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Entries in ABC Financial (20)


More Money, More Problems? How to Avoid Growth Pains in the Health Club Industry

This is an IHRSA featured post, brought to you by ABC Financial.

You’re in business to make money. That doesn’t mean that an inflow of cash solves all your problems, especially in the health club business, where volatility is the norm. Membership fees, employee turnover, equipment upgrades, and servicing—these are just a few of the unpredictable cost variables of health club management. 

Tracking cash flow and managing funds for growth in the midst of ongoing market disruptions requires special expertise. A bookkeeper with a QuickBooks account isn’t going to cut it. 

Continue reading "More Money, More Problems? How to Avoid Growth Pains in the Health Club Industry."

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4 Reasons Health Clubs Should Invest in CRM Technology

It’s a fact: The primary business of every health club isn’t fitness. It’s maintaining good customer relationships by providing excellent service. 

You can have the best facility, amenities, and programs in the world, but if customers have bad experiences, they won’t stay. And sub-par service certainly won’t help generate referrals or lead to new sales. Au contraire: You’ll lose business and your reputation will suffer. 

The good news: Having a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system can help you improve the most critical aspects of your customer service program, and, thus, your members’ club experience. 

Here are four reasons CRM systems are worth the investment for health clubs. 

1. CRMs Reduce Member and Employee Frustration 

In many operational areas, clubs have grappled with inefficiencies that have frustrated employees and customers alike. In many cases, for example, simple administrative tasks that involved actual paperwork have led to major headaches as a result of human error. 

For a long time, that was the case for Beth Saroka, a 35-year industry veteran, and the owner of Onslow Fitness, in Jacksonville, NC, a 14,000-square-foot club with fitness, group exercise, and personal training offerings, a heated saltwater pool, and other amenities. 

However, in 2011, Saroka acquired ABC Financial software, and, in the process, eliminated “tons” of man-hours required for tasks that no one liked to do. 

“Whether it was a simple credit card update, a change of address, or something more involved, such as a cancellation, my staff would have to stop doing more important things— selling or servicing members—to manually fill out the paperwork,” she said. “Then, assuming it was filled out correctly, someone else had to enter all of that information into a computer. In retrospect, that was a huge waste of our time, and rarely resulted in a ‘wow’ experience for anyone.” 

Now, the CRM component of her ABC system boasts a newer feature called MYiCLUB online, a portal that allows a member to log in at any time and make account changes— even cancellations. Not only is it convenient for members, but it also ensures that the club obtains accurate information. 

Continue reading "4 Reasons Health Clubs Should Invest in CRM Technology."

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Value Proposition: ABC Financial

Since its inception in 1981, ABC Financial has been deeply rooted in the development of billing systems and related services. Founder and chairman Jim Bottin, then a club owner, was determined to design a reliable automated billing and payment-processing system—something that was difficult to find at the time—for his 14 facilities. 

His clubs’ needs, his search for a solution, and the resulting product led to the establishment of a separate new venture, initially called the American Billing Company (ABC), based in Little Rock, AR. 

While billing has enjoyed, well, top billing at ABC Financial, the latest incarnation of the company’s software offers a great deal more. 

From the start, the firm’s core calling cards have read “technology” and “innovation.” And, over the past 35 years, ABC has employed its technological expertise not only to serve its clients, but also to ensure that its own operations remain as sophisticated and efficient as possible. 

The company’s roster of club management software has increased significantly, and now includes a wide range of products and services, including its well-known DataTrak Health Club Management Software. 

MYiCLUBonline, a Web-based application that’s integrated with Data-Trak, permits prospects to join a club, and current members to manage their classes, check on their appointments, and review their check-in and purchase history. Then there’s the company’s Club Reporting System dashboard; a mobile application; PCI-compliant, automated billing and payment processing; and a robust marketing platform. 

While the company doesn’t release specific revenue and growth numbers, other indices point to clear, aggressive, expansion. 

In 2010, when Steve Ayers, ABC’s chief revenue officer, came on board, the firm had about 250 employees and served some 2,200 health club clients. Today, it works with more than 8,000 clubs and employs some 900 people. 

Read the full “Value Proposition: ABC Financial” article in the March issue of CBI.


Ready or Not… Here it comes!  

