front desk help

Your Management Software Solution and Your Front Desk

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If you ask yourself where your facility’s nucleus of member service lies, what is your answer? The front desk? Most likely. It’s where almost all member-related activities take place, and it serves as the main communication point for prospects, members, trainers, sales staff, instructors, and managers. At the same time, chances are you rely on a management software solution that is the beating heart beneath your front desk, a system that, for starters, organizes, maintains, and stores member information and allows you and your staff to access that information instantly and easily. Given how important a software solution is to your front desk’s functioning, it’s crucial to ensure that the two elements—the desk and the software—are fully integrated. Here are a few ways to do so.

First, train front desk staff completely. If your software system is going to fulfill your needs, your staff will have to know how to optimise its capabilities. A software solution package should come with training support (if you’ve purchased one that doesn’t, it’s probably time to shop around for a better alternative). Sign up with your provider for a training course, and be sure to sign your key staff members up as well. Moreover, know how to answer your employees’ questions about the system (and where to go for answers if you don’t have them). At base, you — and at least some of your employees — should know how to use the system to process payments, manage sales leads, attract new members, retain members, address attrition, and forecast revenue. Get up to speed on anything you’re unsure about, and keep your employees up to speed as well.

Once you know your front desk staff is using your software system to its full capacity, you’ll want to focus on how well your security procedures integrate with your system’s security features. Management software enhances front desk security in a number of ways. First and foremost, it can pop up photos of members as they check in, allowing staff to verify that the member and the person present are the same person. Moreover, your management software can help you fine-tune access to your club. Member-specific features, such as image capture and fingerprint scanning, help deter nonmembers from entering. These features also can help alert front-desk staff if memberships are past due or expired, allowing them to deal with issues on the spot.

On a lighter note, your software solution can help enhance member experience by providing your staff members with instant, member-specific alerts. If someone checks in on their birthday, you can configure your system to display a happy birthday message, so that front-desk staff can convey their wishes on behalf of the facility. If someone is recovering from an injury that they have reported to your facility, a message to that effect can pop up, allowing staff to enquire about their progress. All in all, the front-desk experience can become a more personal and enjoyable one, helping to create an atmosphere that keeps members coming back (not to mention renewing their memberships and spreading the word to prospects).

One more feature of your management software solution to pay close attention to when it comes to front-desk business: back-up. As with any system that channels important information, your management software solution requires efficient data backup and storage. Find out what kind of backup/restore utilities are available with your system. How frequently does your software transmit information from your facility to your provider’s mainframe, and how often is that mainframe backed up? Do you have online access to member information? The last thing you want is for front-desk staff to be checking someone in, only to find out the system has crashed. Be sure to institute a regimen of periodically backing up your data, whether by archiving it on another network computer located off-site or distributing it to removable storage media. Review your regimen with key employees, and check it occasionally to be sure it’s functioning as intended.

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Matching Future Goals with Software Solutions

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When it comes to facility management software, it can be difficult to know what product will be a good fit for your company. What features do you assess in order to make a determination? How can you know, before putting money down, whether a given product will be right for you?

One factor that can set a product apart from others is what is planned for it in the future. As Athletic Business magazine put it in a recent article, “What are the vendor’s future plans — and yours? Given how rapidly technology is evolving, this might be the most important question to ask once you have your priorities in mind.” The question is crucial not only because of the pace at which technology changes but also because, as a business, your facility must grow in order to thrive. If you invest in a software solution that will not grow with you, you’ll find yourself in a few years having to choose a new solution all over again — or having to figure out how to live with an inadequate one.

To understand what a vendor plans for a software product’s future, you need to know two things: what additional features a company has in development and how your own needs might change. In talks with salespeople, ask what features the vendor plans to implement in the future, and when implementation is expected to happen. Some particular features to consider inquiring about: mobile compatibility (if the software doesn’t already have a mobile feature, will it? Will it work on all devices?), simplified registration for and checking into group fitness classes (will the software solution allow for one or two clicks that let members efficiently register or check in?), encryption techniques (will software updates include whatever encryption technologies are most cutting edge at the time?). Also, think about your particular future needs. If you’re a college rec center, perhaps you plan to offer occasional outdoor adventure programming — does the software solution you’re considering allow for this, or might it in the future? Are you considering implementing wearable integration, and, if so, can the solution support this?

