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4 Ways You Can Turn Your Facility Into A Summer Oasis

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You’ve been there, walking in a world that’s basically the inside of an oven. And when the world is an oven, just about every place that’s cool is a refreshing break from the heat. With that in mind, turning your facility into a place to escape the heat can bring in a bit of summer profit.

So…how? Remember the second step in our Blog 5 Ways To Overcome Gym Membership Retention Challenges? That’s right, incentives and rewards. The simple act of giving a small gift can do member retention wonders and we’re going to revisit that idea but this time, under the lens of a summer season perspective.

Advertise your water

Water. Water. Water. It’s important more than ever to stay hydrated in the summer but still, we can often forget that. We go on trips without a beverage and we feel it just about everywhere in our body. When you’re craving water, you need it, now. If I was thirsty while walking in the summer heat, I’d run to the nearest water fountain or bottled water provider. In the season of scorching heat, a nice sign outside your center advertising water could very well drive some local joggers into your facility. Heck, you could do a free water period for members to encourage and reward your clients.

Summer Merch Sales

When summer is around, having an extra pair of everything is almost a necessity for anyone. There are two great experiments to try if you have merchandise to sell at your facility. The first is the opportunity for a sale on winter and fall items and the second is a tactic to increase audience engagement. The summer sale on winter merch is self-explanatory. Select which out of season products you wish to discount with the intent of retaining clients for the colder seasons now that they’ve bought workout clothes with your business on it as a reminder. There are endless approaches to a sale of course. You could even go a step further and attach discounted memberships for the fall/winter seasons if clients spend a select amount on your merchandise. Now the step to increasing audience engagement would be to make the summer sale accessible to members who sign up for a particular class or new members.

Free Giveaways Through Engagement

When it’s free, it’s got someone’s attention. Let’s say you have 100 t-shirts you’d like to get rid of. Put up a sign saying you’ll give them out for free to the first 100 people on a Monday. If they’re a member add a discount to upcoming classes along with the shirt. If they’re new, ask for their contact info in exchange for the free shirt . But let’s say only 50 people entered your facility on Monday so you still have 50 shirts left. Repeat your giveaway strategy to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but limit your supply of shirts to 10 each day. It is now Friday and you have 20 shirts left so you decide to raffle 10 to the your members and 10 to new members who previously gave their contact info. By the end of the week, you have no more t-shirts and a handful of leads to reach out to during the colder seasons.

Introduce an R&R Space

When your work out you’re not just thirsty. You’re hungry and tired and not every facility is going to have a café running inside it or a place to lounge for a few minutes. (If your facility does happen to have a café inside, share on social media #EZDoesIt and we’ll share it on our Twitter and Facebook pages!) However, the presence of a separate station for food and drink can boost the interest level among clients. If there’s no room in your facility to make a rest stop, advertise your facility as a delivery friendly location. (Sounds like the perfect time to team up with some of your local eateries near your facility!) Build a connection going and turn your spot into a place people go to workout and relax. When summer arrives, it can be quick—so there’s no time to lose! Be the first fit summer oasis spot in your town!


The Ventriloquist, The Magician And The Right Magic For Your Business. PDF Edition

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The following is an EZFacility blog that was printed in the National Fitness Trade Journal Spring 2017 edition.

Manager, Director, Leader. These are some titles you’ve earned before becoming the business owner. As the business owner, you have effectively attained the right to control your business identity, and every business owner of course, should have control.

The funny thing is though, clients want control too and in today’s digital environment there are many ways to pull off the ol’ smoke and mirrors trick to keep clients happy while still guiding the identity of your business.

But this is where we should stop.

A big aspect of your business identity is its relationship with your clients. Tricks should never be an approach to any relationship not the start of an honest business. It should also never become a last resort for any matter of business because then the business identity turns into The Ventriloquist, making clients “believe they are in charge” when they’re actually the dummy, thus increasing the risk of a fallout.

To read the full blog article in PDF format,please click this link or the image below


5 Methods of Communication Due For A Comeback

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You need to contact a client and are considering between a phone call or an email. After a pause, you choose email. Ideally immediate results follow, the clients response is swift, and you move on now that your objective is complete….or is it? We all want to keep our clients happy and we all hope we are doing everything to ensure that they’re satisfied at the end of the day. Yes, we hope. But do we really know for certain this is true? Here are some methods of consistent engagement to utilise so you can ensure a healthy, happy client relationship to maintain.

