Five things we’ve learnt from implementing enterprise messaging in the Fitness Industry.

OK, so here’s the spiel (please forgive us — it is relevant we promise). OurPeople is a Team Communication Tool aimed at Leisure Industry workforces that do not have access to corporate email and do not work from a desk. Part of what we offer is secure enterprise messaging.

When a Team Member first starts using the tool, they are warned that all communications are visible and owned by the Operator. However, this “threat” has not stopped large volumes of messages being sent on a daily basis (unsurprising given over 90% of 16–24 year olds in the UK own a smartphone). Here are five facts we’ve learnt from implementing secure enterprise messaging in the Fitness Industry:

# 1 They’re already doing it

There we go, we said it. Clubs were already using messaging services to communicate with each other. This varied from simple text messaging through to using consumer-based services such as Whatsapp. And why wouldn’t they? It’s free(ish), and easily accessible to pretty much everyone because pretty much everyone has the latest iPhone (or Android phone if you’re so inclined).

However, not everything was working perfectly. As a starting point, it was difficult to coordinate everyone’s cellphone number / making sure the right staff were in the group. In addition, one IT Director voiced his concerns that the company had no control over who had access. A Sales team member could walk away with all the sales data for example. Finally, using consumer based services like Whatsapp for business purposes actually breaks their terms of service (“your use of the Service as permitted is solely for your personal use”), which could be an issue for some.

#2 Covering a shift is complicated

Some Operators have scheduling software as part of their HR system. Some do not. Those that do are often told “you can cover a shift at the touch of a button!” As magical as this sounds, It is NEVER that simple.

A lot of the time, Duty Managers seem to prefer contacting staff individually rather than sending a Broadcast to large numbers of staff in one go. When asked, they told us that they knew that certain staff would be more likely to be available on a certain day / time, so the direct approach would work better.

Staff on the receiving end of the Conversation reported that they much preferred being contacted via messaging over a voicemail. Either way, it was working much better than endlessly calling staff for cover and seemed to save a lot of Management time.

#3 Staff just use it

Often, when a booking system or fitness management system goes live, a huge impact is had on the business. From training, to workflows, to providing all staff with access / permission levels etc. Whilst the OurPeople Team Communication tool offers a wealth of other features, when it comes to Conversations, staff simply start using the tool — because they’re so used to messaging, it comes naturally.

#4 They create a culture

For the first time, all staff are now connected equally, rather than the traditional method of the handful of management staff having access to company communications.

We’ve noted different “cultures” being implemented at various locations. Some Clubs now exclusively use the app to collect daily membership sales, so that key staff are aware of how well the Centre is doing without having to look at a computer or paper file. A reminder for a task is also a popular use, whereby staff are reminded about a meeting or to pay for staff car parking permits at the end of the quarter for example.

#5 They work faster

If there is an internal (or customer) query at the Club, rather than a Team Member having to either wait for a specific Manager to be on shift or sending an email (if they have access) group conversations allow the question to be visible more widely allowing for a faster response time. Removing the bottleneck speeds up communication between teams and can radically boost customer service.

OurPeople is a Team Engagement Tool designed specifically for the Fitness Industry, aimed at workforces, which do not work from a computer on a regular basis. Are you interested in finding out more?

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