Club management software can help you do all of those unsexy things you dread doing as a business owner, from billing, collections and data collection to point of sale and report generating. However, did you know that club management software (CMS) could also help you manage your members’ experiences, leading to happier members and a fuller club?
For Josh Harwood, the senior vice president of operations for Fitness Connection, having a CMS that allows his members to “self-service” their accounts is imperative. Jonas Fitness has provided Harwood’s members with such a capability through Jonas Fitness’ “Member Self-Service” mobile site.
“Self-service” can include web logins, mobile-ready access, signed membership agreements and billing history, and allow members to add club services and book personal training appointments. According to Don Michael, the national sales director of UFC® Gyms™, it’s beneficial because it puts the power to manage the club experience back into the members’ hands.
“In many cases, it’s more convenient for your members,” explained Michael. “If they can update their account information online, then they do not have to make time to come into the club or interrupt their workout to address it.”
In addition to self-service, many software systems allow members to manage their overall experience — not just their billing accounts. For example, UFC Gym chose ClubReady, a web-based club management software, in part due to the fact that ClubReady boasts a feature called “The Member Wellness Portal.”
Aside from self-servicing accounts, members have the ability to set fitness goals, track their progress online and design menus — all through The Member Wellness Portal.
“It’s a pretty in-depth program,” said Michael. “We realize that the more tools we can provide our members [with] through their fitness journey, the more likely they are to reach their fitness goals and the longer they will stay active.”
For Stefan Witt, the owner of The Gym on Locke in Ontario, Canada, Go Figure Inc.’s CMS provided Witt the opportunity to engage members at his 24/7 club — even when staff members weren’t there. Members of The Gym on Locke gain entrance to the club by swiping their membership card. As soon as they gain entrance, a TV screen near the front reveals information generated by Go Figure Inc. — information such as workout history, personal messages including birthday greetings and reminders to update their billing information.
“A lot of people really enjoy that,” said Witt. “It gives them all of their information, and some members even end up visiting the club more often to get their monthly visits up.”
Additionally, it’s important to look for a CMS that can track whether or not members want to communicate with the clubs. In addition to Jonas Fitness, Harwood has also used ABC Financial in many of his clubs to manage data.
“Tracking whether members have opted into electronic communication methods and then using these features to deliver pertinent information — that will strengthen the relationship with your customers,” said Harwood.
CMS that can help you manage and track members’ behavior can help improve the member experience in the grand scheme. It’s important, said Harwood, to understand member patterns and be able to present this information in an actionable format.
“This could mean in reports or dashboard displays, or in handing data off to third-party applications geared to communicating targeted messages to these members,” he explained.
Throughout the year, UFC Gym conducts surveys through ClubReady in order to gauge members’ experiences and opinions. “The information that we have gotten through these surveys has been instrumental in designing our processes and our training,” said Michael.
For example, through a recent survey, Michael was able to garner valuable information about the club’s member referral program. “When we asked our members what type of rewards they preferred when referring a new member to our clubs, we discovered ways to fine-tune our program, to better fit the requests of our members,” recalled Michael.
Within the first couple years of The Gym on Locke’s opening, Witt would generate a report through Go Figure Inc. that detailed members’ usage data — how often they checked in, and for how long. According to Witt, this helped him track members whose club usage had dropped, and reach out to them to see why they weren’t visiting the club as often.
“The non-user report would track who hadn’t been to the club in 60 days,” explained Witt. “I would then e-mail them or call them directly.”
This helped with retention, by allowing Witt to engage members and hopefully remedy their inactive membership. “If you can keep people engaged and active, you can increase retention,” he said.
To provide members with top of the line digital experience, search for a CMS that will assist you in engaging with and retaining members. If you find the right CMS partner, you’ve crossed the initial line in improving member-to-club connectivity, creating a satisfied membership.
Dale Ley, Marketing Manager for Affiliated Acceptance Corporation: “Determine who isn’t regularly using the facility by viewing check-in history to re-energize them. Utilize automated reporting and intuitive contract entry to free up time to interact with members, ensuring they stay active and smiling.”
Jennifer Hutchinson, Marketing Manager for ABC Financial: “Club management software will free up your staff and allow them more time to provide a high-quality and engaging experience for your members.”
Carole Oat, National Sales Manager for Twin Oaks Software: “CMS can help with member engagement and retention when used to actively show, not only a member’s picture, but when they may need to renew their membership, personal training package or even if it’s the member’s birthday that day. Tracking usage for members allows the ability to recognize, and reward, high users for their excellent attendance, and for clubs to seek out the low users to encourage coming back in, and getting active again. Other CMS features upfront to assist in management of a club include prompting desk staff when an incoming member has a balance due, or perhaps their credit card on file has recently expired. This will help keep the member account current and not fall into default.”
Tamara Valdez, Executive VP of Marketing for ASF International: “We feel that CMS provides several tools to enhance the member experience and increase retention. From using the check-in screen to customize member messages for birthdays and renewal reminders, to running attendance reports, to reach out to missing members, CMS acts as a great utility tool your staff can use to increase interaction with members. Member check-in is the perfect opportunity to use the member’s name, remind them of training appointments, renewal information and verify account status.”
By Rachel Zabonick