To help health clubs experiencing financial uncertainty during the COVID-19 crisis, MXM announced it is offering four free services. Here, Blair McHaney, the CEO of MXM, describes these services and how they can benefit a health club during this trying time, in addition to explaining why clubs need to act with a level of urgency they have never experienced before.
CS: On our virtual roundtable last week, you announced your company is offering free services intended to help clubs. What are the free services you are offering and what value should clubs expect to receive?
BM: Well we have four free products and will do more if we can figure out the main value drivers out there and the things people really need in order to take advantage of this shutdown. There’s a big cost to you in the shutdown, but you can extract ROI out of it if you understand what your members are thinking and you’re making changes that reflect the members’ thoughts and feelings.
MXM Idea Lab
The first offering we’ve made available is the MXM Idea Lab. It is a crowd sourcing ideation and innovation platform, built on Medallia’s Crowdicity technology. On the Idea Lab we have posted several “challenges” that are the biggest concerns operators are trying to solve during this crisis. Anybody in the industry can come in and see ideas contributed by other operators, share their ideas about how to tackle those challenges, comment on ideas, add their thoughts and upvote ideas they like the best. The Idea Lab already has over 50 great ideas and hundreds of votes and comments. We are going to codify some of those and push them out as best practices to the industry. That was first and we are getting immediate traction.
MXM Shutdown Survey
Our next big offering is what we are calling our MXM Shutdown Survey. It is free to any group out there whether you have one location or a thousand. There are no strings attached, and we are not asking for access to any club member or other data. We provide a link to the survey, our subject line recommendation, as well as the email content we recommend. Operators should send this to all members who visited in the three weeks prior to the shutdown. That way, clubs capture feedback from the members who visited as COVID-19 became top of mind and fears were rising.
We built the survey using data from our customer base that shows the four key topics around COVID-19 that are most important to club members. We’ve created the right questions and the right metrics for you to intake so you can start to take action right now. You’ll also see what is most important to those members when they think about coming back into your club and you will have crystal-clear reporting to help guide smart decisions during and coming out of the shutdown. Every club company out there should be taking advantage of this survey-system right now. Move quickly so you have the information to act on.
Shutdown Survey for Employees: Coming Soon
We’ve heard from many operators they are focusing a lot on their employees. So, we are also developing a shutdown survey for employees. This is not a traditional, anonymous employee survey. This is to really understand employee concerns about coming back to work and what ideas they have for improving employee and member experience. One more thing about this: it is one thing to keep pushing out digital exercise content, emails, social media posts and the like. It is quite another when you ask someone for their opinion. This is a much different type of engagement and keeps them more tightly moored to you and communicates you really care about them.
Healthy Club Survey: Coming Soon
Lastly, we will provide a free Healthy Club Survey for when you reopen. These metrics will tie back to the shutdown metrics so you can understand if the things you executed during shutdown are translating as you intended once members are coming back and using the club.
That’s the four: Idea Lab, Member Shutdown Survey, Employee Shutdown Survey, and the Healthy Club Survey. Please take advantage of these free services!
CS: Why offer free software? What is your goal with this?
BM: Our goal is to provide as much value as possible as we can to the fitness industry. We have the capacity to build the exact product operators need to optimize their operations and to move from being fearful to taking action that will have a real financial impact.
When IHRSA was cancelled, it seemed highly inappropriate for us to keep doing business as usual, asking clubs who are shutdown, “Hey, do you want to buy our software?” We just immediately shifted to the highest and best value for the entire fitness industry. If, on the other side of all of this, you choose to do business with us than great! If not, that is great too, as long as we gave you value.
CS: How is your business handling the COVID-19 crisis? When IHRSA was shutdown, you seemed to almost have something out there to help the industry immediately. How did you get these items executed so quickly?
BM: Well, about two weeks before IHRSA, we asked ourselves the question, “What would happen if IHRSA was canceled?” Our team got together and we started to think about what we would do. We immediately saw we could do something with extremely high value for the industry and that really shifted our focus. We decided the highest and best use of our product team’s time was to create something everyone could benefit from in a time of deep crisis and financial constraints. We determined products we could deliver for free to anybody in the industry that will help them survive, optimize the downtime, and then bring them information that will help them accelerate out of the shutdown. At MXM, we are all energized by being able to produce products that are zero cost and extremely high value. That’s what we focused on early and allowed us to get out in front just as the shutdown started rolling across the U.S.
This is a very challenging time, however our business is actually well positioned to ride this out. Because we consider ourselves to be first and foremost a partner to the industry, we’re suspending payments from all of our customers who are shutdown, which is most of them. However, we were fortunate to arrange an investment from our partner, Medallia, last year that gives us a solid cushion to keep our product and services team at full strength, building and supporting these free products as well as all of our customers who continue to access their data.
CS: You have mentioned clubs need to act with a level or urgency they have never experienced before. Why?
BM: I was at Medallia in 2009 at the start of the worst financial crisis of our lifetime. Medallia sold their customer experience management product right into that crisis because a lot of companies had an existential threat and were concerned about being wiped off the face of the earth. Smart companies knew they could not come out of this crisis and thrive unless they put the customer at the center of everything they did. That brought a lot of large enterprises to Medallia with this real sense of urgency to put the customer at the center and really understand the customer experience. Over the next decade those companies were the winners. There will be winners and losers coming out of this COVID-19 crisis. There is an immediate opportunity for those who understand this. It is in a crisis like this that customers will see the broad difference between those that are mediocre and those that are excellent. This crisis will move with much greater velocity than the financial crisis of 2008 to 2010. You need to be looking at customer experience data right now for those members sitting at home. You need to understand their fears so you can take that information and act on it through their eyes as you come out of this.
MXM Shutdown Survey for Employees: Coming Soon
MXM Healthy Club Survey: Coming Soon