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In a World of Uncertainty, One Thing We Can Count on is Change

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Social distance rules now dictate our contact with each other in social settings, including health clubs, gyms and studios. Since no one knows what the new normal will be, I have a few suggested changes for your club operations to help maintain social distance

Use a card on file for credit card purchases: When members want to make a purchase in your club use a card on file to make the transaction. This eliminates the need for anyone to touch a credit card terminal, and pass anything back and forth with you. Your point of sale/club management software may have this feature available — if you aren’t sure, call and ask. In some cases, depending on the amount of the purchase, you may not need a signature at all (ask your merchant provider or legal advisors for guidance on that).  

Paperless contracts: If you haven’t done so already, now might be time to implement an online join process. This allows the joining member to electronically sign and print documents themselves. No need to pass paperwork, credit cards and pens back and forth. Your website should easily direct those wanting to join to the sign-up process, and inform them of all options and club benefits they can receive. A member can tour your facility and use their smartphone, home computer or tablet to join — no need for paper at the club. Talk to your club software provider to see if you can add this. In some cases, it may cost you a bit more, but it will be worth every penny. If you choose not to offer the online join, another avenue to consider is paperless contracts. This would mean the member is present in the club and will have to electronically sign an agreement using a signature pad or similar device, but you wouldn’t necessarily have to print the contract.

Online class and personal training scheduling: Some members are going to want to take classes and meet with trainers. There may still be distance stipulations which may dictate decreased participant allowances, but if you are able to offer classes and training, booking/scheduling online will be beneficial. Having this online presence allows members to book and pay without having to interact with anyone. They book, pay and show up — that’s it. You can limit the number of people allowed in the class and record who showed. No need to hand out schedules or field multiple phone calls — just add a link to your website so members (and non-members, if allowed) can browse your offerings and sign up for what they want.

Member portal: An online member portal is a great way to let members manage their accounts. Accessing accounts receivable information, submitting billing change requests, printing copies of paperless agreements and paying balances could all be options (it depends on your software provider). No need to have them come in and fill out paperwork, pick up copies or call in. You should be able to add a link to your club webpage to allow members to login. 

Smartphone check-in or staff check-in: Once members start showing up at the club, make sure you are allowing them to swipe their own key tag or use their smartphone to record the check-in. 

If you don’t use either of these options, check them in manually. Your management check-in software should have a way for you to look up the member and manually check them in. You aren’t going to want to pass a keytag back and forth with the member.

These changes may become regular practice even after this uncertain time, or you might just need them until times change. Members will be happy they can manage their account and scheduling related needs on their own, safely and easily. Check with your management software for options and make sure your website is up to date with links that allow members to access all the features you offer. 

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Susanne Nauseda

Susanne Nauseda has an exercise science degree she put to use in the industry for 10 years prior to joining Twin Oaks Software, where she has worked for the last 17 years. Contact her at 860.829.6000 x 269 or snauseda@tosd.com.

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