As a studio owner, do you sometimes walk in the door and wonder “what can I do today to improve my business?” and find yourself not knowing the answer?
This is what I experienced daily, as I ran my little pop-up studio while building FitGrid. I had decided that in order to build software that helps studio owners better manage their businesses, I needed to experience what it was like to actually manage a studio myself. (By the way, hats off to all the studio owners out there, because it is NOT easy.)
Navigating the Challenges of Owning a Fitness Studio
I found it extremely difficult to have any set plan for a day, much less to understand the one or two things I could do on a daily basis to move the business forward. Running a fitness studio is a continuous stream of fires you have to put out the second you walk in the door: instructors who are running late, issues with plumbing, supplies that need to be re-ordered, clients who are unhappy for whatever reason, and the list goes on...
There are a million things that arise to knock you off your game — and even worse, you constantly live with the anxiety, even when you’re sleeping, that something just might happen. Troubleshooting these issues leaves you in a constant state of “fight” (from “fight or flight reactions”) that causes unnecessary stress and makes medium and long-term planning difficult to do.
I yearned for a consistent set of activities that I could do to feel, psychologically, were moving the ball forward on improving the business. That would have reduced my anxiety and strain because I would have felt like I was constantly chipping away at something, even if I just didn’t know exactly what the problems were or what I needed to be consistently doing!
Searching for Ways to Make the Studio Run Smoothly
I began to wonder, “wouldn’t it be great if someone could provide a daily recommended list of key clients I should reach out to?” After all, fitness is a people business, and the people who came to my studio would be far more likely to come back if they felt a sense of connection with the other people at the studio — whether it was me, my front desk staff, the instructors, or even the other clients.
It would be even better if each topic of outreach was timed to some key point in the client’s experience and if I could be told who should reach out to them (because some people have stronger relationships than others), and what exactly that person should say.
I believed that touching base with clients was everything. I knew, first-hand, that a simple hi and personal outreach could make all the difference between someone purchasing a membership and not returning at all. People want to be seen, heard, and remembered for who they are. So what if there were a way to make it easy for studio owners or managers to either do or delegate, all of that?
What if there were a way that we could deliver to the owner the 10 people they or their staff should reach out to today, who should reach out to them, and what they should say? What if there was a system that could automatically highlight that Jane, who has a membership, has been declining in her visits to the studio for 3 months and is now at risk of canceling, so someone should intervene?
What if the system suggested that outreach to a particular client should be handled by the front desk person she’s checked in with the most, or the most attended instructor, or even you as the owner? What if the system even suggested what to say? Even BETTER, what if that system watched whether Jane responded to that outreach, and got better and better at knowing how to communicate with her to trigger deeper engagement with the studio?
Whoa … Now we would be talking about turning our small little fitness studio operation into a 5-star hotel experience. I’d sign up for that.
So we built it.
It’s a little project we internally codenamed Client Outreach. It is one of the things we’ve been steadily moving towards at FitGrid, and now we’re ready to reveal it.
Introducing FitGrid Client Outreach
This new feature provides you, as the studio owner or manager, a daily list of recommended clients and actions to take on them, or as we call them - Daily Action Items. We segment your studio into different “personas” (for example, the High-Frequency client) and we let you know that some high ranking studio official (the owner or manager) should reach out to that person today, just to thank them for being a part of the studio. Each persona has a stated outreach goal, a recommended person to communicate with them, and a suggestion of what they should say. We even automate some of the outreach because we know it could get time-consuming, but that it can be effective.
We want to give the ability to automate the touchpoints that should be automated, and highlight the touchpoints you and your staff need to focus on -- because a little goes a long way, and the personal touch can go even further.
Of course, the keys to success in all of this are:
- Continuous learning
For this to work, we would have to make things simple and easy for you and your managers to reach out to clients. It would need to be clear that if you consistently did this every day, then over a month, you would touch a substantial portion of your client base. We would need to provide information that allows you or your staff to easily personalize the client messages. And it would need to be clear that the more you use the system, the more the system would learn and improve its recommendations.
Using Client Outreach to Manage Your Fitness Studio More Efficiently
We’re happy to announce that we are ready to roll out one more piece of our FitGrid puzzle: a seamless, integrated system that makes it easier for you to do what you do best — make the world a better place.
As we build out our entire product suite we think you’ll discover that all of the pieces of FitGrid work together to create a truly compelling, five-star experience that will give you deep insight into your studio, recommendations on how to create the best outcomes, tools to leverage all of your community and staff, and ultimately, consistently outstanding returns for your business.
FitGrid Client Outreach = Game changer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nt Etuk is the Founder & CEO of FitGrid and Co-Founder of BFS. The team at FitGrid has been working around the clock to create a simple, more automated live-stream solution FitGrid LIVE – that automatically connects Zoom and MINDBODY, for group fitness studios, in response to the crisis hitting the industry.
FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level