“We first introduced Gladstone’s member management system at one of our leisure sites in the early 1990s, before rolling it out to all of our centres eight years ago. We now use a range of Gladstone products across our five membership-based leisure centres, including Plus2 member management, the Gladstone Management Console (GMC), the Tableau reporting tool and, most recently, the Connect online booking and [email protected] online joining systems. We’ve also recently installed Kiosks for self-service bookings and payments at two of our busiest sites: Brighouse Pool and Fitness Centre and Sowerby Bridge Pool and Fitness Centre.
Since the opening of our two newest sites three years ago, our membership population has doubled – but unfortunately, due to the current financial climate, our staff numbers have not. As a result our centres have been overwhelmed by demand at reception, both in person and by phone and email, leaving some customers unsatisfied with the response they have got.
Luckily, Gladstone’s online software solutions Connect and [email protected] have provided us with a great, cost-effective way of dealing with this challenge. Since introducing them at all five of our leisure centres in February and May 2013 respectively, we haven’t looked back.
Both systems take care of run-of-the-mill transactions that would otherwise tie up valuable reception time, enabling our staff to concentrate on more complex enquiries and customer care. It’s also much better for our customers, as every transaction that goes through online is one less phone call or reception visit they have to make. It can all be done from the comfort of their own home, or on the bus or train during the work commute, and at any time of day – there’s no more standing in line or listening to the phone ring.
From an administration point of view, both systems are straightforward: price fixes, promotions and dealing with unpaid transactions are more or less self-running once set up. For [email protected], being an early adopter of the system has been a great advantage, as it’s enabled us to have a say in what is and isn’t useful, rather than having to just accept the finished product. Because of this, changes have been made which have made managing the online membership process even simpler.
Overall, the set-up process for both systems has been painless, the problems minimal and Gladstone has been great in guiding us through the maze of banking regulations, testing and permissions. Where there have been glitches, they’ve been quick to help us, both during the process and after our go-live dates.
The results speak for themselves. From 11 February to 30 November 2013 we saw 45,284 completed bookings via Connect and a further 27,554 amendments to bookings. Meanwhile, from 20 May to 30 November we sold 371 memberships via [email protected] In percentage terms, about 20 per cent of our monthly membership sales go through online, and about 32 per cent of all class bookings. Both percentages are expected to grow over the coming months as word gets out and confidence in our online systems grows.
To help with this, we’ve recently installed a computer in the reception area of our Sowerby Bridge centre, so members can also use the systems on-site. Once all the kinks have been ironed out there, we’ll look at getting them set up at our other leisure centres, too.”
Frances Durkan, data and information officer, Calderdale Council