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Entries in Chris Stevenson (6)


How Your Gym’s Cancellation Policy Impacts the Member Experience

This post is an IHRSA Institute preview.

Today’s health club market is in a state of constant flux. It seems like every week there’s a new workout trend or must-have fitness technology, and it’s near impossible for independent clubs to keep up.  

On the bright side, your club is poised to deliver a competitive advantage that will never go out of style: a phenomenal member experience.

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Stevenson Fitness’ Small Group Cycling Goes Head-to-Head with Boutiques

When Stevenson Fitness first began offering small group training a few years back, it was an emerging trend. Throughout the industry, clubs were promoting small group classes in order to supplement one-on-one personal training sessions, and Stevenson Fitness leadership saw an opportunity. 

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Why You Should Turn Your Health Club Employees into Followers

This post is part of our Session Spotlight series, previewing just some of the extensive education that will feature at IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in Los Angeles.

Is your health club staff as driven and productive even when management isn’t around?

If the answer isn’t a resounding ‘yes,’ your employees likely view themselves as subordinates.

“Subordinates may or may not do what you want them to do,” says Chris Stevenson, owner and founder of Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA. “I always hear people say at night [after] the manager leaves nothing gets done. So you can’t be successful with subordinates.”

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9 Takeaways from the California Clubs of Distinction Spring Symposium

From member engagement to pricing strategy, there were many takeaways to be found at the California Clubs of Distinction (CCD) Spring Symposium in Palms Springs, CA, held April 19-21. 

IHRSA staff was there, attending sessions and gleaning insights for health club owners and operators who weren’t able to attend. Here are our top nine takeaways from the three-day conference. 

1. Focus on customer experience, not customer service. Building a great team is critical to any health club’s success, said Chris Stevenson, owner and founder of Stevenson Fitness, during his session. By hiring the right staff—and keeping morale high—club operators can deliver a member experience where “everyone leaves feeling better than when they arrived.” 

2. Build membership through community engagement. Karen Woodard of Premium Performance Training explained the many benefits health clubs can gain by getting involved in their communities. Doing so promotes member engagement, builds brand familiarity, and may ultimately increase memberships.  

Karen Woodard leading a team building activity.

3. Perseverance is the key to success. Shaun Quincey of DebitSuccess became the second person to row across the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia at age 25, but the feat didn’t come easy. In his keynote address, he detailed the preparation and training that went into the 1,200-nautical-mile journey, including the 390 sponsors that turned him down. 

4. Strategy and execution go hand-in-hand. Bill McBride of BMC3/Active Wellness and Brent Darden of Brent Darden Consulting stressed the importance of creating a goal-oriented strategic plan, and also assigning the right people to execute that plan with the needs of members in mind. 

5. Pricing is a mix of art and science. McBride and Darden also spoke to the art of finding the pricing sweet spot. They recommended starting by by determining a product's or program’s usefulness, usability, and desirability. 

Brent Darden

6. Make time for team-building activities. Different team-building and team-bonding activities can help to improve relationships between co-workers, said Karen Woodward. Club operators should consider incorporating team-building exercises into existing meetings or holding team-centric events outside of work.

7. Think like a customer. Club operators should wire customers’ mindsets into their decision making process at every level, said Blair McHaney of ClubWorks. This will help operators better understand how to develop an emotional connection with customers, and thus increase loyalty.

8. Health club medical wellness programs can curb obesity. Successful medical wellness programs facilitate the relationship between fitness and healthcare professionals, said Mark Kelly of Principle Centered Health. Doing so may slow the rise of obesity, which is related to more than 50 preventable diseases. 

9. Differentiate your club by doing meaningful, purposeful work. Mike Alpert, president and CEO of The Claremont Club, which received the Outstanding Community Service Award at IHRSA 2016, shared his experience with partnering with the medical community to help people live healthier lives. In addition to serving as a differentiator, this practice will improve the overall member experience, which will lead to higher retention.


Boost Member Engagement, Retention with IHRSA's May 12 Webinar

When members first join a health club they can be a little wary. New members are often out of shape, and many made the decision to join a gym because a physician’s or family member’s advice. 

“A lot of times, people don’t come in to your health club for the most positive reasons,” says Chris Stevenson, owner and founder of Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA. “They’ve driven by your facility 100 times and, for some reason, that day they decide to go in and you sell them a membership—make them part of your family. And since they’re skeptical and deconditioned, they don’t know what to do—they’re lost. So ultimately our goal isn’t to sell a membership—it’s to help people get healthier. And when they don’t get that guidance right off the bat, the odds of them continuing are very slim.” 

Stevenson will share proven tactics to help members receive that guidance in his Thursday, May 12 webinar, “Member Engagement: The Key to Retention.” 

“Onboarding is one way we engage with members to make sure they’ll become long-term members, and then we also have ways we track member use,” he says. “If we see a dramatic change in use—if someone hasn’t been in in a while—we flag them and encourage them to come back in.” 

Another retention method Stevenson employs is getting members involved in group exercise or some ancillary services, like personal training or small group training.  

  • During the hour-long webinar, Stevenson will help attendees: 
  • Discover the importance of on boarding members properly.
  • Explore the key strategies to keeping members consistently active and involved at your club.
  • Learn how to develop key tactics to use group X and other ancillary services as retention tools.
  • Review strategic practices to use social media to drive engagement and retention.
  • Learn how to plan diverse events to appeal to your different demographics.

“Diverse member engagement is the ultimate key to retention and keeping people for a long period of time,” he says. “The way competition is popping up left and right, retention might mean members have multiple memberships… The more levels people are engaged with us, the better retention is.”

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IHRSA 2016 Session Spotlight: The Art of Managing Member Suggestions and Complaints

Member complaints and suggestions, once viewed as a thorn in a health club's side, can provide operators with valuable feedback that they can use to inform their strategy and fuel growth.

“A lot of times businesses decide what we think people want, but ultimately your customers define your brand—it’s what they say about you,” says Chris Stevenson, owner and founder of Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA. “Suggestions and complaints and feedback are the best way to give people what they’re looking for. The trip up is a lot of times we assume what people will like—it’s all good intention, but we just don’t know unless we’re actively going out there and asking people for suggestions.”

Stevenson will explain how club operators can gather and analyze member feedback in the IHRSA 2016 session, “The Art of Managing Member Suggestions and Complaints.”

At his club, Stevenson uses three measures to gather feedback: general member surveys, niche group surveys, and member interaction with staff.

“We teach our staff how to turn a complaint into a suggestion. They learn how to interact with people in a way that we get data,” he says. “With all three of those measures, you have to build in a follow-up component—there’s nothing worse than taking time to build member interaction and send surveys and then not doing anything with that information.”

Attendees will leave the Tuesday, March 22 session understanding how to: 

  • Set up a member-interactive suggestion and complaint feedback system 
  • Use feedback to grow your club to the members’ needs
  • Take complaints and spin them into suggestions
  • Make sure members feel like they’ve been heard and are important to their facility 

“Attendees will leave completely knowing how to use surveys and suggestions and complaints to grow their business to provide members what they’re really looking for—when you open yourself up to this, they’ll let you know,” Stevenson says. 

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