Why Empathy is Everything in 2021
Ben Hackney-Williams, the head of content at Myzone, shares how embracing empathy will allow you to better serve members.
So many platforms for post-pandemic advice are full of opinions based solely around how the fitness industry has traditionally been known.
It’s more than just about old school approach versus new generation, though. Subjectivity determines whether one is better than the other, but we need both. The gym doors are open and everyone is always welcome, but remote classes are here to stay and people now expect an online offering. Note that it’s not an us and them battle between bricks and mortar or digital; it’s more than what many are rounding up to be a hybrid offering.
Parallel programming can bring together a community like nothing else. It empowers word of mouth marketing and encourages those who haven’t ventured into the gym to do so. Likewise, it means more members are likely to try a class at home or outside at a time when usually they wouldn’t be engaging with your brand.
Being able to take part in the same classes with your community at the same time, regardless of whether you’re at home or in the gym, is going to be a huge difference-maker. The important thing is that digital allows us to continue providing what each member wants, not just telling them what we have in one physical space.
Think about healthcare. If you go to the doctor and they tell you what you need before they’ve asked you what’s up, it’s a little off-putting to say the least. Now is the perfect opportunity to ensure that we have the means to meet members where they want to be.
Perhaps more importantly for growth, now is the perfect time to show prospective members empathy and that we’re willing and able to provide for them where they want to work out. This is especially true as we have the communities that have not only survived the pandemic but thrived, even if it’s been a struggle as a business.
When someone wants to come back to the club after closures or restrictions, perfect. If they want to join a class experience from the comfort of their living room, also perfect. If they want to run outdoors or swim to get away from the daily grind, great. Through the right applications and service adoption, you can engage with them all. Goals for fitness and physical activity have not changed as such, but they’ve advanced and there’s no going back.
Embracing empathy from this point on will allow us to better serve our communities, understand how we can forge partnerships for the greater good, align our businesses more as healthcare providers and be seen as more than just fitness. Let’s not waste the opportunity to evolve.