1: Positive Body Language

Chances are you can remember this exact moment. Think of the last time you raised your hand for a high-five and received nothing in return. It certainly makes an impact and you probably remember the person. This is the power of a bad impression and it can be quite a powerful thing. So what can be done? You’ll be pleased to know the answer is practically effortless. Just like a good pre-workout stretch, opening up your body and standing up straight enables a confident atmosphere for both you and your client. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association , something as small as a firm handshake leaves an impression of extroversion-one of the utmost ideal traits of an entrepreneur. We also recommend keeping those arms unfolded and open for interaction to create an environment of approachability.

2: Handwritten Cards/Letters

Yes emails are easier, but Grandma still mails you birthday cards doesn’t she? And they’re signed in that unique penmanship that makes you think of her and her only? Maybe there’s also a little drawing or message attached. Something that becomes a symbol of them and their love. While we probably don’t want your client to love you like Grandma does, we can agree they should feel content at the mention of your name and or business. Of course like Grandma you should stick to about 1-2 cards a year maximum.

3: “Lets do Lunch”

Think of treating your client as you would a new friend. Recommend them locations of local parks and healthy eateries local to your business. Work these mentions between conversations with existing customers and make flyers for newcomers. A good way to remind clients that you care is to hand out coupons relevant to your suggestions. If a client declines these suggestions or offers-make note of it. Even if there’s no connection at the end of the conversation, there still was a takeaway moment to learn from the experience and in time, develop a different angle of approach.

4: Courtesy Calls

Try not to let “Goodbye,” be the last thing you hear from a client on a daily basis. Through follow up phone calls or emails- you can turn that “Goodbye” into a “Thank You!” or maybe even something better! If using a phone call follow up, use this opportunity to ask questions that flesh out your client as a person-“We’re doing a birthday checklist and noticed you’re not listed. Want to sign up?”. If your emailing, you can use this moment to attach a quick survey for feedback. On the off chance the follow-up proceeds to a negative response-this gives you a heads up to rectify and learn from the situation. An unsatisfied client that is willing to communicate is more than likely to be accommodated than one who chooses to suffer in silence. On the flip side however, initiating a follow up call or email gives the silent sufferer an opportunity to voice their opinion.

5. Asking More Questions!

It’s time to one up your client trivia by using EZFacility’s CMS where the most detailed account profiles are made possible. When you think about it, account profiles are absolutely everywhere from Panera Bread to AutoZone, but how personalized are they beyond a name and a birthday? How much easier would it be to add new programs to your business if you knew what activities your clients enjoyed the most? By using EZFacility’s CMS you can get started on your next move.

If you are wondering more about effective examples of gym management software, we recommend signing up for a free demonstration of one the most highly experienced, ranked, and trusted gym management software solutions.


Customer Service: One of the Most Important Features of a Software Solution

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For most fitness businesses that employ a comprehensive software solution, it’s impossible to imagine day-to-day operations without that solution. And these days, it’s almost impossible to imagine a fitness business that doesn’t use a software solution. Fitness facility management software allows for the optimization of resources; the streamlining of daily tasks; the automation of payments, reports, and communication; and the maintenance of member profiles and marketing efforts — among countless other benefits — to a degree that simply can’t be achieved without software. Yet, what good is any of that if the program you’re using fails in the customer service and support department?

Even if you’ve got the absolute best-performing software solution imaginable, if that solution doesn’t provide a top-quality customer service department for training, support, and troubleshooting, it’s ultimately not worth much. This is the case in all industries, but it’s especially key in the fitness industry, in which software solutions are so integral to the running of all aspects of a business that the customer service you provide depends on how well your software is running. If there’s a glitch, or if you just have a simple question, you have to know that troubleshooting is available immediately and efficiently.

How do you judge the quality of a software program’s customer service? First, check out the product’s website. The support feature should be prominent and available with a single click, and it should quickly and clearly explain how to reach a customer service representative. Ideally, it offers both a phone number to call and an online form you can submit. If you fill out an online form, you should receive an answer promptly. Both online and phone responses should be polite, friendly, and helpful, and the representative you’re dealing with should bend over backwards to make sure your questions are answered and your needs are fulfilled, and that you’re walking away a satisfied customer. If any of these elements are not in place — you can’t find the support page easily on the website, there’s no phone number to call, there’s a number but your call is handled incompetently, you submit an online request and do not hear back within 24 hours — you might be using the wrong software.

In addition, your software support team should offer training. There should be online courses that quickly, clearly, and effectively show you, the end user, how to optimise the product, and there should be opportunities for personalized training support. Again, if the product you use does not offer these customer service basics, you’re probably using the wrong one. After all, what good does your software do you if you don’t properly understand how to use it?

Ultimately, the management software solution you purchase should be backed by a company that employs an easily reachable team of dedicated, knowledgeable professionals who genuinely care about your business. If it’s lacking in that department, you would do well to seek out a software package that fulfills that most basic of business needs: help and support.

gym community

Creating Opportunities for Better Mental Health

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Philadelphia’s Drexel University recently installed a mental health kiosk in the lobby of its recreation center. Part of a pilot program initiated by the nonprofit organization Screening for Mental Health, Inc. and the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health & Intellectual Disability Services, the kiosk enables users to conduct quick, anonymous self-assessments to gauge their risk for mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders, and provides information about the next step to take if treatment seems warranted.

Gyms, health clubs, exercise boutiques, and sports centres could take a cue from Drexel. After all, creating opportunities for fitness is about more than just encouraging people to keep their bodies in great shape. And retaining members requires efforts above and beyond simply providing the equipment to help them meet their weight-loss or fitness goals. It’s also necessary to promote overall wellness, so that your members leave your facility recognizing the degree to which it enriches their lives. If the physical part of the wellness equation is taken care of but the mental part is ignored, then they won’t feel they’ve achieved true fitness.

So maybe it’s time to consider how your facility could help members and clients work on their mental health alongside their physical health. Installing a kiosk like Drexel’s is one way to go. When your members come in for a workout, they could stop by the kiosk and take a self-assessment to determine whether their mental wellbeing is at risk. If so, depending on their results, they could get specific guidance regarding helpful steps to take for prevention or healing. Another option might be hiring a full- or part-time psychotherapist or licensed social worker. It might sound strange, but if you conceive of your facility as one with a mission to provide a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, it makes good sense. After or before a workout, or after performing a self-assessment at the mental health kiosk, members could sit down with the onsite therapist to discuss what’s troubling them.

Can your facility accommodate a pet room? If so, consider taking on board a therapy dog; this, in fact, is another approach that Drexel has undertaken. Drawing on studies that have shown that playing with a therapy dog can reduce blood pressure and lower anxiety and depression, the university’s recreation center hosts its own therapy dog (Jersey), who is available for sessions to help students cope with stress.

Other possibilities: Invite speakers knowledgeable on mental-health topics to address an audience made up of your members (and prospectives) and answer questions they might have. Hold a mental health fair, inviting local agencies, mental health providers, and meditation experts to come set up booths where your clientele can explore options for mental health upkeep. Increase your yoga, meditation, and other mind-body offerings, explicitly pitching them to members as initiatives designed to help them identify and/or address mental health issues.

For several years now, as gyms, sports centres, and other fitness facilities have expanded their offerings and redefined the concept of the health club, colleges and universities have been similarly expanding the role of their campus recreation centres. The campus rec center model, with its focus on providing educational programming and activities that aim to introduce lifelong habits for a healthy lifestyle, might be a good one for the fitness industry to adapt. The better our members and clients feel, and the more attention we pay to their overall health, the more likely they are to retain their memberships. And that’s ultimately what we want: for them to feel good enough that they keep coming back and keep coming back.

Keeping Your Facility Germ-Free-- And Your Members Happy

Keeping Your Facility Germ-Free—and Your Members Happy

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In 2008, IHRSA published the Guide to Health Cleanliness, which highlighted the startling results of a survey: More than 90 percent of survey participants said they were more apt to renew their membership with a health club facility if the facility was clean. That might not be so surprising, but here’s the shocking part: Only slightly more than half said they would renew if the facility was not clean.

