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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


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.

Jacob Lund/shutterstock
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Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
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


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.

Jacob Lund/shutterstock
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+ More directory  
DIARY

 

22 Jan 2021

Spa Leadership Symposium

Online (Zoom),
02-04 Feb 2021

Beauty West Africa

Landmark Centre, Lagos, Nigeria
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS