Technology is disruptive because it is evolving and emerging so quickly. Customer service is disruptive because most companies do it so poorly and, when done well, it generates such a powerful connection with the customer. Ideas are disruptive because they are the source of all innovation and change.
As the pace of change continues to accelerate it become harder to anticipate changes and at the same time more desperately important to forecast future events. This dilemma is at the core of disruptive innovation in enterprise these days. However it’s not just technology that changes but the forms of customer service.
Scrambling The Status Quo
Technology allows you to do more with less, such as remote managing 24-hour access. This helps you overcome the objections of night owls and shift workers, who want a place to workout in the middle of the night.
It’s something that has been made possible by Internet technology that allows remote video feed and keycard access. You can literally manage a gym from anywhere in the world, as long as you can get Wi-Fi or broadband.
Digital media continues to provide opportunities to step ahead of the competition. If you are using social media to create events and connect with members, that’s a great start but you have to keep moving ahead to stay on top of competition.
But things will change, as the market has to include the new ways that consumers interact. There are some interesting developments such as the purchase of Mapmyfitness.com by Under Armor. This is a foray into digital by a merchandise brand of which we are likely to see much more in the coming months and years.
Complaining Customers Are My Favorite Customers
Technology and service are two twin elements of staying ahead of the curve in gym ownership. You have to create the best possible experience for your customers and use the tools available in digital media to do it in a cost effective way.
If your members are expressing opinions on social media about your gym it is important to know about it. One good application for that is called Mention. This app allows you listen passively for traffic relating to your business and then respond.
Of course remember that a positive response will do more good than any attempt at suppression. You want to hear complaints; otherwise you can’t fix the problems that cause them.
Happy members are the key to success in this business because they keep coming back. You have to be part host, part problem solver and part guru to create the right environment. The longer each member stays with you the less you have to spend on marketing and advertising.
Happy customers are long-lived customers. Increasing the lifetime value from each member in your gym is directly tied to providing the best value to those same members
Kick The Big Box Habit With Out Of The Box Thinking
Ultimately the most disruptive force in fitness is the great idea. It is the one thing that can change a marketplace overnight. The technology available today is just a tool that enables you to put your idea into practice.
There is going to be a need for gyms and imaginative and innovative locally owned gym business startups for a long time to come. There will be a need for those gyms to use a physical space. If you can find an imaginative way to create a shared space for fitness you might find that your idea turns into a business model that disrupts first and then dominates some portion of the market.
Many of us came into the gym business for the shear love of fitness and health as well as connecting with people. But that love has the unfortunate effect of discounting the business value for the small business owner. Too many gyms in a community mean that there will be some that last and others that fall by the wayside. It’s much easier to work with the forces of disruption than to stand idly by, in the long run.
Burke, Monte. “Under Armour, With First-Ever Acquisition, Enters The World Of Software.” Forbes. November 14, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/monteburke/2013/11/14/under-armour-with-first-ever-acquisition-enters-the-world-of-software/ (accessed March 29, 2015).
Fagan, Lawrence. “Cancellation: Inoculation or Escalation?” Gym Insight Blog. January 20, 2014. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2402-cancellation-inoculation-or-escalation/ (accessed March 30, 2015).
—. “Is Your Gym Offering 24-Hour Access Yet?” Gym Insight Blog. October 17, 2013. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2012-is-your-gym-offering-24-hour-access-yet/ (accessed March 30, 2015).