Over the last decade, our values have shifted, and our society has moved from the information age into the experience age. This change has been so significant that a new international survey of consumers found that an overwhelming majority––76%––would rather spend their money on experiences, instead of products. That’s why understanding the importance of quality experiences and learning how to provide them is critical to successfully acquiring and retaining more customers.
There are a few fundamentals necessary to thrive during this new age. Understanding the unique member journey, identifying the 5 pillars of experience, and discovering why they’re important to your member journey are three of the best ways to provide members with a compelling experience.
Let’s dig in.
The member journey
Before we get into the 5 pillars that make up the experience age, it’s important to understand the journey your members take through your studio.
There are five major touchpoints:
- The initial contact: the first time your member will communicate with your business
- First in-person impression: the first meeting between member to staff when a person walks through your studio’s doors
- Second in-person impression: when a member walks into your locker rooms or hangs out in your lobby before class, ultimately deciding if they like your space.
- The workout: the product that a member actually comes for
- The goodbye: this is the goodbye from staff checking in with your members before they leave your studio
- The studio eco-system: this is what you’re doing to keep your customers coming back (follow-up emails, member events, or special surprises to celebrate them)
Discovering the process your customers take when coming to your business allows you to look at the 5 pillars of experience at each touchpoint of the member journey.
Creating a standout culture within your business makes current members feel like they’re a part of a community bigger than themselves and influences others to join.
When thinking about your culture, remember the three Cs:
- Common language. Create your own terminology and ensure the continuity of it within your space. Whether it’s class titles or signature moves, make sure the language is ironed out so everyone in your facility knows and uses it.
- Connection. Enhance your members’ feeling of community through connection. Small acts like remembering their names, spending quality time before or after classes, and providing merchandise support a unifying experience.
- Clear communication. Make sure your members understand your brand and your values through consistent communication via emails and social media platforms. Clear communication is effective but challenging to do when you have a lot of members. Streamline your efforts without adding unnecessary work with Mindbody’s Messenger[ai].
We live in a fast-paced world and it’s only getting faster. Your processes need to be agile, or you may lose business. The easier you make your members’ lives, the better chance you have at long-term retention.
An online booking system like Mindbody’s Pick a Spot allows members to choose their spot in class ahead of time. Having this as an option brings comfort, eliminates stress, and brings convenience to both front-row regulars and those who prefer a less visible spot in the back.
Some other ways to make your client experience a breeze:
- Make your class timetable accessible
- Keep plenty of equipment available
- Offer online workouts
- Provide easy-to-use technology and wearables
- Take care of as much of their health and wellness journey as possible
When you add a level of luxury to your studio’s environment, you create a point of difference that makes you stand apart from other businesses. You don’t have to break the bank to make your studio stand out; five-star customer service can also provide that same luxurious feel.
Surprise brings a feeling of delight through the unexpected. You don’t have to break your budget to surprise your members—just create a few moments that break up the routine at your studio (and make it from the heart). Going above and beyond, with a bit of fun, keeps your members feeling special and thinking about your business long after leaving your studio.
Be a business that’s impossible to forget and:
- Remember special occasions (like birthdays or anniversaries)
- Personalize their experience (like handwritten notes)
- Set up benchmark classes (like 100, 250, or 500 classes)
- Celebrate important achievements (like a graduation, upcoming wedding, or retirement)
When it comes to surprise, it’s important to stay consistent through an informed, automated marketing system. If you’re celebrating one member, you can’t forget others.
Check out Mindbody’s Marketing Suite for personalized messages and automated campaigns to celebrate your community. Stay consistent and never miss an opportunity to make members feel important, without doing all the heavy lifting.
We’re living in a stressful society that disconnects us from ourselves and others. Giving your members space to be present at your studio keeps them more engaged with their workout.
Go deeper with your members by honing in on the five senses:
- Hearing. Build a meaningful musical journey or soundproof your classes to prevent unwanted disruptions and create a more immersive experience.
- Sight. Upgrade your lighting by using techniques like light therapy or making sure your lighting is soft rather than sterile.
- Taste. Use small gestures like mints on the front table or post-workout smoothies, if it’s available to you, to incorporate taste into your studio.
- Smell. Use a signature scent or candle as a small touch to remove bad odors and create a welcoming ambiance.
- Feel. Emphasize correct queuing and deep motivational language with your instructor to make your members feel more positively connected to their workouts.
The experience lens is one you can’t take off. We’re now in an age where your members value experiences more than anything else, and that isn’t going away. Now is the time to evolve your business to reflect that.
Written by Emma Masters for Mind Body Online.