Additional Insights from Professionals on Club Management Software
Club management software has really grown with the advent of Cloud Computing, which has lowered the barrier to entry for small and mid-sized clubs, by making it affordable and simple enough for even small teams to incorporate CMS into their business. In addition to reducing costs and making their management system available from anywhere, a cloud-based CMS allows a club’s customers to take advantage of online and self-service features, which gives the club an on-demand business model that they didn’t have even a few years ago.
The CMS becomes the central hub for all of a club’s marketing data, combining demographic details and knowledge of a contact’s specific interests with the tools to act on that data. With an integrated e-mail campaign capability, along with the ability to process transactions and payments online, club management software gives the club’s marketing and sales departments a winning combination.
A good CMS will offer intelligent, detailed reports on a customer’s activity and status. Knowing which customers are missing appointments or have membership contracts about to expire helps a club act quickly to retain these customers. Smart marketing targets the specific interests of customers, keeping them engaged — proactive, automated messaging reminds customers about important dates and keeps them coming back.
Sales are the wheelhouse for a good CMS, making it quick and easy to manage everything from membership contracts to t-shirt sales. With capabilities for automated payment schedules and online payment processing, higher collection rates mean more money coming in, while detailed reports can help catch customers that fall behind in overdue balances. Tie these together with your online marketing strategy, and the CMS becomes an extra salesperson on your team that’s on the job 24/7, and accessible from anywhere.
The club’s CMS can be used for a wide variety of everyday tasks, from tracking client check-ins and attendance, to managing, scheduling and appointments, to acting as the point of sale for concessions and services. Every aspect of the club’s daily activities can be tracked within the CMS, such as employee time clock-ins and sales commissions, equipment usage and locker room management, and cash drawer reconciliation. Combining all of these activities into one centrally managed system makes running a club easier, more efficient and more profitable.
Frank Piringer, is the marketing implementation manager for EZFacility. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516.336.6528.
Early CMS systems were basic desktop software systems locally hosted at the clubs that allowed them to perform check in, EFT billing, member management and basic reporting. It was also very common for clubs to have one system for member management and multiple non-integrated systems for sales prospecting and scheduling, as well as a separate website.
In today’s CMS software you see fully-integrated, modular software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems, with scheduling, marketing, sales prospecting, point of sale, self-service capabilities (mobile and web), more sophisticated reporting and third-party web service interfaces, complementing the traditional member management functions.
The member database in the CMS system provides the key data necessary to effectively market to existing members. Most CMS systems provide interfaces that allow retrieval of relevant data for marketing purposes. A few CMS systems also have integrated sales prospecting functionality that provides the ability to manage the sales cycle. These systems allow clubs to e-mail selected prospects based on interests or call-back dates, generate form letters to prospects based on defined criteria and track the sales person’s activities with each prospect throughout the sales stages.
The best CMS systems make it easier for club employees to provide superior service. Some examples of this would be streamlined front desk modules with fast and flexible check-in capabilities, and easy access to member payment, balance and billing information, so that the staff can answer member questions quickly and easily. Member self-service websites and mobile capabilities (e.g. access account history, usage and online statements; schedule classes, services and appointments; pay online; and update your billing information); join online websites and mobile capabilities (join online as a member or guest); allow members and prospects interactions with the club to be convenient, quick and easy.
The best CMS systems do a very good job of automating paper-based processes. Some examples of this would be electronic agreements (fully electronic member agreements, electronic signature capture and the flexibility to change and rewrite agreements). Another example would be allowing a member to have multiple agreements, so they have the flexibility to have more than one contract with unlimited forms of payments (i.e. member facility contract is on a checking account, locker agreement is on a credit card, PT agreement is on a second credit card, etc). Finally, having a fully-integrated-touch-screen capable point-of-sale system in your CMS system will allow a staff to quickly take payments in real time.
Chris Millner is the general manager of Fiserv Club Solutions. He can reached at email@example.com or 800.324.9800.