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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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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
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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
UK Health clubs, gyms, hotels, pubs and other leisure businesses will all receive a 50 ...
Latest News
Fitness First UK has changed its pricing structure and is now offering a flexible membership ...
Latest News
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
Latest News
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
Latest News
Anthony Hamilton, the father of F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, is launching a fitness equipment ...
Latest News
The pandemic has had an "unprecedented" impact on physical activity levels in England, with 1 ...
Latest News
The first énergie Fitness club has opened in Spain as part of a push for ...
Latest News
A global innovation competition has been launched to find ways to encourage and support more ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has acquired Body Fit Training in a deal worth US$44m. The deal takes ...
Latest News
Exercise has been highlighted as a crucial weapon in cancer patients’ battle against the disease. ...
Latest News
The global health and fitness industry is returning to a busy programme of live trade ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Will your business last without digital transformation?
During the pandemic, a digital transformation took off faster than anyone could have predicted with meetings in person cancelled and millions working from home.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Pulse Fitness completes transformation of The Laura Trott Leisure Centre gym
The Laura Trott Leisure Centre has recently undergone a significant transformation thanks to recent investment from Broxbourne Council and its partnership with Pulse Fitness.
Featured operator 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.
Featured operator 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.
Company profiles
Company profile: Xn Leisure Systems Ltd
Xn Leisure is a provider of cutting-edge health and fitness software, offering an exceptional service ...
Company profiles
Company profile: TRIB3 International Ltd
First established in Sheffield in January 2016 TRIB3 is a bootcamp boutique studio designed to ...
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
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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