After two years of operating in a residential area of Brooklyn, New York, neighbors began to complain to Israel Gonzalez, the owner and head Coach of CrossFit 718.
“Over time, we started to get complaints about the noise and we did several different things to sort of appease the neighbors,” Gonzalez explained.
He and his team made several additions to the gym, including soundproof flooring and walls. After the neighbors continued to call the police, they continued to apologetically investigate the noise. Ironically, Gonzalez said, he signed up many police officers as members through that experience.
“We had a few interactions with them, different meetings. Again, it was always sort of our approach to try to find an amicable resolution that everybody can benefit from and everybody would be happy with,” Gonzalez said. “Eventually we made the business decision that it was in our best interest and in the best interest of our neighbors to just go ahead and try to find a more suitable location where we wouldn’t have the same sort of problems.”
In 2014, CrossFit 718 moved just six streets away from their former location, but Gonzalez said the space is bigger and things have been going really well.
He takes the same approach with upset or disappointed members. While he said he doesn’t hear complains often, he always tries to provide “amazing customer service” and find a resolution that makes both parties happy.
“We’ve found it’s better just to make them happy. Overall, it’s a better fit for the business so we always try to take care of whatever it is,” he said. “Make sure that we try to address their concerns and make them feel happy in whatever manner that we can. Basically, that’s it. The customer is always right. Not always, but 99 percent of the time.”
When complaints do happen, typically a member has slipped through the cracks or an email was not read in time, both problems he believes can be fixed with communication.
CrossFit 718 will send out weekly newsletters and sends occasional questionnaires to get member’s insight. He also provides his personal phone number to members, which he believes maintains transparency and adds to the community of the Box.
And communication goes both ways. Not only does Gonzalez want to be available to his clients, he hopes they will feel comfortable talking to him or any of the Coaches at CrossFit 718 about their specific goals.
“We have a lot of communication between us and our community. We know pretty early on what they would like. As much as possible, try to facilitate that, within reason,” Gonzalez explained. “We try to foresee what the issues are before they happen and address them in a way that it doesn’t negatively impact our community. For us, this is an extension of our family.”