Clearly, you need to undertake some self-reflection before you begin asking about the future of a given product. If you haven’t already, sit down with your core team and brainstorm how you want the next five years — and the next ten and fifteen and twenty years — to look for your facility. What’s your wishlist in terms of general development and growth? What do you imagine for your facility particularly in terms of technological implementation? What do you hope your management software will be able to do for you down the road? Once you articulate answers to such questions, you can begin to understand the kinds of questions you need to ask about management software products. Don’t be afraid to get carried away. If you envision eventually have a sixty-foot rock-climbing wall that ascends from the deep end of a swimming pool, but you currently have no wall and no aquatic center, make sure your management software package either has the capacity to handle a climbing-wall-cum-swimming pool or will have it. Anything you can project as a possible reality for your facility, you want your software to be able to handle — if not now, then at some point.

So think ahead, think big, and ask questions about what’s to come.


How a Software Solution Could Maximise Your Time

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If you run a sports center, health club, gym, or niche exercise venture, chances are you don’t have enough time. It would take someone superhuman, after all, to open a facility early in the morning; oversee employees, attend meetings, troubleshoot, pay bills, coordinate with contractors, and do all the other zillion things required of business owners (including maybe even running a class or a training session or two); perform end-of-the-day accounting and shut-down routines (the end of the day often being 10 p.m.); and tend to post-work familial and social obligations while still having time leftover. Never mind finding the hours needed to grow your business in whatever way you dream of growing it.

Where Does a business software solution come in?

Software packages designed for the sports and fitness industries automate many of the processes that consume a great deal of time if you do them by hand or using basic word-processing or spreadsheet programs designed for other purposes. Business software solutions produce user-friendly reports, convey messages to employees and members, send out automatic notices to collect member dues, schedule trainers and instructors, track equipment, manage leagues, provide marketing tools, and much, much more. Automating these functions gives you more time for the things you want and need to get done. It also gives you the security that comes with knowing that one, overarching system is running your entire operation.

How do you choose the solution that’s right for your facility?

First, you have to know what needs the software must meet. Take the time to study your current business requirements, design, and mission. Review the hardware and software you already have in place, and analyze their current strengths and shortcomings. Consider also what kind of financial investment you are willing and able to make in a software package. (If all of this seems like too much of a burden on your already stuffed schedule, consider hiring an organizational analyst who can come in, determine your needs, and make recommendations. Sometimes having an outsider’s perspective is more helpful anyway.) A key part of this step: Consider not only what your business needs now, but also what it will need a year, five years, ten years down the road. You don’t want to invest in something your business will outgrow quickly.

Second, consider security.

With each passing day, more and more business applications use the cloud: that mysterious, invisible place where so much of the world’s data is stored. The more applications that use them, the more vulnerable businesses are to hackers and malware. Before you choose a software solution, ensure that the company that provides it has a reputation for security. Ask what security options the software includes. Does it encrypt stored data? What level of encryption does it support? Doing your homework in this area could save you many headaches down the road.

Finally, don’t evaluate just the software — also evaluate the vendor.

You don’t want to choose a company that executes great ideas poorly or mismanages its people or products. You do want a company with proven vendor stability. That’s not to say it has to have been around for decades, but the executive team should include industry leaders. You should consider the size of the vendor, what its core business is, and whether its software truly supports the sports and fitness industries.

Finding the right software can mean reduced expenses, increased profits, happier employees and members — and more time for you. If you’re not already using a software solution, start looking into the possibilities today. And if you are, consider an overall assessment to be sure the one you’ve got is the best one for you.



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Add to the Client Experience with Nutrition Complete

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Over the last decade our industry has seen a boom in the latest gadgets and innovations revolving around fitness equipment within the club. However, the same old problem remains – your members are leaving. The fact is, approximately 80% of members who join a gym are coming to lose weight, but rarely do they ever succeed. Although members may lose 400 calories by running on a treadmill for 60 minutes, they do not always meet their goals. Why? One reason is that, when members leave the gym they often times consume twice as many calories as they have burned, mainly by eating the wrong foods. Achieving weight related goals is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. “We are what we eat” and your members need a helping hand to achieve their goals. Otherwise they are going to become disillusioned and leave, again and again.

