"Convenience is Bullshit!"

Very quickly, I became extremely passionate in this conversation.

Last week, a close friend and I were discussing several ideas that he had with respect to the systems at the gym he owns and runs. A number of ideas in, and we started talking about members. No members in particular, more the idea of members at his gym, what the potential of them leaving is vs. the value of them staying.

He then went on to say…

“Sometimes it is just not convenient ha? I had a member leave last week who said they are planning to go to the gym that is closer to home.”

“Bullshit! That is an absolutely bullshit excuse”

No response.

Consider this…

On the 7th June 1976 saw the opening of the first McDonalds restaurant in New Zealand. On the 7th June 2016 saw 166 active McDonalds’ restaurants operating in New Zealand. McDonalds have a precise goal, that is to have a restaurant within 8 minutes of any household, in all main centers. They all offer the exact same products, the same service, and are priced identically. The McDonalds’ brand is driven by the idea of market saturation and convenience.

The closest McDonalds to home, is convenient, because it is the same.

In comparison…

In Palmerston North city, there is a well-known café named Café Cuba. Anyone and everyone who has lived in Palmerston North, travelled to visit friends, or stayed would have, or next time should, visit Café Cuba. The café is situated on the corner of an inner-city street. The building is old, and should be written in the history books. The café itself is small and cluttered, with old small round and square tables, and two small toilets out the back of the dining area. Regardless of all this, the café is always flooded with patrons. Customers will often stand and wait for up to 30mins before a table is free.

According to ManawatNZ, Palmerston North features 66 Cafes, most of which are within 5km of the CBD. A significant number of Café’s that are much more convenient than Café Cuba. Yet, of them Café Cuba is one of, if not the busiest in the city.

It’s not convenient.

But, their customer experience is in high demand.

My friend now understood where I was heading.

“Obviously, what I offer is not a franchise like McDonalds’, therefore the product, or ‘customer experience’ as you put it, is different to every other gym?”

Correct.

There is only one reason you lose a member.

Your ‘customer experience’ is not as good as someone else’s, for the relative price you charge.

The same could be said about a member leaving to try a new sport, or because they “Can’t afford it anymore”. They don’t want to try a new sport, and they sure as shit can afford it. The issue is, that the experience you offer is not as good as someone else.

If you lose a member, don’t be offended.

Fix it.

Improve your ‘customer experience’.

No one sells a product or a service, we ALL sell an experience.

 
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Michael Gillum