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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/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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promotion
While much of the fitness industry has reopened its doors across the UK over the past weeks, many members are yet to return.
Opinion: Re-engaging your post-lockdown absent members
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Featured supplier news: INEOS: The future of hand-sanitising
As gyms begin to reopen, cleanliness and hygiene remain an essential part of ensuring staff and members are confident to return.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Celebrating the return of group exercise – Les Mills to host free ‘Fastest Way Back’ livestream event for the industry
Last month (May) saw the welcomed return of group exercise classes. Group exercise is the heartbeat for so many clubs, with in-studio and instructor-led live experiences at the pinnacle.
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
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Diary dates
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Locations worldwide,
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Messe Stuttgart, Germany
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Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
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01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
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
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/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
People with depression should be prescribed exercise and then monitored for the first 12 weeks ...
Latest News
Frequent strenuous exercise increases the risk of developing motor neurone disease (MND) in people with ...
Latest News
The UK government has extended the ban on commercial evictions until 25 March 2022. Announcing ...
Latest News
Operating a further four weeks at reduced capacity will place serious pressure on English fitness ...
Latest News
People experiencing homelessness are being offered free access to leisure centres by Oxford City Council. ...
Latest News
IHRSA has appointed Elizabeth Clark as its new president and CEO. Clark joins the industry ...
Latest News
Boutique studio operator TRIB3 has launched its own-brand range of luxury toiletries. The operator, which ...
Latest News
Rainer Schaller's RSG Group is bringing its John Reed brand of health clubs to the ...
Latest News
The government needs to urgently set out its plans to support physical activity and fitness ...
Latest News
Glofox will begin offering health clubs, gyms and fitness studios instant access to financing, following ...
Latest News
Hong Kong-based Bricks Group has revealed plans to launch its health club chain, U Time, ...
Opinion
promotion
While much of the fitness industry has reopened its doors across the UK over the past weeks, many members are yet to return.
Opinion: Re-engaging your post-lockdown absent members
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: INEOS: The future of hand-sanitising
As gyms begin to reopen, cleanliness and hygiene remain an essential part of ensuring staff and members are confident to return.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Celebrating the return of group exercise – Les Mills to host free ‘Fastest Way Back’ livestream event for the industry
Last month (May) saw the welcomed return of group exercise classes. Group exercise is the heartbeat for so many clubs, with in-studio and instructor-led live experiences at the pinnacle.
Featured operators news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Featured operators news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: Safe Space Lockers
Safe Space have over 25 years of experience in the UK leisure and fitness industry, ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Quoox
With more than 200 integrated features, Quoox is confident there is a solution for every ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Safe Space: Changing concept
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
28-29 Sep 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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