Nutrition Complete is the only proactive nutrition tool designed specifically for the health and fitness industry. While members enjoy the benefits of improved health, saved money, achieved goals and a more organised lifestyle, the clubs are benefiting from a value added upsell to existing membership fees, extra revenue and better retention:

  • Personal Dietary Profiles will help your members to discover their nutritional needs by displaying recipes and meal plans that will suit their age, weight, height, gender, activity level and diet types for each day.
  • Personal goal setting will allow members to enter their goals and keep track of their progress.
  • Powerful recipe search–powered by–will allow users to filter and search through millions of healthy recipes by meal type and preparation time.
  • Add beverages to your meal plan and know how many calories are consumed with each drink.
  • Shopping list generation and delivery. Nutrition Complete integrates with allowing members to purchase ingredients online from their favourite supermarket and delivered directly to their door. On top of saving time on shopping, it also helps members to compare prices across all major supermarkets, resulting in massive savings on their grocery bill.
  • Meal plan/ Recipe Printing. Members can save their meal plans, create shopping lists, and print both.
  • Controls portion sizes allowing members to lose weight effectively.
  • Dietary option templates to suit everyone`s dietary preferences including: vegan; vegetarian; pescatarian; red meat free; gluten free; dairy free; nut free; shellfish free; seafood free.
  • Meal statistics will show the percentage of RDA for each member that their current meal provides, for the selected day.
  • White Label. Want to create your own brand and use your own colour schemes? Nutrition Complete can be fully tailored to fit with your brand image.
  • Add your own recipes and meal templates for your members and decide which locations and members can view them.
  • Integration with Fitbit makes goals tracking just easy. No need to record your progress–everything is done automatically.
  • Members can subscribe to free motivational e-mails to keep them going.
  • Recipe rating will show you the most favorited recipes and allow you to rate them.

Learn more by visiting

Addition of View Details Option on E-mail Campaign History Page and More!

Addition of View Details Option on E-mail Campaign History Page and More!

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Our Development Team is constantly working to improve your user experience with EZFacility. Between major updates, we release small but important Features and Fixes that address issues and add useful new options/tools to better help you manage your business. These changes are documented in our Release Notes, found in our Support Center under the “Product News & Updates” section.

In a world full of numbers it is easy to get lost in them. From what’s in your bank account to the number of clients that pass through your facility each day. Our last release featured the introduction of the Email Campaign History page, which, not only gives you the ability to see previously sent emails, but also allows you to report on their success or failures using numbers. With that in mind EZFacility’s Development Team has taken that concept one step further with the release of a “View Details” section of the Email Campaign History Page and more!

View Details- Email Campaign History

In the Email Campaign History section of your EZFacility account you will notice our newest feature – View Details. Our goal for adding the View Details section was to associate a name and purpose with email campaign results. This allows you to better understand and analyze the reach and depth of your campaign efforts.


Clicking into View Details will automatically display campaign result totals for a variety of industry standard email event types. These results can be broken down to include the email address of the recipient and an event time stamp that allows you to view statistics as they happen. You can also filter through campaign information using criteria such as email address and event type.


Email Results Recorded:

  • Delivered: Message has been successfully delivered to the receiving server.
  • Open: Recipient has opened the HTML message.
  • Click: Recipient clicked on a link within the message.
  • Bounce: Receiving server could not or would not accept message.
  • Dropped: Recipients IP address has been added to the blacklist.
  • Spam Report: Recipient marked message as spam.

Display Available Openings Remaining on an Online Registration Form

In an effort to make Online Registrations as efficient as possible, our latest release includes the ability to display the remaining openings available on an Online Registration Form. When your clients first view this page they will be met with the available openings remaining totals for creating new subgroups and individual registrations. For those clients who will be looking to register for a sub group, the sub-group openings will be displayed when viewing the list of subgroups.


Note: The number of available openings remaining is based on the “Max. Individuals” and “Max. Subgroups” set in the group details.

Update to Our SPAM and Security Settings

With our latest release we have made an update to our SPAM and security settings. Now, when sending an email blast, the ‘From’ field will be changed from your facility or personal email address to [email protected], while still displaying the name of your facility at the top. Be assured however, that when a client replies to a sent email, it will be received by the user that sent the email blast and not EZFacility. This change is for security reasons, and is being implemented across the industry for SPAM prevention. Email providers such as Yahoo and AOL already require this change and are beginning to block emails that are sent ‘on behalf of’ another email address.


And More!

In addition to these changes, there were many additional updates included in this release. For more details, please visit out Release Notes page.

New Email Campaign History Page and More!

New Email Campaign History Page & More!

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Our Development Team is constantly working to improve your user experience with EZFacility. Between major updates, we release small but important Features and Fixes that address issues and add useful new options/tools to better help you manage your business with EZFacility. These changes are documented in our Release Notes.