This post is sponsored by ABC Financial:

Chances are by now, you may have heard the term EMV as related to your credit card. EMV is an enhanced credit card security protocol developed in collaboration by EuroPay, Mastercard, and Visa which has been used outside the U.S. since 1999. EMV use a microchip embedded in your credit card to more accurately identify that the card being used is not fake. Here’s how EMV differs from a standard credit card…

In a standard credit card transaction, the merchant or system calculates the amount of the transaction, you swipe the magnetic strip on your credit card across the card terminal, then scrawl your signature on a receipt. The main problem? That magnetic strip contains static data that can easily be stolen and passed around, increasing the likelihood that your gym-goers will be vulnerable to fraud during a point of sale (POS) transaction in your gym.

With an EMV, or “chip card”, this process changes. Rather than swiping a strip, you will insert the chip-end of the card into the terminal, leave it inserted while the system securely validate your card, type your PIN code or sign your name, then remove the card when prompted. Like the magnetic strip, the chip contains data. However, the chip’s data isn’t static – it changes every time you use it. This makes it substantially more difficult for scammers to take advantage.

Why Do We Need EMV?

Despite being one of the most technologically advanced nations on the planet, the USA leads the world in credit card fraud. While other nations such as Canada and Australia have reduced credit card fraud by moving to EMV technology, the USA continues to see instances of credit card fraud rise. To put it bluntly: we are standing still while others have moved ahead, and EMV can change that.

Read more from ABC Financial.

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ABC Financial Names Paul Schaller new CEO / President

ABC Financial, the leading software and payment processing provider to the health and fitness industry, announced the promotion of Paul Schaller to Chief Executive Officer/President.

Industry experience and over 25 years at ABC have made Schaller a cornerstone of ABC’s success. Schaller became familiar with ABC’s mission early on as a 20-year-old client operating three North Carolina clubs.  After relocating to Arkansas, Schaller began his ABC career in a sales position and has worked closely with Founder and Chairman Jim Bottin during the last two-plus decades of dramatic company growth.

For more, visit the ABC Financial website.


IHRSA 2015 Exhibitor Video: ABC Financial

Launched in 1981, ABC Financial has revolutionized software and payment processing for the health and fitness industry with our DataTrak software. ABC has become the choice of over 4,900 health clubs throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Visit them at today at IHRSA 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, South Lobby from 11:00am - 6:00pm at booth 1123.


The New Rules of Sales and Service

David Meerman Scott, Marketing Strategist and Author“You sell more when you stop selling,” David Meerman Scott contended at a meeting of industry leaders at IHRSA 2015 in Los Angeles, sponsored by ABC Financial.

Scott related the tale of how he finally convinced his wife to go to Antarctica for an adventure vacation. He went on the web and found the travel company site that had the most content about Antarctica. The company didn’t try to get his contact information or exhort him to press the “buy” button right away. Instead, it offered him enticing information and photos of wildlife and scenery. They gave him content he could use to sell his wife on the trip. And that is what sold Scott on purchasing the trip from the company.

Noting that he had visited about 30 club websites before his presentation, Scott said that they all looked similar. He challenged attendees to create “buyer personas” of their ideal customers and then create content on their websites targeting those personas.

“The content you create helps people find you when they’re ready,” Scott said.

Scott provides a full slide deck on the topic at #IHRSA2015.


You Sell More When You Stop Selling

"You sell more when you stop selling." - David Meerman Scott


David Meerman Scott, Marketing Strategist and Author presents at the 18th Annual IHRSA Global Leadership Summit, Sponsored by ABC Financial.


ACE Scholarship for Those Working with Children

This week we focus on IHRSA members for This Week in the Fitness Industry. Here is what we have:

  • New American Council on Exercise scholarship
  • SPRI at-home workouts
  • Anytime Fitness headquarters
  • Industry hires

It is all in This Week in the Fitness Industry.

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ABC Financial hires former IHRSA intern Pellegrino

Sarah Pellegrino, who despite her young age has been involved and employed with several companies and organizations in the health and fitness industry, has been hired with ABC Financial.

Pellegrino, who recently graduated from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, will be a regional sales director.

Pellegrino has worked for the Fitness Industry Technology Council in social media, the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association in the Research department as an intern, and the Carolina Sports Business Club as the chief business officer. She also founded the Carolina Sport Business & Fitness Expo, a three-series panel session and career fair for sport and fitness industries.

"We are thrilled to have Pellegrino join us at ABC Financial," said Steve Ayers, chief revenue officer of ABC Financial.  "Her personal and family background in the fitness industry has given her the experience and mindset to be a great asset to our industry." 

Pellegrino’s father, Sal, is national director of sales for Star Trac.

Read on for more on the recent hire