Going the Paperless Route

Everybody wants to go paperless. Paperless contracts, paperless upgrades, paperless everything. It’s a great way to go, as you no longer have contracts to run out of, chicken scratch letters to decipher or attempts to figure out if the final number of the member’s Visa is a three, an eight or a disfigured five.

It is a given that going paperless is cleaner and more organized than having paper contracts, and it looks more professional to have all of your documents filled out and stored on the computer. Plus, your conscience will be cleansed when you realize that you and your club are leaving a smaller carbon footprint and helping to preserve the environment.

So, why aren’t more club owners going the paperless route? The bottom line is most don’t have enough dedicated membership computers to successfully run a paperless system. You need an open and available computer for every new, renewing or account-changing member. So if they have three new prospects waiting to join and you don’t have a dedicated computer available for each person, you will create a bottleneck or gridlock at the front desk.

That is where the online kiosk comes in. An online kiosk is an internet based, new member joining system that is clean looking, inexpensive and best of all, easy to use. It allows new members to sign up on their own, at the club, with a system that flows as smooth as gravy.

Whether you have a sales team, a dedicated tour specialist or a combination of both, your club will benefit from an online kiosk. After the tour, the prospect can be walked over to a comfortable sitting area and offered a water, coffee or smoothie and then guided by the employee to choose the online offer that is best for them.

The process is seamless and simple; the new member joins, pays and inputs their recurring billing information for future billings — all online. Then they walk over to the front desk to have their picture taken and receive their key tag. No dedicated computers are needed, there are no problems with employee input errors and no need to wrestle with the member’s bad handwriting. The online kiosk can even up-sell the member by asking them if they would like to add a training package, child care or any other non-dues revenue stream.

The best part is that the kiosk system is relatively inexpensive. Any tablet, netbook or laptop will work, as long as it has an Internet connection. A club with wireless Internet can set up three to four kiosks for the price of one computer.

How you decide to set your online kiosk system up is at your discretion — you can go simple and have a tablet that you hand the prospect, or you can have an elaborate membership area with comfortable chairs and encased tablets that are fixed to a table. Either way, you are freeing up some valuable resources: your staff and your computers.

Kiosk service is more than the way of the future — it is the way of the present. Your potential members are conditioned to use kiosks and are comfortable doing so. Look more professional and technologically savvy, while reducing employee efforts and redundancy in data entry.

 

Eric Claman owned two clubs in Torrington, Connecticut: Pinewoods Health and Racquet Club for 23 years and Energy Fitness for four years, before selling both and accepting a consulting job at Twin Oaks Software Development in 2011. He can be reached by phone at 866.278.6750 or by email at eclaman@tosd.com, or visit healthclubsoftware.com.

 

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