Group X: Pros and Cons of Online Enrollment Systems

Following up on my last blog regarding online enrollment systems, I wanted to share the experience we’ve had so far since installing ABC Financial. As you will recall, I wanted a system that would enable easy registration for group fitness classes. Below I have listed the pros and cons of the new system.

Pros:
1. Elimination of frantic member phone calls to the front desk during prime-time hours for class sign-up.
2. Elimination of member frustration due to miscommunication with front desk staff regarding class sign up.
3. Front desk staff can now focus on attending to new arrivals/potential members rather than being tied up with current members.
4. Front desk staff has more time to make shakes and sell other goods.
5. Members have grown to really love the convenience of managing their own membership experience.
6. Members can manage the following online: update personal information, view/update billing information, make a payment, view agreement information, view payment history, view check-in history, enroll in group fitness classes, and purchase products and personal training packages.
7. Gym managers spend less time updating member information and spend more time focused on sales.

Cons:
1. There was a two-week adjustment period to make sure that staff is well trained and members are educated.
2. Members might be resistant to change.
3. Older members who are not computer-savvy will need extra attention in the beginning.
4. Registration should be easier. Currently, the member must enter their first name, last name and agreement number to register. If the any of this data was entered incorrectly, then the software will not recognize the member. This includes any name misspellings.
5. If the e-mail address given is false or incorrect, then members will not receive confirmation when enrolled in a class. In addition, members will not be able to reset usernames or passwords. Please keep in mind that members frequently forget usernames and passwords.

Is converting to an online solution worth it for a gym operator? If your gym population is growing and you need to keep track of group fitness offerings, then I recommend that you convert. As an operator, you will be able to make better and more informed decisions as to which classes you offer and which you should eliminate. I will blog more in the coming weeks with details and helpful hints to make your conversion a smoother process.

 

Joseph Duffy has been in the fitness industry since 1990. He has taught group fitness classes at multiple clubs, and currently is the director of group fitness at Boom Fitness. Duffy has his own consulting business that assists owners with building group fitness programs from the ground up, as well as providing scheduling and staffing input. He can be reached at jdny1@me.com.

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