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Health Club Management

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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Statistics: Is the gym safe?

IHRSA’s Kristen Walsh gets a briefing from Blair McHaney on how operators can use gym member insight to inform reopening decisions and practices

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 6
Use the free survey tool: 
www.HCMmag.com/MXMsurvey / Jacob Lund/shutterstock
Use the free survey tool: www.HCMmag.com/MXMsurvey / Jacob Lund/shutterstock
You may think you're succeeding, but you won’t really know until you hear it from your customers.

As the world moves out of lockdown, a few developments seem inevitable: there’s a likelihood of a resurgence of the virus, the return to normal will require the creation of a vaccine, and the resurrection of the economy will be gradual and challenging.

Members whose clubs have reopened, or individuals who – in ordinary times – would be considered prospects, will have concerns. Some are out of the exercise habit, others will have become comfortable with at-home workouts, perhaps some will have suffered financial setbacks. Many, given the uncertainty, will have adopted a wait-and-see attitude about new commitments of any sort.

But the number one question is undoubtedly, is it safe to make use of a club? And the number one imperative is to ensure it is.

A data-driven strategy
Few people know this better than Blair McHaney, a 40 year industry veteran and owner of two WORX (workout prescription) fitness facilities in Washington State, US. McHaney is also founder and CEO of Member Experience Metrics (MXM), a research, consulting and educational firm.

MXM is a corporate partner of Medallia, the customer experience management software supplier that works with companies such as Airbnb and Mercedes. MXM uses Medallia’s technology in its consultancy work with its 700 client clubs.

McHaney also employs Medallia in his own facilities to design data-driven member-experiences. “We practice what we preach in our own clubs,” he says. “Our clubs are our laboratories.”

Medallia SaaS platform
The Medallia SaaS platform allows users to establish in broad terms how gym members feel, and what they’re thinking, about their club. What do they like or dislike? What would they like more, or less, of? What issues are they concerned about?

That information is put in the hands of owners, managers and front-line staff to drive improvements.

“Understanding your members’ concerns is essential to your reopening success,” says McHaney. “One of a club’s most valuable assets, as we come out of this crisis, is hearing the ‘voice’ of the consumer. If that’s not a leading indicator of what’s happening in your club, you’re flying in a thick fog without instruments.

“Club operators should be listening to their customers, doing their best to improve operations, and monitoring feedback to anticipate and exceed their new expectations,” he says. “You can’t market your way out of the pandemic. You can only behave your way out of it.”

Customer insight
Since April, MXM has been using a lockdown survey system – a combination of two surveys that encompass the lockdown and startup phases of clubs’ reinvention – and using this to support the two WORX gyms, MXM clients and also the wider fitness industry.

The system (details at the end), enables operators to add their own logo, incorporate it into an email, send this out to their members and then use the reporting and analytics provided by MXM to mine the data for insights about member attitudes and behaviours.

The picture that emerges provides a guide to what clubs have to do to gain (or regain) the trust and business of members and prospects. Find out more at www.HCMmag.com/MXMsurvey.

What’s being learned
As facilities worldwide reopen, it’s clear customers will judge whether re-launched businesses sink or swim. “You need to communicate and to convince, through your daily operations,” says McHaney. “You may think you’re succeeding, but you won’t really know until you hear it from your customers.”

Five steps to safety
Based on member feedback, McHaney has developed a template, called Five Steps to Safety, that operators can draw on when formulating their reopening plans
Blair McHaney
1. Encourage every member to roll up their sleeves and clean

Do everything possible to make it simple for members to police themselves when it comes to cleanliness and responsible behavior. Do your members know what’s expected of them? Rules and regulations should be specific and easy to understand and implement. If there’s a violation, there should be a clear and well-defined follow-up policy.

2 Ensure every member of staff is a compliance ambassador

“Two factors critical in driving customer loyalty are cleanliness and staff friendliness,” says McHaney.

“You have to teach staff to be compliance ambassadors, in order to sustain cleaning practices, while remaining courteous. Club operators need to set and enforce clear standards for performance, while maintaining a delicate balance.”

3 Distribute cleaning substances widely (and keep them full)

This is one of those issues that needs to be revisited regularly on the basis of member comments or surveys. “You think you have enough spray bottles or sani-wipe dispensers out there, but then you get feedback saying, ‘It’s too hard to find a spray bottle,’” observes McHaney. “You think, ‘I was sure 50 was more than enough,’ but your scores are soft on this, while the edge on member’s voices are hard.”

Once, while reviewing his research, McHaney found one word kept surfacing. “The word ‘empty’ started to appear a lot,” he recalls. “It was a revelation. Not only do you need wipes, towels and cleansers; you also need to make sure containers are never, ever empty. It only needs to happen once and people remember.”

