Using Daily VOC to Improve Customer Experience


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Blair McHaney, president and owner of Confluence Fitness Partners, a Gold’s Gym franchise in Washington state

I fell in love with Blair McHaney this week. His description about how he uses daily customer surveys at his fitness clubs to make operational changes in real time won him a gold star in my book. But what really knocked my socks off is that he identified the biggest Moment of Truth for customers in the fitness business—cancelling your membership—as the one that needed to be vastly improved.

“One of the most horrid experiences in fitness centers is the cancellation process. During the life of the membership, the member might be having a great experience, but then they destroy the relationship through the cancellation process, which can be akin to being dragged through broken glass. There is such an opportunity there to improve that process, (which is why we consider it the alumni creation process rather than member cancellation, so people will still be fans when they get to the other side). So that’s a transaction point that is worthy of querying.”

Instead of making it hard for your clients to resign, Blair says, “turn them into alumni—make them loyal fitness fans.”

“We now understand that loyalty disappears when members stop loving us, not when they stop paying us. So, say they move to Costa Rica, or have a health change that means a health club isn’t right anymore; we hope we can instill a habit of exercise so they can continue to live a healthy life. We explicitly changed our goal from having lifelong members to what we call ‘loyal lifelong fans and exercisers.’”

Gold's Gym adIn this interview, Blair describes of how he embedded daily Voice of the Customer surveys into his company culture and how that has improved employee retention.

“As of our last metrics review, our trailing 12 month employee churn was under 20 percent. To put that in perspective, the industry average is something over 100 percent. It means we have created a culture where people are happy to come to work and love to work together as teams.”

How He Co-Designed the VOC Application He Uses. There’s a customer co-design theme in Blair’s story. By providing helpful feedback every 90 days, his customers are shaping his business (because he actually implements their suggestions). And Blair helped customize the Medallia VOC software tool he uses in his two Gold Gyms’ franchises:

“I looked at the Medallia offering, but it didn’t really align with health club operations. At that point, we formed a committee, with two people from Gold’s Gym International, two from Medallia, and me, to align it with health club operational needs. I was the one with all the operational experience, so I had a huge amount of input into what should be asked, what shouldn’t be asked, and what is actually actionable once I get it in my hands…. we thought backwards from what activities a health club manager should be doing on a daily basis to democratize VOC throughout the organization to what should they ask members on a survey to inform these behaviors…. I started out with this question: “What does a meeting look like when you bring staff together? What does a front desk meeting look like? The day care meeting? The group exercise meeting? How can I have data in my hands to manage my customer experience?”

This is a great “how to” story for anyone interested in gathering and using customer feedback to improve customer experience. But it’s also a great example of how any software/services provider can vastly improve the applicability and uptake of your products by involving visionary customers in your design. Read Ronni Marshak’s Interview of Blair McHaney:

How to Use VOC to Create Fitness Fans for Life
Blair McHaney Uses Daily VOC to Improve Customer Experience and Front-Line Engagement at Gold’s Gyms in Washington State
By Ronni T. Marshak, Exec VP, Patricia Seybold Group, and Blair McHaney, President, Confluence Fitness Partners, January 23, 2014

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patricia Seybold
With 30 years of experience consulting to customer-centric executives in technology-aggressive businesses across many industries, Patricia Seybold is a visionary thought leader with the unique ability to spot the impact that technology enablement and customer behavior will have on business trends very early. Seybold provides customer-centric executives within Fortune 1 companies with strategic insights, technology guidance, and best practices.


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