Keep in mind that this was six years ago, before the Ebola scare, before enterovirus D68, before super-strong strains of the flu were floating around. With these threats around us, and with media hype that frequently blows such threats out of proportion, it’s little wonder that health club and sports facility users are even more cautious than they used to be. Add to that the fact that we’re smack in the middle of cold season, and you’ve got potentially a lot of skittish members on your hands who want assurance that their health is protected when they’re using your facility.

What can you do to reassure them? First of all, make sure you’ve got a plan for keeping your place as clean as possible. Review your cleanliness policies and procedures. Are they up to date? Do they follow best practices? Are they generally in keeping with standards set by the Centres for Disease Controls (for example, wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or rub an alcohol-based sanitizer on hands for 15 seconds before and after workouts; shower after workouts; avoid walking barefoot across exercise floors and locker rooms)?

After you’ve polished up your policies, start thinking about your staff. Do they know the policies? Do they know what to do if they’re sick (best practices say they should stay home)? Do they know what tasks they should take responsibility for in order to help maintain the highest standard of cleanliness possible? Organize a mandatory staff meeting solely around these issues and make sure everyone is on board. Do frequent walkthroughs with a cleanliness checklist to make sure rules are being adhered to.

Finally, communicate directly and explicitly with your members about cleanliness in your facility. Send out an email explaining your concerns during the season, highlighting the steps your club is taking to stay as germ-free as possible, and asking members to remain aware of ways in which they can help contribute to a cleaner club environment. List specific tips, like the Centres for Disease Control standards shown above. A post on IHRSA’s blog describes an email Newtown Athletic Club recently sent to its members. Linda Mitchell, Newtown Athletic’s director of PR and Marketing, devised a letter with the subject line “Healthy Facilities Initiative.” She and her team carefully worded the letter, avoiding making any promises but being sure to explain procedures. They assured members that maintaining a clean facility is a top priority. Then they described new procedures being implemented and outlined member responsibilities. Mitchell told IHRSA that the email had an unheard-of 35 percent open rate—to her a clear indication that members were hungry for information about facility cleanliness.

Ultimately, you want to make your members feel secure, and you want them to know you welcome their questions and can answer them satisfactorily. Over and above that, you want to keep your facility as germ-free as possible — for your members’ sake, but also for your own and your staff’s. Provide a safe environment, clearly communicate the details about how you’ve done so, and keep everyone feeling strong and healthy all winter long.

Face Time

Face Time

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In this digital age, it’s possible to go for days without seeing another person and still be in constant contact with others. Texting, emailing, social media, video-chatting: All which create a level of communication unheard of in previous decades. But guess what? Health club members still prefer in-person interaction with staff than communication via technological device.
A study in the recently published IHRSA Member Retention Report, lays out the details on this topic. Conducted in partnership with The Retention People, IHRSA’s study draws on survey responses from more than 10,000 health and fitness members in the U.K., who answered questions about their exercise habits and membership behavior between July and September 2013. The survey showed that an overwhelming 87 percent of respondents value interactions with fitness staff. The clincher? Less than half—43 percent—of respondents feel they have such interactions.The other clincher? Despite everything you constantly hear about how crucial it is to have an effective social media campaign—to get out there on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to try to speak personably and familiarly with members via those platforms—only 34 percent of respondents said they value social media updates. Almost twice that number—65 percent—said they value receiving emails.
Considering the numbers, it’s worth devising a strategy for increasing face time between staff and members in your own health venue. This goes for sports facilities, too. The nature of the exercise business is interdependence—whether you’re talking gym, niche studio, or batting cages. Members depend on trainers, instructors, front desk folk, and support staff, and vice versa. So anything you can do to foster interdependence is going to result in a happier customer base—which, in the long run, means better retention, more word-of-mouth advertising, four-and-five star ratings on social media, and ultimately more members.
How do you make interactions between staff and members the norm at your facility? Make proactive interactions a requirement for the job: Staff should know, even before they’re hired, that you have high expectations for warm, interpersonal, and in-person communication with members on a daily basis. Have a greeter at the door, and give them a script that includes introducing him or herself by name, welcoming members, shaking their hands, and offering to help them with anything they need. Instruct front-desk staff to smile and to try to learn members’ names. Trainers and class leaders should also learn members’ names and should go out of their way to talk to members. In the weight room and cardio court, and on the ground at sports facilities, they should circulate and check in with members, ask how they’re doing and whether they need anything.
As for out-of-club communications, remember almost twice the number of survey respondents prefer email to social media interaction. Maybe it’s time to step back from your social media activity and refocus on effective emailing; the more personal the better. Consider a gym management software that allows for direct email blasts and the ability to group clients into categories. For example, create an email group called “New members” to track clients who have just signed up. Then, devise an email campaign where your staff sends a “checking in” email once a month for the first few critical months of the client’s membership.
Service of this sort takes your club or sports facility to the next level. If members feel you truly care about them, they’ll be coming back and telling their friends to do the same.

