When Serco Leisure Limited set out to replace its front of house software 10 years ago, they embarked upon a journey that fundamentally transformed the way the business operates. Moving from a manual legacy system with limited functionality and almost no data reporting capabilities, was the beginning of a technology-led revolution that has created a highly efficient organisation that truly puts the customer first.
From front of house to mobile app
When Chris Puszczynski-Phelps (management information manager), joined Serco in 2007 increasing systems efficiency and streamlining processes was crucial. Puszczynski-Phelps says: “From a technology perspective, the business was not operating at the forefront of what was possible. We knew we could do so much more with improved workflows freeing up internal resources. It was evident that technology would be an enabler, facilitating data visibility throughout the business and improving our service to our local authority clients and the communities they serve.”
Serco selected Legend Club Management Systems’ software (Legend) to replace the legacy front of house system and to establish a single, central database for all customer and membership information. Puszczynski-Phelps says: “The changes Legend enabled were huge. In nine months, we reduced mountains of paperwork and wasted man days from manually capturing member details, and found we could automate as much as we wanted to. It was a real game-changer.”
Today Legend products and services employed by Serco include:
• Online customer portal including bookings, membership, registrations, ticketing, online payments and online debt administration
• Self-service smartphone & mobile app
• Legend’s Direct Debit BACS Bureau - running all subscriptions on Serco’s behalf; managing Serco’s subscription forecasting, collection performance and credit control
• Legend Leisure Services - hosting all of Serco’s websites and online services which are directly integrated with their front of house systems
• Legend Facilities Maintenance tablet enabling instant automated contractor communication, individual task setting, live incident reporting and powerful alerting
• Legend PowerHouse Energy Management
• KPI reporting, targeting and alerting
Legend and Serco are currently working together rolling out new event management software, which incorporates sports camps, conference bookings, hotel accommodation and weddings, all within the same data environment.
Evolution through collaboration
Puszczynski-Phelps explains: “Initially a number of things needed changing and it was about streamlining processes, which was hugely successful. Reporting and usability of the software were important as well, and these elements have evolved over the years.
“Online booking was introduced in 2008. It was a relatively straightforward process that we worked closely with Legend to improve year on year until it was a very advanced solution that drove up bookings. In 2012, we released the mobile bookings app and were the first operator in the UK to offer a dedicated mobile experience for booking classes. It’s been hugely successful for us; it’s easily the quickest way to book and is extremely popular. In our busier leisure sites, over 90% of our classes are booked online, and of those, at least 60% have gone through mobile. It’s much more customer-friendly, but also gives us a huge saving at the front desk in terms of the time staff spend dealing with transactional items. It frees up time for the really value-add customer interactions.”
Serco and Legend have also introduced online ticketing for non-members for activities like swimming, white-water rafting, mini golf and outdoor activities.
“Legend functionality has allowed us to successfully and economically diversify our community services outside of the traditional gym, into facilities that include white water rafting, adventure areas and high ropes – all from a single central platform.”
Reporting and Business Intelligence
Legend’s data services and enterprise reporting tools have provided Serco with a competitive advantage. Legend’s Reporting and Business Intelligence functionality have enabled Serco to put data at the heart of its decision-making, from both strategic decisions to real time interventions, as the system drives action based on daily targets and goals.
“Legend allows us to better understand our data.” Puszczynski-Phelps says: “We've built multiple customised dashboard solutions that are aligned with our own business KPIs and operational needs, which has enabled us to standardise data for different managers across the business.
“With Legend the information management system is fully integrated so data is available at the press of a button. It’s clearly visualised so instead of having to compare spreadsheets, our MD can analyse a graph, easily identify trends and view period-on-period comparisons at a glance, saving time and providing clarity."
Legend reporting has helped Serco sharpen its product and service offering. Puszczynski-Phelps explains: “Whilst each of our contracts has flexibility to create their own price schemes based on local needs, the system highlighted a loss of consistency in product and price points which we were then able to rectify. We recognised the configurations presented an opportunity for improvement. By understanding our global information, we've been able to really focus on both quality and consistency for our customers.”
Serco’s return on investment was particularly noticeable with insights facilitated by Legend’s PowerHouse Energy Management Solution. Serco has been able to reduce its carbon footprint by 29% and achieved annual cost savings in excess of £1 million. Legend’s outsourced BACS Bureau helped the organisation improve its Direct Debit collection to 98.8% an uplift of 3.9% on a like-for-like basis.
“Over the years our partnership has identified key business performance indicators for which Legend has built automated reports and dashboards to further hone our efficiency and customer service."
Together, Legend and Serco have moved the needle of software functionality from basic front of house to a full business solution that is continuously being improved.
Puszczynski-Phelps says: “Most other providers sell you their product, and might release a new version sometime down the line. With Legend, it’s a unique relationship between vendor and customer. Legend releases new enhancements every six weeks which are driven by us and other customers so that all benefit from a continuously improving solution. Collaboration means you’re not standing still, you’re driving progress for the whole industry. Legend are not just suppliers, they are partners in our business.
“It’s hard to quantify the value of Legend to Serco; it’s part of almost everything we do. I couldn’t imagine not having Legend because there isn’t another product that does all the things we want it to."