5 steps to turn wasted member time into huge added value

David Monkhouse is a Trustee and Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity. He has an MBA in International Sports Management from Loughborough and is joint Director of Leisure-net Solutions.

Working with the likes of ukactive and Sport England, Leisure-net provide research, customer insight, feedback platforms, Net Promoter Score, change management and customer experience strategy to the Sport and Physical Activity sector.

We met with David to learn how gyms and clubs need to broaden their offering to include the entire member experience, and how in doing so they can turn wasted time into huge additional value for the customer.


1. Acknowledge the importance of your customer’s time

The only thing people can’t buy more of is time. Customers may not think about this when they initially join, but it will be a huge factor in determining their experience of your brand and therefore a huge factor in determining attrition rates, word of mouth and referrals.

2. List all the systems, processes and tasks that need your customers time

It’s not just about their time using the facilities, it’s about every second they have to invest in your brand:
– How quickly does their membership card or pin number arrive in the post?
– How long do they have to wait for an induction?
– How far do they have to travel to get to the gym/club?
– How long do they generally spend queuing in reception?
– How long do they spend waiting for their group classes to begin?

3. Identify how much time a customer is spending on each task, and the frequency with which they do so – this will allow you to prioritise

A member may wait a week for their induction. That’s clearly a significant period of time your customer is investing in you and it’s important you’re using it to add value. But likewise, while they may only spend 5 minutes waiting for their classes to begin, they will do so every week. Calculate this time for each task. It will start to give you a sense of the overall investment of time each system/task is demanding from your customers.
[pull_quote]“The only thing people can’t buy more of is time.”[/pull_quote]

4. Identify ways that this wasted or underutilised time can be turned into value

– Whilst waiting for their card to arrive, could they receive information about how to use the kit or which classes are scheduled?
– Whilst waiting for their induction, could they receive a video from the trainer introducing themselves and recommending what kit to bring and what to eat before training?
– Whilst travelling to the gym on the bus, could they be listening to a free audioguide about mindfulness that helps them to get in the right frame of mind?
– Whilst in the queue for the entrance, rather than staring up at Sky News on silent, could they be watching a short clip on gym etiquette or the latest piece of functional kit?
– Whilst waiting for their class to start, could they be asking questions to the instructor, or could members of the sales team come and take customer surveys on a touchscreen?
5. Finally, review the impact of each change and evolve

The impacts can be varied and have far reaching value to you
– Greater member referral
– Opportunities to secondary sell and generate PT
– Database of customers prepared to hear communication from you
– Greater traffic to website, Twitter follows and Facebook likes
– Feedback from members to shape future developments

This is all about testing and learning, so be clear on how you will measure the impact of each change and give yourself a clear time frame to run the test. After which you can either make it an ongoing feature of the member experience or put it on hold and move on to the next idea.


If you were to put all this together, what would people then say about you as a gym? Their experience starts to become about far more than the kit and the club. That’s what turns drop-outs into long term members and long term members into brand champions.


Posted in Gyms & Clubs, Interviews, The Fitness Network.