We’re looking forward to welcoming you back.” It’s the sign-off line for many of the information videos gyms released in the run-up to reopening.
But how welcoming does the experience look to members and how well are these videos addressing the questions members want answered?
When consumers need questions answered, they turn to social media. They want authentic information fast. The answers they get can come from the brand itself, or from other customers. To support members, Bannatyne has been actively responding to its members via @Bannatynehelp and PureGym has been actively responding using #PureHelp.
In the week before lockdown gyms saw a spike in Twitter activity. Members were asking each other about the hygiene/cleanliness of their local gym, and reporting back when experiences missed their expectations.
The new customer experience
We expect to see a similar Twitter spike as gyms reopen. Until then, the chatter is focusing on hopes, fears and questions.
In our work, we’ve looked beyond the questions about possible opening dates to see what else is on members’ minds.
Not surprisingly, as new reopening videos are released, they come with a chorus of excitement. Members reply that they can’t wait to be back.
For example, PureGym members have been missing everything from spinning classes and steppers through to the atmosphere and feeling good at the end of a workout. One member tweeted “I forgot how much the gym helped me mentally until recently”. Another just said “OMG I literally can’t wait for the day you give us the go ahead!!”
A member of The Gym tweeted that “I need my gym back.” Then explained “My motivation to train at home is slowly disappearing... I went from five days a week at the beginning of lockdown to two days this week”.
One David Lloyd member summed up the feelings of those who love to hate the pain “I neeeeeed to be back at the gym (and I never thought I would hear myself say that)”.
Not all good news
But this isn’t how everyone feels. Even among regular gym members, the videos aren’t convincing everyone. Previous experiences have left them sceptical about how well the plans will work. The new processes have left them wondering if the experience will be worth the money and effort.
To draw out some details, we analysed 10 days of Twitter comments that tagged seven large gym chains: PureGym, The Gym Group, David Lloyd, Bannatyne, DW Fitness First, Xercise4Less and AnytimeFitness.
We’ve summarised the emerging themes and questions under four headings: value for money, community, convenience and peace of mind.