Sending a carefully choreographed email campaign regarding special events, news items or promotions can lead to increased revenue and a larger client base. However, have you ever sent an email campaign and been left wanting to know more? For example, what email campaigns have I sent, how many clients did each campaign go to or how many of those clients had invalid email addresses? EZFacility’s Development Team has released a brand new feature, Email Campaign History, that focuses on those very questions!

Email Campaign History

In the Administration section of your EZFacility account you will notice a newly organized Email Campaign section that houses our newest feature – Campaign History. Clicking into Campaign History will provide access to the riches that are your previously sent email campaigns! Clicking into Campaign History you will see the last 20 sent email campaigns displayed automatically. However, not only can you just view campaigns, you can also search through previous ones using criteria such as address, subject, and date.

The Campaign History list will show the:

  • number of clients attempted
  • number of duplicate email addresses
  • number of clients with no email address
  • number of invalid email addresses
  • number of clients the e-mail was sent to

Add Multiple Email Addresses to a Client’s Profile

Understanding the need to have multiple email addresses saved for a single client, we have updated the client page to do just that. To begin saving multiple email addresses, navigate to a client’s personal page and locate the email address section. Entering an email address into the field and clicking the add button will include the address on the client profile. You will want to continue this process for as many emails as applicable. After emails have been added editing them is as simple as selecting the edit pencil to the right of each email address.

**Remember to click the update button on the client profile to save your changes**

And More!

In addition to these changes, there were many additional updates included in this release. For more details, please visit out Release Notes page.

Features and Fixes

Features & Fixes – Automatic Credit Card Notification Emails

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Our Development Team is constantly working to improve your user experience with EZFacility. Between major updates, we release small but important Features and Fixes that address issues and add useful new options/tools to better help you manage your business with EZFacility. These changes are documented in our Release Notes, found in our Community Center under the “Product Info & User Guides” section.

Have you ever tried to process a customer’s monthly membership or package renewal only to be declined due to an expired credit card? An expired card can lead to lost revenue and wasted staff hours as necessary follow-ups must ensue to acquire updated billing information. EZFacility’s Development Team has released a brand new feature that focuses on eliminating this all-too-frequent scenario – Automatic Credit Card Notification Emails.

Automatic Credit Card Notification Emails

In the Billing Preferences page, you can now choose if and when customers are notified that their credit card on file is about to expire. First, enable these notifications, so that the system knows to start sending these reminders on your behalf. Then choose whether the system should send notifications 60 days before expiration, 30 days before expiration, or on both days. Lastly, select whether these notifications are to go to everyone with cards on file, or just those who use their credit cards for Autopay.

Please note, credit cards saved on file are set to “Use for Auto Pay” by default and can only be changed if your account is setup to use direct debit.

And More!

In addition to these changes, there were many additional updates included in this release. For more details, please visit our Release Notes page.


3 Quick Ways To Streamline Scheduling

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These days, scheduling just one day in a single family’s life practically requires a PhD in metaphysical engineering. Your spouse is out of town, you have an important work meeting, you’re out of groceries, and the plumber is coming to fix your broken sink; meanwhile, one kid has to get to soccer practice, taekwondo, and a dentist appointment and the other has a dance class and a tutoring session. Figuring out how it’s all going to get done seems impossible.
No wonder running a sports facility can give you a headache. If coordinating four people’s activities in one day is complicated, what about coordinating fields, equipment, practice space, classes, and special events for hundreds of people over several months? How are you going to get it all done?
Of course, you already have systems in place for tackling this task, but can you improve those systems? Here are a few tips for streamlining:

1. Test Your Knowledge

If you use league scheduling software, make sure you know its capabilities. Sure, you know how to publish a schedule to your website (you do, right?), but can you schedule multiple divisions at once? Are you sure you’ve got the settings right so you avoid double booking? Are you accommodating team preferences? If your software doesn’t allow you to do all these things, it’s time to find a new one. If it does and you’re not sure how to do them, it’s time for a refresher course. Do some research online, or, better yet, call your software’s support line. If you don’t use scheduling software, oh boy. Unless you’re a tiny, boutique facility, offering just one sport and with only a small clientele, you probably really need some.

2. Setup Quick Group Meetings

Have weekly or daily check-in sessions with employees to make sure everyone knows what’s on tap, forestall any potential glitches, and fix any problems. Scheduling works best when all the people involved know about the schedule and have a chance to weigh in on it. You’ll be doing yourself and your facility a big favor if you create time for brief, frequent sessions to ensure all systems are go. Also! No matter how carefully you plan and check your plan (and double-check your plan), conflicts happen. Know your steps for handling conflicts; train your employees in handling them too. Remember the end goal: Keep the customers happy.

