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22 August 2022

How to deliver the ultimate individual service at scale

The new generation of training gym exhibits a much greater awareness of the breadth of population, as opposed to solely focusing on the 10% who are naturally inclined towards attending a facility facility.

Much of the general public is "turned off" by the cliché perception of training gyms, which is still being perpetuated to this day by social media images of chiselled trainers with top-knots flexing their muscles in front of racks of dumbbells. [Some might argue that a top-knot has never been acceptable, but that is where we're at.]

An ever-greater percentage of the public want to get fit and, most importantly, stay fit - but within a sustainable regime that is realistic towards the realities of the world. As the next few years tick by, this will increase further and the gyms that have been market leaders in recent years may find themselves starting to struggle to be relevant.

#Gen3SGPT gyms are built around the individual member and their specific needs. These facilities champion body positivity, embracing the fact that people of all shapes and sizes can enjoy good health & wellbeing. 

Good coaches & equipment are simply not enough

We're no longer sat in 2015, where you could sell a gym membership by proffering the "best coaches"; "brilliant programming"; "the best equipment"; and, of course, "community". In 2022, these things are the absolute baseline for being able to open a facility and start trading. They are no longer unique selling points, and it's slightly tragic that they ever were.

The concept of small group personal training (SGPT) remains prominent, and will continue to be for foreseeable future. However, in recent times, the foundation premise of providing individualised service in a limited group environment has been very much watered-down.

Group sizes have started to creep up - from 4, to 6, to 8, and some even as many as 10. That isn't "small group"!

Furthermore, personalised service has increasingly taken a back-seat, and it has turned into little more than a smaller version of large group training. Many facilities don't even pre-emptively prepare for the members they have coming in, let alone making the effort to see if anything has changed since their last visit.

The fact is that delivering personal service isn't easy. It never has been. It requires a genuine dedication to 'deliver more', and for the entire facility team (from coaches to backroom admin) to all be pulling in the same direction. This is where many of the 2nd generation SGPT facilities are falling down, and their once bright stars are now starting to dim.

The good news is that, for the new generation of SGPT facility that is genuinely and unwaveringly committed to providing the very best service, the opportunities are enormous. This comes both in terms of the broader audience that they attract, and also the premium fees that it can readily command. As an additional bonus, IHRSA studies have demonstrated, "the more [clients] pay, the longer they stay".

Say goodbye to the one trick pony

It is human nature to construct groups. This simplifies life considerably. Too many coaches in Gen. 2 small group facilities treat their attendees as if they're "all the same".  "Fitness for over 50's" works as a marketing message, but it does not translate into anything meaningful in the training facility. Everybody is different, and this is a core fundamental understanding of the Gen. 3 facility.

Many small group facilities (and indeed some larger facilities, like F45) implement the "high intensity" model that has been very popular in recent years - dark, moody lighting, and a sound system that makes the floor shake. This creates some brilliant, exciting, effective workouts - but there needs to be variety. In the years ahead, the gyms that will survive will need to have more than just the one 'trick'.

Modern facilities deliver a wide range of class types and styles to their clients, with the ability for them to move between them at will. Activities available tend to extend beyond 'traditional fitness', with some including mindfulness classes; painting; sculpting; etc. As well as providing the clients variety, some of these broader classes can be great for community building and a lot of fun!

Most importantly, the new generation of small group training gym not only appreciates that the bulk of the member's life occurs outside the gym, but actually builds their processes with that in mind. In the last 7-10 years, gyms have delivered things like recipes, nutrition plans, etc., but they have often been more of a "box ticking exercise" than a considered, holistic product offering.

Delivering the goods

A premium service accrues a premium price. It is critical that you set your price point at the level that matches the level of service you will be providing. Trust me, people will pay for quality.

Providing the corresponding quality of service still requires graft. It always will, but this is what you're being paid for. That said, there are things you should must put in place to help you deliver and to do so in an effective manner. #Gen3SGPT gyms backup their top 10% personnel with the very best systems.

The ultimate client service is both proactive and reactive.

In many cases the members don't even know or care who owns the facility - it should not be relevant to their wellness journey.

Proactivity involves a constant, planned flow of content and resources to the members. Recipes and nutrition plans are great, but the modern fitness facility goes much further, stretching into broader wellbeing, life skills, and life hacks.

All content should be provided to your clients in an easily digestible format, readily at hand when they need it. If you are using multiple systems to deliver your content and are requiring your members to log into multiple platforms, you're onto a loser. Your members simply won't bother, and your effort will be wasted. Your gym management system should be designed to provide a single portal for your members for consumption of their entire wellness product.

Whilst nurture programs are commonplace for encouraging leads to convert to members, you should similarly have long tail nurture programs for your members - constantly drip-feeding them content; maximising up-sell and cross opportunities; and triggering responses and engagement.

Your gym should have automated proactive and reactive workflow processes in place covering dozens of different touch points. These vary from a member's birthday; to their nth visit; to recognising a new achievement; to acknowledging a problem with their sleep patterns; to celebrating a rise in their Myzone ranking; etc.

A variety of media and techniques should be used to engage with the member. Communications should be two-way, and responded to promptly - with processes in place for doing so. Where "check in forms" are used, exception reporting should be in place to ensure that staff are promptly alerted to concerning responses. Your clients should receive prompt responses, regardless of who is on shift at any point in time.

Member drop-off should be proactively monitored and processes should be in place for ensuring this is identified and addressed early on. If you aren't even logging attendance at your gym, how would you know someone is ceasing to attend?

Quoox GMS is the only SGPT management software that provides all of the tools your require to run an effective and profitable 3rd generation small group training gym. Quoox Alchemy provides ready-made, off-the-shelf content and workflows to help you rapidly move your gym towards being one of the industry's forerunners.

Wellness is for everyone. #Gen3SGPT is the framework to support the fitness facility of the future.
Written by Chris Windram.

Alchemy

Alchemy provides the system, resources, and the practical advice & support that gym owners need to operate a profitable, "high ticket" membership, small-group training gym. Alchemy is the ultimate "SGPT toolkit".
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