Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software systems – designed to manage customers within a business, whether that be at a till, going through a turnstile, booking a class or retention management – have become an accepted operating standard in modern health club management, efficiently and effectively running a huge range of customer management functions. But in recent years, particularly with the growth of electronic booking management, more and more staff management functionality has also begun to develop in many CRM systems.
CRM systems largely only touch on staff management where it has some link to the system’s main functionality – for example, scheduling or point of sale. However, some suppliers have gone further by linking certain staff activities to payroll, and also by adding a time and attendance module.
We take a look at the incorporation of staff management into CRM systems.
ClubWise has designed powerful and comprehensive online customer bookings functionality into its CRM systems. But offering customers the ability to book appointments with specific staff means staff availability needs to be co-ordinated.
To accommodate this, ClubWise has developed a shift management function which lays out staff availability for weeks ahead. Sales manager Guy Foster explains: “ClubWise is a web-based software system, so at any time a member of staff can log in remotely to view their shift schedule and also any appointments or activities that have been booked for them. This saves them calling into the club to query rotas and also means health club managers can manage rotas when they’re away from the facility – all in the interest of improving operational efficiency.”
Your Lifestyle’s Club Cloud software also has a staff rota built out from the customer bookings functionality, where staff log in to see upcoming appointments and shifts as well as tasks. MD Jack Malin says: “In Club Cloud, there are a number of different levels and views within bookings. A booking can be a traditional customer event for an appointment or a class, but because we use our bookings platform for staff management as well, a booking in Club Cloud can also be for staff shifts or staff tasks.”
At Breeze’s Gym in Aberdare, south Wales, Club Cloud is used by staff and management for exactly that. Director Sinead Kelly explains: “Club Cloud has been excellent, as staff log in to check their schedules and daily activity plans. It’s a great management tool for us as we’re able to run activity reports for staff, not just on hours worked and appointments and classes, but tasks completed as well.”
EZ-Runner also has a staff scheduling element to customer activity bookings, with an online and phone dashboard that staff can access to view their specific shifts and appointments.
EZ-Runner includes spas and health club spas among its clients – an environment in which appointments are more varied than in traditional health club appointments. It has therefore developed an intelligent skills optimisation algorithm within its staff scheduling capability, which selects staff for appointments based not only on availability but also the skills they have which are appropriate to the booking. It also takes into account the potential for other bookings in the same time slot.
Group spa director at Shire Hotels, Stuart Angus, says: “When a customer makes a booking, the EZ-Runner software calculates the best member of staff to use, not just on skills match and their shift availability, but also on what other therapists are available and their respective capability to do other appointments at the same time. It’s essentially doing intelligent skills matching, which saves time on bookings as well as optimising productivity.”
EZ Facility, a division of Jonas Software, has gone further with its range of staff management functionality. A web-based solution, booking was one of the very early modules included within EZ Facility’s functionality, and staff scheduling relative to a customer booking featured as part of that. Over time, EZ Facility has built on its staff management functions by linking staff scheduling activities to its payment centre, with payroll and commissions.
Carolyn James of Expert Fitness Studio in Henley, UK, runs the EZ Facility trainer commission report at the end of each month to ensure the studio’s trainers are paid according to the work they have done. “Trainer commissions show up line by line, listed against every activity a trainer has carried out – whether that be PT, therapy or exercise classes. It’s quick and easy and saves all of the paperwork and juggling and diary checking we would otherwise have to do,” she says.
PT and classes
Staff management functionality isn’t unique to membership management systems, however. Retention management system provider The Retention People (TRP) also has staff management functionality in some of its products. TRP’s GroupX software, for example, is an online group exercise management solution, which with its live reporting tools allows health club and leisure centre managers to easily review programme, class and instructor performance at the touch of a button.
In 2012, Reebok Sports Club London deployed TRP’s GroupX software to help maximise its group exercise programme. With over 40 instructors teaching over 170 classes a week, the club’s challenge was to measure the performance of its instructors, classes and programmes accurately, as well as ensuring a seamless process was in place for payments to its instructors.
Implementing GroupX has helped save the club significant staff time in collating payroll data, as the club’s MD John Penny explains: “The software automatically generates instructor costs at the end of the month. This has reduced our manager’s workload by up to 15 per cent each month, allowing them to concentrate on other retention-focused processes.”
Another view of staff management in a CRM system can be seen in personal trainer management system Fisikal. Fisikal started as a business management system for personal trainers, taking care of a trainer’s scheduling and finances. But at low-cost chain Xercise4Less, Fisikal created a multiple trainer management system run at a club level.
Xercise4Less PTs are all self-employed, and each has their own Fisikal system for their own business. But the club also has a Fisikal TEAM system in place, which is used to schedule trainer classes, communicate with trainers and enhance club member experience through training-related information and apps.
Xercise4Less uses Jonas Fitness i4 software as its membership management system, to run access control and point of sale, and Harlands Group for membership payment processing and contract management – but Fisikal TEAM is used for member class bookings and appointments.
Fisikal managing director Rob Lander explains: “In the low-cost sector, where fitness trainers are strictly self-employed, it’s important that the club still has a view of appointments and scheduling, not least to make sure trainers are delivering brand quality.”
Xercise4Less CEO Jon Wright adds: “The Fisikal TEAM system sits alongside our other CRM systems and together they deliver an excellent solution. Our clubs benefit by not incurring staff costs associated with delivering a training service, but although trainers are self-employed, we’re still able to maintain a high degree of brand quality and consistency and ensure the best member experience. Fisikal TEAM has been an excellent tool, not just for its member experience solutions, but also for trainer management functions.”