MSSNetwork ShortStuff
                                      1/13/2016 - #1


View this email in your browser



(Thanks to Blair McHaney of ClubWorks, who provided information for this article. Much of the text comes from over 400,000 data points assembled by Blair's use of Medallia, a leading customer experience management firm.)

The Top 7 Things Members Love
  • Club cleanliness
  • Well-trained, friendly staff
  • Answers to questions and help from staff that is always available
  • Trainers who are friendly to everyone - not just their clients
  • Quality Group Exercise classes with inspiring instructors
  • Ample equipment and space to move around in
  • Equipment in good condition, repairs done quickly
The Top 7 Things Members Hate
  • Unclean and smelly locker rooms
  • Front Desk staffers who ignore me
  • Trainers are rude and do not help unless I'm paying them
  • Bringing a guest is painful and embarrassing
  • Broken equipment is not repaired in a timely manner
  • Club wi-fi is inadequate
  • Club is crowded
Members do want to bring guests, especially in the early months of their memberships. But clubs make it hard. Many insist on a "guest fee" - and do it right in front of the member and the guest! The member wants the guest taken care of like a special person (not a "sales lead"). A member wants to feel like the king or queen of the world in the presence of his/her guest.

Blair calls for "a re-design of the guest pass experience." Clubs need to view this as a "service opportunity" to show off how good the club really is at taking care of people. Too often the guest is made to feel "sort of welcome" rather than "honored." 

One of the interesting sidebars that emerged from researching for this article was finding out that "want" and "value" are not always the same! For example:
  • Members say they want wi-fi, but don't place a particularly high value on it.
  • At all membership price points, members want equipment to be clean and in working order. However, the value proposition for this is higher in higher-price clubs and not as high in budget clubs.
  • Club cleanliness has a high value at all price points.
  • The value of "fitness results" is higher in higher-price-point clubs, and it is expected.
  • At higher price points, there is greater expectation of and value placed on staff friendliness and helpfulness.
There is a dichotomy here. If your Front Desk staff is viewed as friendly, that's usually a high "member satisfaction" component. However, friendliness at the Front Desk is not enough. If the rest of the club staff is so-so about being friendly, members view that as inconsistency in interactions and that the club doesn't really care that much about "customer service."

Blair suggests that clubs look at two questions around customer engagement and experience:
  1. What is your customer-service strategy?
  2. Do you even have one? 
Blair McHaney can be contacted at "Customer experience management" is highlighted at this site.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -   


In 2012, NYTimes columnist Dan Buettner wrote a lengthy article about "blue zone" people on the Greek island of Ikaria. There have been several long-term studies of these folks "...who live profoundly long and healthful lives" [well into their 90's]. Parts of Buettner's article are referenced herein.
"In the United States, when it comes to improving health, people tend to focus on exercise and what we put into our mouths — organic foods, omega-3’s, micronutrients. We spend nearly $30 billion a year on vitamins and supplements alone. The $70 billion diet industry and $25 billion health-club industry [make] efforts to persuade us that if we eat the right food or do the right workout, we’ll be healthier, lose weight and live longer. But these strategies rarely work." 

"In Ikaria and other places like it, diet only partly explains higher life expectancy. Exercise — at least the way we think of it, as willful, dutiful, physical activity — plays a small role at best. Social structure might turn out to be more important."

The staples of Ikarian longevity:
  • Eat a plant-based diet
  • Eat meat only occasionally
  • Eat fish twice a week
  • Use olive oil generously
  • Eat very little refined sugar
  • Get up late - nap during the day
  • Drink 2 to 3 cups of coffee daily
  • Drink 2 to 4 glasses of wine daily
  • Nearly everyone has [and works daily in] a vegetable garden
  • Socialize with neighbors/townspeople regularly
The author doesn't claim that organized exercise is useless. He says: "It's a good idea for people to do any of these healthful activities. The problem is, it’s difficult to change individual behaviors when community behaviors stay the same."
The U.S. processed-food industry spends more than $4 billion a year tempting us to eat. Everywhere there are candy bars, salty snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages. More than 3/4 of fitness-facility-promoted "meal replacement bars" are loaded with high fructose corn syrup.

"How do you combat that?" asks
Buettner. "Discipline is a good thing, but discipline is a muscle that fatigues. Sooner or later, most people cave in to relentless temptation."

This information begs the question: How do we in the fitness/wellness industry combat the forces of mass advertising and a "community" (the U.S. population) in which 2 of every 3 people is either overweight or clinically obese?

Your thoughts on this are important and welcomed.
Please email me.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


Seeking AlphaTM (an online financial analysis company) posted an extensive report on Planet FitnessTM stock (12/29/15). Following are excerpts of that report.
  • About PLNT's model: " sets this company apart from virtually every other gym chain out there. Chains that focus on customers that think of exercise as a hobby are everywhere; it seems each gym is trying to outdo the other in terms of specialization in what it can offer. The end result is a pretentious, somewhat intimidating atmosphere for those of us that exercise to stay healthy instead of exercising for recreation."
  • PLNT's market capture: " certainly far larger than the population of gym enthusiasts - by creating an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusion. This fundamental difference in PLNT's model is a huge opportunity, and PLNT will perform very well over the long term because this demographic of customers will only grow over time. This is not a country where a majority of people will ever be gym enthusiasts and that means PLNT's model will be favored.
  • Attractiveness at current stock price (approximately $15.25 per share): "PLNT looks very attractive here. It is in the 'sweet spot' of the bulk of the market it plays in and that is a huge positive that should not be overlooked. Its margins are also terrific and should grow over time as the company leverages its back office costs and sells more franchises. PLNT is a multi-year, long term growth story that is just beginning."
(MSS note: the above is not necessarily my opinion...I am simply "reporting." Of concern to me is Planet Fitness' debt structure and potential increasing competition in the budget-price fitness facility national marketplace.)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -   

Final Reminder 
For those 2015 members who've yet to renew...this is your last opportunity at discounted renewal prices below. If you want to keep receiving the best weekly "independent-clubs-only" info, strategies, benchmark reports and online webcasts, just click on one of the two subscription buttons below. 

Note that subscriptions are tax-expenseable as a "business education expense." 
Non-renewing former members will receive only infrequent and limited-information MSSNetwork publications after today's issue.

PREMIER Membership ($75 annual)
  • Bi-weekly MSSNetwork News e-newsletter
  • Bi-weekly MSS ShortStuff blog
  • FREE reserved seats for all MSS and MSSNetwork webcasts (regularly $19/seat/webcast)
  • Unlimited FREE access to MSS Resources Room
  • Limited FREE email consults/advisory responses
  • FREE MSSNetwork Surveys reports (whether you participate or not)
  • Discounts on all MSS services
STANDARD Membership ($30 annual)
  • If you only want MSSNetwork News, MSS ShortStuff and half-price reserved seats for all MSS and MSSNetwork webcasts ($9 rather than $19/seat/webcast), this is the subscription for you!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


                 (click logos to see websites)
Copyright © 2016 Fitness Business Council, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences