for the over 60’s and autistic-friendly gym sessions, where the music and lights are turned down. Pryor says: “Exercise and physical activity at Wisewood Leisure Centre is available for a customer at any stage of their life, whatever their background or their personal circumstance. No one is judged here, it’s for everyone.”
Places Leisure, Wisewood Sports Centre is constantly reviewing its offers and its customers' experiences. As well as the National Benchmarking Service, they additionally use mystery shopper experiences, both face to face and online two to three times a week. They track verbal complaints to see if there are any trends, and they pride themselves on being responsive to online and social media correspondence. Pryor concludes: “The small team are efficient, responsive, skilled, friendly and motivated; this delivers customer satisfaction.”