4. Be generous with the hand sanitiser

Battery-powered sanitiser dispensers should be available both outside and inside the main entrances, in locker rooms and in high-touch areas. Other tools for minimising contact and contamination include battery-operated soap dispensers; automatic doors and foot and forearm door openers.

MXM’s data indicates that making hand sanitising easy is critical to members’ likelihood-to-return. “You don’t have to have hand sanitiser stations everywhere,” says McHaney. “You could, for example, distribute hand sanitising bottles with your club’s logo on them, which members can refill as needed.”

5. Educate, market, and advertise

Make sure members know in detail all you’re doing to keep them safe: “You’d better be good at communicating that you’re best-in-class at doing this,“ says McHaney.

Signage and well-informed staff should inform customers about the importance, and benefits, of the club’s new operating procedures. Videos explaining and extolling its behind-the-scenes practices to guarantee member safety should also be prominent on the club’s website and social media pages.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Jacob Lund/shutterstock
Jacob Lund/shutterstock
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/2020/680279_389340.jpg
'You may think you're succeeding, but you won't really know until you hear it from your customers' – Blair McHaney
Blair McHaney, IHRSA, Kristen Walsh,customer insight, reopening gyms
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In April 2020, two-thirds of the world’s gyms went into temporary closure due to COVID-19.
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Property & Tenders
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Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
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Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
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21-24 Sep 2020
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
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22-23 Sep 2020
Heythrop Park, United Kingdom
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Online, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
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23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
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03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
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ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates

features

Statistics: Is the gym safe?

IHRSA’s Kristen Walsh gets a briefing from Blair McHaney on how operators can use gym member insight to inform reopening decisions and practices

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 6
Use the free survey tool: 
www.HCMmag.com/MXMsurvey / Jacob Lund/shutterstock
Use the free survey tool: www.HCMmag.com/MXMsurvey / Jacob Lund/shutterstock
You may think you're succeeding, but you won’t really know until you hear it from your customers.

As the world moves out of lockdown, a few developments seem inevitable: there’s a likelihood of a resurgence of the virus, the return to normal will require the creation of a vaccine, and the resurrection of the economy will be gradual and challenging.

Members whose clubs have reopened, or individuals who – in ordinary times – would be considered prospects, will have concerns. Some are out of the exercise habit, others will have become comfortable with at-home workouts, perhaps some will have suffered financial setbacks. Many, given the uncertainty, will have adopted a wait-and-see attitude about new commitments of any sort.

But the number one question is undoubtedly, is it safe to make use of a club? And the number one imperative is to ensure it is.

A data-driven strategy
Few people know this better than Blair McHaney, a 40 year industry veteran and owner of two WORX (workout prescription) fitness facilities in Washington State, US. McHaney is also founder and CEO of Member Experience Metrics (MXM), a research, consulting and educational firm.

MXM is a corporate partner of Medallia, the customer experience management software supplier that works with companies such as Airbnb and Mercedes. MXM uses Medallia’s technology in its consultancy work with its 700 client clubs.

McHaney also employs Medallia in his own facilities to design data-driven member-experiences. “We practice what we preach in our own clubs,” he says. “Our clubs are our laboratories.”

Medallia SaaS platform
The Medallia SaaS platform allows users to establish in broad terms how gym members feel, and what they’re thinking, about their club. What do they like or dislike? What would they like more, or less, of? What issues are they concerned about?

That information is put in the hands of owners, managers and front-line staff to drive improvements.

“Understanding your members’ concerns is essential to your reopening success,” says McHaney. “One of a club’s most valuable assets, as we come out of this crisis, is hearing the ‘voice’ of the consumer. If that’s not a leading indicator of what’s happening in your club, you’re flying in a thick fog without instruments.

“Club operators should be listening to their customers, doing their best to improve operations, and monitoring feedback to anticipate and exceed their new expectations,” he says. “You can’t market your way out of the pandemic. You can only behave your way out of it.”

Customer insight
Since April, MXM has been using a lockdown survey system – a combination of two surveys that encompass the lockdown and startup phases of clubs’ reinvention – and using this to support the two WORX gyms, MXM clients and also the wider fitness industry.

The system (details at the end), enables operators to add their own logo, incorporate it into an email, send this out to their members and then use the reporting and analytics provided by MXM to mine the data for insights about member attitudes and behaviours.

The picture that emerges provides a guide to what clubs have to do to gain (or regain) the trust and business of members and prospects. Find out more at www.HCMmag.com/MXMsurvey.

