7 Questions to Ask Your Club Management Software ProviderFeb 23, 2021
The fitness industry is evolving at an unprecedented pace, requiring a technology vendor that you can trust to keep up with the new demands of your members and your staff. Whether you are looking at a club management solution for the first time, or are considering switching vendors, there are a few key things that you should ask to ensure a smooth transition. Change can be easy when you can find the right partner, paired with the right technology, that scales to meet your needs.
We’ve gathered seven questions you should be asking any potential club management software provider before getting started. Let’s jump right in.
1. What is your out-of-the-box functionality and will configurations be required?
When you deploy new technology, you’ll want to ask whether or not the tool be used right away, or if it will require configurations: what are its functionalities right out of the box? Will it require a large amount of work to get it started?
If you’re like most clubs, then you likely run your business in a unique way that will require some adaptation. It’s important to ask what the timeline is for modifying the system and how quickly you can expect to be up and running. Any disruption to the first bill date can mean disruption to your revenue as well as your member’s experience.
ABC’s expert implementation team brings years of best practices when it comes to software configuration and integration. On average, ABC’s team can help you start first billing in as soon as 45-60 days.
2. What is included for training club staff?
With staff turnover as high as 70%, keeping your staff trained and engaged is a big part the change management. It’s important to know the potential learning curve for the new software and ensuring adequate support is provided during onboarding. What training is available with the implementation? What materials are available? How is training delivered?
The amount of time required for your team to learn any new tool will affect your ability to get going once you’ve made the switch—which, in turn, affects your bottom line, so it’s important to ensure the proper level of support is available from day one.
When you onboard to ABC, you’ll have a dedicated trainer to help your team get up to speed.
3. What does technical and member support look like?
Find out when your chosen vendor’s customer technical support is available, and to what extent they’ll be accessible to both your team and your members. If you have a club that’s open 24/7 to your members, then you need a software solution whose customer service is available when you are at the minimum. We recommend working with a vendor whose customer service is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so that your members’ schedules and lifestyles are also accommodated.
At the end of the day, the vendor should be there to provide you with the support you need, when and how you need it. Member requests can come from myriad channels: phone, email, social. Handling these member requests about billing and membership can be sensitive, and your vendor should be prepared to provide top tier service around delicate issues like payment and cancelation policies that prioritize your brand and commitment to member satisfaction.
4. What about scalability and innovation?
You are no longer competing against another fitness club, you are now fighting for the attention of your members from outdoor activities like running and cycling, as well as at-home workouts like Apple Fitness+ and Peloton. Your club management provider should be a partner to help future-proof your business, no matter the options.
How forward-looking is the vendor you’re considering? Learn how long they’ve been involved in not only deploying gym management software, but also how long they’ve been a part of the fitness industry, what they have done recently to enhance their clients’ capabilities, and what’s on the horizon. How familiar are they with the space? Are they committed to serving gym owners, and solving the common issues clubs regularly face, and anticipating their needs?
Most importantly, how scalable is the company to be able to serve different gym types? How many clients do they have? How many members do they support? Longevity and sustainability of the company, more than ever, speaks to their likelihood to the continual investment in the business and be around for the partner you need them to be.
You’ll want to choose a vendor that’s truly dedicated to fitness and innovation so they can accelerate your revenue and operations.
5. What don’t you do well?
Before you choose your gym management software, you’ll want to know what it can’t do. Are there certain features you need for your club? Find out whether the software has them or whether you’re willing to live without them. It’s best to know what a vendor’s limitations are on the front end before you make the switch.
Beyond software interfaces, does the software help you be more efficient and drive higher revenue across your club? Are any of its processes—which could be automated—manual or cumbersome? At a minimum, your gym management software should have:
- Strong revenue-cycle management to automate your billing and deliver more revenue
- Ability to bill all days of the month
- Out-of-the-box usability without needing extensive customization at extra cost
- Comprehensive and easy-to-digest financial reporting
- Flexible scheduling for group classes and personal training sessions
- Capable modules and add-ons to meet your unique operating model
In addition to asking the vendor about their software limitations, do your research. Look for customer reviews, ask other operators you trust, and gather as much information as you can about the product’s features and limitations. Doing so will help inform your next steps.
6. What are the terms of the contract?
Contractual terms and obligations are a must-know, but especially when you are switching to a new gym management software. Are there penalties or fees to pay if you want out of the agreement early? What about additional fees if you want to recover or transfer your data and member billing information? Is a multi-year contract mandated? How much notification time do you or the vendor need to provide if there are changes to the contract? Know your options upfront so you are not charged with unnecessary fees later, or worse, get stuck with a technology that no longer serves your business. Not all software vendors require multi-year agreements. For example, ABC Fitness works with our clients on a month-to-month basis.
And as always, take a look at the actual language of the contract and make sure you’re comfortable with the exit terms to prevent any surprises or punitive fees in the future.
7. How easy do you make it to switch software providers?
Change is inevitable when working with legacy technology. Some gym management software providers make switching providers very difficult for the client. You will want a clear picture of what the exit process looks like if you decide to go in a different direction with your software solution. At the end of the day, it’s your business and your vendor should be a partner in your success so that you can make the right decisions for your business.
Should you ever decide to make a switch, how will the vendor handle your data, and will they make leaving a painful or overly complicated experience? Here are some important items to understand when considering what you’re getting into—and what getting out of it looks like if you need to move on later:
- Do they charge exit fees or extraction charges?
- Some software solutions will charge a fee to transfer your information.
- What is the reserve obligation and how do they justify it?
- Amid the pandemic, what was your vendor’s response?
Here at ABC, we believe that the data belongs to the club operator and owner, there is no charge to export or transfer the data.
Looking for a proven gym management software partner?
With 2020 in the rearview mirror, many clubs are looking towards the future to find ways to optimize their efficiencies wherever possible, making it the perfect time to take a look at your current vendor with a critical eye.
With our holistic and modular club management software suite, we enable gym owners and operators the ability to curate and deliver a personalized Total Fitness Experience for their members. Our customer service team is available to you 24/7/365. We work with our clients on a month-to-month contract, with no exit fees.
ABC Fitness Solutions offers gym owners a seamless, integrated user experience, proven financial results, growth enabling services, and configurations to make the interface your own. If you’re looking for a one-stop software solution for your gym with high out-of-the-box functionality and stellar support during deployment and beyond, get in touch with one of our experts today.
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