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EDITOR’S LETTER


The power of positivity W


hen it comes to member feedback, clubs have a great opportunity to move beyond simply responding to the negative – addressing the causes of complaints –


and into fully maximising the value of positive comments. Operators that understand how to harness the power of such feedback can take a step on from merely meeting expectations, instead exceeding them at every turn. There’s a two-pronged opportunity here: mining


positive feedback for insights to improve your offering, and using it in your marketing to enhance your reputation. A number of operators already use Net Promoter


Score (NPS) as the basis for decision-making; data from Xercise4Less proves that a business can be transformed as a result (see p38). But at the moment, most clubs still focus on negative feedback – improving the business by removing causes for complaint – rather than using positive feedback as a springboard to even greater things. However, as IT systems become smarter, clubs can


make a gear change. For example, by analysing what advocates are saying about them, operators can identify winning themes around which to build unrivalled clubs. Dr Melvyn Hillsdon spoke about this sort of approach


at May’s Retention Convention. He suggested clubs ask members to rate the ‘enjoyability’ of their experience – and that they then model this data, understand what people enjoy most, and create even more of these experiences. The end result: a club that keeps members happy, and draws in many more, because it’s full of all the things people have specifically told you they like. Clubs can take inspiration from an ongoing London


School of Economics initiative called Mappiness (mappiness. org.uk). This study uses the GPS in phones, with people beeped randomly and asked to report how happy they are at that moment, wherever they are; this data is then


mapped. A particular focus is on quantifying how people’s feelings are affected by their environment – primarily green space, but also air pollution and noise. Characteristics of ‘happy’ locations are drawn out and could be used to ensure new developments are designed as places people will happily spend time. Why shouldn’t health clubs do similar, finding out which


parts of their offering people are most enthusiastic about and using this knowledge to create an unbeatable club? And of course positive feedback has currency outside your walls too: there’s nothing more persuasive than


Understanding how to harness positive feedback represents a chance for operators to exceed expectations at every turn


the endorsement of a brand fan. Data from retention software solution Listen360 suggests 20 per cent of a club’s advocates will share their feedback on social media if asked. But clubs shouldn’t stop there in steering public perception of their brands, instead taking it up a notch with broader reputation management – not just placing testimonials on review sites and social media, but extracting insights from positive feedback that can be used to create a glowing vibe around their brands in all manner of public spaces. It’s time to ‘think positive’, using advocates’ feedback to enhance our brands and offering in and outside our clubs.


Kate Cracknell, editor katecracknell@leisuremedia.com @HealthClubKate


For more insight and expert advice about the hot topic of retention, visit HCM’s new Retention Hub: www.healthclubmanagement.co.uk/retention


T: +44 (0)1462 431385 W: healthclubmanagement.co.uk


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