The Blog of Dr Paul Bedford
The last five years has seen a proliferation of membership software systems, with cloud-based systems gaining ground. We’ve also seen an increase in software solutions such as personalised exercise data, nutritional coaching, virtual personal training platforms and staff-to-member engagement systems.
While this extra support can produce extraordinary results when implemented well, some lay dormant, costing money and producing nothing. It’s at this stage that the software is accused of not being effective, when it may well be a lack of operator focus that’s the issue.
For example, whilst CV equipment has become more sophisticated, most operators haven’t considered adapting the induction process to incorporate these advances. Apps, websites and wearables provide additional information to all parties, but also require explaining and teaching to maximise their effectiveness. It appears that very little time is given to training staff or even update training with each new iteration of the software, app or wearable.
When developing member experience programs for operators, I have pride in my ability to maximise the software solutions operators already have, rather than just recommending a new software solution, and, over time, I’ve realised that all too frequently operators have bought software on the promise all their problems will go away. By now many have realised this just isn’t so and that to truly maximise the software there must be a clear set of key performance indicators to keep front-line staff and managers focused on their objective.
Club management software developers continue to add features, irrespective of whether they contribute to the experience of the member, the actions of the staff or the profitability of the business. Many software systems have now become more complex than is required to deliver the services.
So operators need a clear understanding of what specifically they want the software to do. They also need to understand how it will do that and what level of day-to-day management is needed to ensure staff are using the applications in the most efficient way.
As the industry continues to integrate technology and newer business practices,
performance management of group exercise teachers, gym staff, personal trainers and managers will become the norm, and taking advantage of advancements in predictive analytics and artificial intelligence will place staff under even more scrutiny, requiring them to prove their worth and identify what they actually contribute to the member experience.