How member feedback can help you build a stronger brand.
Through the ups and downs of uncertainty for almost two years, fitness operators are craving assurance — especially when it comes to operations. One way to know you are serving your members the best is through collecting member feedback.
“The world is changing so rapidly,” said Scott Gillespie, the president of Saco Sport & Fitness in Saco, Maine. “One minute we’re in lockdown, the next we’re open with restrictions, the next we’re all good as vaccinations roll out and infection rates drop. Then we’re in a delta variant fear state. Each of these scenarios changes the consumers’ priorities and perceptions of the role we can play in their lives. If we’re not tuned into what our users are thinking, how can we possibly serve them adequately?”
Saco Sport & Fitness ensures they are serving members effectively through MXM’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) email surveys and platform. Additionally, every day surveys are responded to personally, and if needed, sent to the appropriate manager. In their weekly managers meeting, the member engagement scores are the first items they review as part of their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This information tells the team how they are trending. Themes are uncovered, and solutions are generated and implemented.
“When we started collecting data, we had an NPS score of 45 — pretty good, but not good enough,” said Gillespie. “The algorithms in the software uncovered our greatest potential area of impact to affect our NPS and ‘likelihood to stay’ scores. Although there were many areas we needed to improve, this helped us choose which areas to focus on and how to allocate our resources. Within a year we had elevated our NPS scores to 75 and are now among the top 5% of clubs in the country. Without those algorithms, we would not have known where to best allocate those resources.”
Another fitness facility that is using software to help them collect member feedback is 9Round. While they collect feedback in a variety of ways, their main platform is Listen360. This technology allows them to reach out to active members and ask them to rate their experience every quarter, which is just enough to keep tabs on regular customers, but not too much that it becomes a nuisance. Heather Hudson, a co-founder and the COO of 9Round, said they love the way Listen360 helps them gather feedback for their business. In fact, she highly recommends it.
“Customers have more choices than ever before and with our high-end boutique customers, we know if you aren’t delivering the level of service they expect, then they will find somewhere else that does,” said Hudson. “You must pay attention to what your customers are saying about your business and encourage loyalty by loving on them, no matter how long they’ve been there. This is the age of the customer, and if you’re not listening to what they have to say, then you’re making a huge mistake.”
Listening to members and collecting their feedback is just one step in the process. You also need to act on what your members are telling you.
“Why collect customer feedback in the first place if you’re not going to use it,” said Hudson. “We always intend to correct things when we receive negative feedback and to incorporate more of what our members are loving when we get positive feedback. This helps us learn how to better interact with our members in the future to improve our business. And if the feedback is positive, then we use that as fuel to keep going and keep doing our thing.”
While opening up to be critiqued can be uncomfortable, it’s vital to help serve your communities the best way possible and to continue to grow your brand. Hudson said it’s key to always approach member feedback with an open mind and not to take things personally.
“You can’t go in closed minded and assume the customer is always wrong just because the feedback may be negative,” said Hudson. “Customers’ opinions of your business matter, and they should be taken seriously.”
Overall, member feedback provides you with an abundance of information that can help you improve your offerings. However, not knowing what the information means or focusing on the wrong numbers can make you miss out on ways to better serve your members.
“Be careful of acting only on anecdotal data from the vocal minority,” said Gillespie. “If you’re not strategically collecting member feedback on a large scale and organizing it, and understanding it and how important each theme is, you are missing a massive opportunity to better serve your customers and build a stronger brand.”