What’s being learned
As facilities worldwide reopen, it’s clear customers will judge whether re-launched businesses sink or swim. “You need to communicate and to convince, through your daily operations,” says McHaney. “You may think you’re succeeding, but you won’t really know until you hear it from your customers.”

Five steps to safety
Based on member feedback, McHaney has developed a template, called Five Steps to Safety, that operators can draw on when formulating their reopening plans
Blair McHaney
1. Encourage every member to roll up their sleeves and clean

Do everything possible to make it simple for members to police themselves when it comes to cleanliness and responsible behavior. Do your members know what’s expected of them? Rules and regulations should be specific and easy to understand and implement. If there’s a violation, there should be a clear and well-defined follow-up policy.

2 Ensure every member of staff is a compliance ambassador

“Two factors critical in driving customer loyalty are cleanliness and staff friendliness,” says McHaney.

“You have to teach staff to be compliance ambassadors, in order to sustain cleaning practices, while remaining courteous. Club operators need to set and enforce clear standards for performance, while maintaining a delicate balance.”

3 Distribute cleaning substances widely (and keep them full)

This is one of those issues that needs to be revisited regularly on the basis of member comments or surveys. “You think you have enough spray bottles or sani-wipe dispensers out there, but then you get feedback saying, ‘It’s too hard to find a spray bottle,’” observes McHaney. “You think, ‘I was sure 50 was more than enough,’ but your scores are soft on this, while the edge on member’s voices are hard.”

Once, while reviewing his research, McHaney found one word kept surfacing. “The word ‘empty’ started to appear a lot,” he recalls. “It was a revelation. Not only do you need wipes, towels and cleansers; you also need to make sure containers are never, ever empty. It only needs to happen once and people remember.”

4. Be generous with the hand sanitiser

Battery-powered sanitiser dispensers should be available both outside and inside the main entrances, in locker rooms and in high-touch areas. Other tools for minimising contact and contamination include battery-operated soap dispensers; automatic doors and foot and forearm door openers.

MXM’s data indicates that making hand sanitising easy is critical to members’ likelihood-to-return. “You don’t have to have hand sanitiser stations everywhere,” says McHaney. “You could, for example, distribute hand sanitising bottles with your club’s logo on them, which members can refill as needed.”

5. Educate, market, and advertise

Make sure members know in detail all you’re doing to keep them safe: “You’d better be good at communicating that you’re best-in-class at doing this,“ says McHaney.

Signage and well-informed staff should inform customers about the importance, and benefits, of the club’s new operating procedures. Videos explaining and extolling its behind-the-scenes practices to guarantee member safety should also be prominent on the club’s website and social media pages.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Jacob Lund/shutterstock
Jacob Lund/shutterstock
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/2020/680279_389340.jpg
'You may think you're succeeding, but you won't really know until you hear it from your customers' – Blair McHaney
Blair McHaney, IHRSA, Kristen Walsh,customer insight, reopening gyms
Latest News
Hundreds of thousands of small companies in the UK – including those operating in fitness ...
Latest News
Boutique gym attendance and class bookings in some world regions have bounced back to around ...
Latest News
The government has further extended protection from rent enforcement activity until the end of the ...
Latest News
Town Sports International – which operates a raft of brands, including the New York Sports ...
Latest News
Wearable tech firm Formsense has secured a technology partnership with an inter-interdisciplinary team of researchers ...
Latest News
Les Mills has launched a trio of digital solutions to help fitness operators shift towards ...
Latest News
Sport England has launched the latest edition of the popular This Girl Can campaign, celebrating ...
Latest News
COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it – and the fitness industry with ...
Latest News
PureGym has secured a £100m cash injection from shareholders to help deal with both the ...
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Organised fitness, sports and other leisure activities (including swimming) can continue despite the introduction of ...
Latest News
A study by researchers at Emory University in the US has shown how exercise can ...
Opinion
promotion
The pandemic has thrown a new focus on health, with sales of body composition analysis equipment at an all-time high, as InBody’s Francesca Cooper explains.
Opinion: Gyms add body composition analysis and health screening to their offering following pandemic
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Myzone kicks off #WorkOutToHelpOut campaign
In response to the UK government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, Myzone has launched the Work Out To Help Out campaign.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Volution explains how to drive the lifetime value of members through virtual engagement
In April 2020, two-thirds of the world’s gyms went into temporary closure due to COVID-19.
Video Gallery
A new Zone is here
MyZone Group Ltd
A new zone is here for your club, for your members and for you. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Harlands Group
Harlands Group is the leading provider of membership management services to leisure operators, processing over ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Volution
Volution uses data to connect the digital with the physical and partners with health and ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Digital gym floor
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
22-23 Sep 2020
Heythrop Park, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07 Oct 2020
Online, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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