Making Your Facility Intimidation-Free

Making Your Facility Intimidation-Free

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Have you ever felt close to convincing an on-the-fence prospective member to join your facility, only to have them back away in the end because they’re afraid of being intimidated? In surveys, intimidation is one of the most common reasons people give for avoiding sports and fitness facilities—and we’ve all seen the Planet Fitness “No Gymtimidation” commercials. Of course, the people perceived as intimidating in your facility might have no intention of scaring others away—in fact, they’re probably among your best customers, and you don’t want to do anything to alienate them. But there might be one or two super-serious exercisers who get a kick out of flexing their muscle, literally and figuratively, and scaring others off what they think of as their turf. What can you do to help limit intimidation in your facility?
To begin with, foster a sense of community. If your place feels like a cooperative, supportive, noncompetitive, accepting one, you’re less likely to find yourself trying to manage bullies, or even just dealing with members who perceive others as intimidating. This, in fact, is what the Planet Fitness ads are all about: They’re a way of saying, “Everyone here is in this together; everyone is welcome.” To create an environment with a similar message, try posting signs that convey your facility’s inclusiveness. Come up with your own “No Gymtimidation” slogan and plaster it around. Make sure your staff, including front desk folks, sales people, trainers, and locker room attendants, infuse the place with friendliness and respect. Tolerate expressions of judgment from no one.
Also, if you’ve got a core group of intimidators (intentional or not), try to harness their excellence for the benefit of your facility. Maybe organize a “Masters Circle,” or something similar. Personally ask your most intense, serious, and possibly bullying members to join. Give the group workouts appropriate to their level—and give them a talk, asking them to be aware of members whose skill might not match theirs. Explain how new members, whether novices or experts, are crucial to the long-term health of your facility, and ask them to be a force for good within the facility, maybe offering to help less experienced members or generally just to project friendliness. In effect, you want them to be ambassadors to your sports or fitness center.
Another approach: Rely on your trainers and instructors to keep things fair. When a class is packed and there’s an aggressive push to get to the front row, a mindful instructor can choose to spend at least part of the class at the back of the room, turning the back row into the front. That way, everyone feels like they get fair exposure to the lessons being taught. Trainers can keep a watchful eye on exercise equipment and cardio room usage, making sure no one’s hogging a particular machine or staking out personal territory. Instructors and trainers often have direct access to clients and members in a way that other staff members do not — they see them regularly and often build up a rapport with them. They can use their familiarity and rapport to make sure everyone gets a fair shot, and intimidation is not a factor.
The bottom line is that your facility should feel like a fun, relaxing place for each person who uses it. If that’s the case, then everyone wins (including you). It’s worth spending time thinking about how to create the kind of environment that welcomes everyone, and how to make it clear to prospective members that “everyone” includes them.


Keep Your Clients Motivated

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Keep Your Clients Motivated Around this time of year, there’s a lot of motivation in the air. Even people who avoid making resolutions find themselves catching the New Year’s bug, and they and the resolution-makers alike launch fresh exercise schedules, re-dedicate themselves to weight-loss plans, research new fitness programs to try, and put their workout-related holiday gifts to use. All well and good, but by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, a lot of that motivation fades away like a bouquet of old roses.
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Can Your Staff Adapt to Client Injuries?

Can Your Staff Adapt to Client Injuries?

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Can Your Staff Adapt to Client Injuries? I had a nice little visit to the emergency room the other day. I injured my foot, and I wish I could say I did so while training for a marathon or participating in an Insanity workout or some such thing, but truthfully I was just racing my seven-year-old downhill, and I landed on it awkwardly.
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