The Client Journey
When setting your fitness business up for success, do you consider the client journey?
Many businesses I speak to set out their clubs, their culture, their processes based on operational requirements, staff coverage and sales. Quite often never even considering the experience from the client perspective. This is despite many spending hundreds of thousands of pound to create a great facility.
As human beings we have 5 main sense yet we often don't consider these and quite often it's simply visual aspects we look at. The club is well painted, bright lights, new equipment that looks great. We offer services we think they want such as a range of classes, personal training, social events and more. Whilst this is very understandable you could be missing more effective ways of ensuring success for your club
Now consider the impact if you could have if you look at our senses and the impact it can have.
This is important in the client journey as it will depend on who your market is. It is harder if you have a broad range of ages and cultures, however, if you are appealing to a specific market your music needs to match.
Having the right music or sometimes lack of music can have an immense impact. Your gym music should change depending on the time of the day and the clientele you have. No one wants rave music at 6 am in the morning, we are simply not ready for it. Many of the larger chains will, in fact, have audio systems designed to work on beats per minute depending on the time of day. The system will then play the appropriate music.
Consider different music for different area's, the reception area should be low music and inviting, pool areas are often quiet and tranquil. By getting this right you can set the tone of your club.
People react to smells differently and can have a profound impact on their experience of your facility. It's a basic that no clients want a smelly gym or changing room. However, this is not about just preventing smells but actually creating a memorable experience.
Your entrance should be inviting and can be designed around the season, mown grass, strawberries etc, your changing rooms should be fresh, such as fresh laundry, or male/female scents, the gyms should smell clean and vibrant, a citrus or orange smell often works well.
A good example of doing this is the Nike shops in America where they use mountain smells in their outdoor section, Wimbledon uses strawberry smells to sell their strawberries and cream, florists use flower smells to increase the desire for the product, these are not the actual flowers but scents that are sprayed out.
If you have a bar or lounge it can be a clever trick to have the smell of coffee or bread near the entrance to entice customers in
This can be anything from the type of carpet you have to the furnishings people sit on to the heat of the facility. You want clients to have a suitable environment to train in. Changing rooms should be suitable for your facility, if you have a pool they will be higher than if you just have a gym. The pool should be suitable for the activity its used for, is it a training pool, if so it will be around 21 to 25 degrees whereas leisure pool will be around 30 degrees.
If you want people to hang around in your bar, make it relaxing, make the client comfortable not just have standard chairs. Make it feel like their lounge at home?
This is also where you consider your staff culture, the hello and goodbye, the friendliness and feel of staff can create that unknown feeling of warmth and value for clients. Not all clubs though want warm and friendly, some want vibrant and exciting, others quite and professional. Chose what you want to be and work hard to create that feel. Make it happen not let it happen like many clubs do.
What you see is vital for those clients who are very visual by nature. This does not mean all clubs have to be bright and vibrant. again chose your style for the clients you want to attract. It's not a 1 size fits all. A hardcore weights gym needs to look that way, an upmarket country club again needs to match its market expectations.
However, you still have a massive role in creating this experience, through having the right equipment, the correct branding and design of marketing materials, ensuring the club is clean, signage and literature is well presented and staff are appropriately dressed.
When you look at the journey you need to consider setting the club out to be effective. If your client base is mixed think about how your nervous client will feel training next to your body builder type. Consider access to the studio and who can see. Do you want the classes on show to create a real vibe or kept away to allow privacy
The journey itself:
When looking at creating the journey you need to consider the points above. These will be determined by what your culture is. There are many different types of facilities from upmarket spa to hotel clubs, from cross fit to budget clubs. Whatever your style/culture you still need to understand what your client will feel and what type of client you want to attract.
Once you know this you need to put in place elements that can impact every part of that journey. consider:
The meet and greet
Club facilities - parking, reception, changing rooms, gym, pool, spa, studio
Staff contact points
Service contact points
Other member interaction points
You need to map fom start to finish what you believe the member journey looks like and how and when you want to intervene and influence that journey
From there you can develop your culture and have a direct impact on your clubs future