3. Make Time for Analyzing Mistakes.

Again, conflicts arise. If something has gone wrong with your scheduling despite your mastery of software, your open lines of communication, and your vigilant efforts to stay on top of things, you need to know what went wrong. It can be useful to have a flowchart of questions to help you avoid problems in the future (for example: Did I enter this team’s practice location change into the software correctly? If no, then learn how to enter changes; if yes, then did I check to make sure the change was communicated through the proper channels? If no, then…. You get the idea).
We tend to think scheduling should come easily to us, and sometimes it does. But your facility is a complex system. To maintain complex systems, small adjustments often are necessary—and they can make a big difference. Figure out what small changes you can make to simplify scheduling!

Information Is Power

Information Is Power

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All right, a show of hands please: How many of you have done your reports? Yes, that’s right: reports. When you hear the R-word do you break out into hives? Do memories of tenth-grade English class flood your mind and render you a sobbing mess? Do you start sweating, thinking about those all-nighters you pulled back when you would sit down around 8 p.m. to get started on a twenty-pager due the next day? Well, relax. That’s not the kind of report I’m talking about — although, like that sort, this kind also can mean the difference between success and failure.

I’m talking about reports you can use to measure and improve every aspect of your health center, fitness club, gym, or sports facility. Financial reports, booking reports, availability, payroll, membership, point of sale, inventory, marketing, participation, attendance, and system usage reports — all of these can give you vital information about how your business is doing on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. But only if you actually run them. And only if you know what to do with them after you’ve run them.

For this industry, having data available at your fingertips is vital. All day long, you serve members who want the best workout experience possible; coming to your facility might well be the highlight of their day. If you don’t know how packed your classes are, what marketing efforts have been effective in the past, what the daily attendance patterns at your facility are, and the like, then you don’t know how to provide your members with the tip-top service they’re seeking.

It’s not enough, however, just to run reports and have them available. You have to make sure your employees are trained in reading and analyzing the reports you run. Can your membership guru study the membership report and understand when and why new enrollments dip? Can your payroll director take a look at a report and determine whether there are payroll expenses you’re incurring unnecessarily? If you’re regularly producing reports (and if you are, good for you!), sit down with the employees responsible for studying them, and make sure they’re on the same page as you when it comes to understanding them.

Finally, know how to take action based on your and your employees’ analyses. If a booking report tells you your 12 p.m. Monday spin class is constantly over-enrolled, consider running a second spin class at the same time. If your inventory report shows that the women’s locker room runs out of towels every day at 5 p.m., you know you’ve got to get more towels in there, or make changes to your laundry schedule. Whatever the issue, when you’ve taken the time to gather and examine data that tells you how your club is doing, take action. Let the reports guide you in your decisions about which actions to take. Information is power, but until you make changes based on the information, it’s only potential power.


Got an App?

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It’s time we talked about apps. The fact is, if your facility doesn’t have one, you might soon find your business going the way of the 8-track cassette player and the fax machine. Websites alone don’t cut it anymore; customers expect your business to be accessible to them at any time of day, from wherever they are. That means if they’re at their kids’ soccer practice and they want to check your class schedule, or they’re walking down the street and they want to know your exact address, you better have an app for that. You need a quick, easy, smartphone-accessible solution to all of your customers’ needs.

Your customers aren’t the only ones who benefit. If you can provide them with palm-of-the-hand services, you’ll reap rewards yourself. A mobile app that gives you the ability to immediately update members with “Push Notifications” allows you to communicate quickly and effectively with your entire community about club changes, news, class availability, and the like. An app also can present you with an easy way to distribute information about specials, promotions, and coupons, drawing members in by keeping them on the look-out for deals from you. There’s another big bonus too: An app can be a selling point for new members (and it’s a must-have if the gym across the street has one).

But no matter how much easier an app makes things for you, what it comes down to is greater customer satisfaction. If you’ve got an app that complements your sports or fitness business — again, engaging members and clients when it’s convenient for them — then you’ll have customer satisfaction, which means improved retention. In addition to keeping clients informed, hooking them on promotions, and providing an easy way to book classes, you can offer an app that allows you to post motivational photos and videos, showcase members’ stories, offer fitness tips, and highlight new workouts. Your customers get what they need, and you get what you need. That’s what apps are all about.