HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT BUILDING A LOYAL, ENGAGED COMMUNITY WHEN YOU ORIGINALLY OPENED JOYRIDE STUDIOS?
- It’s organic. It starts with the relationships you’re building. From a business perspective it starts with going above and beyond with customer service.
- It’s also about personalization: we knew all of the customers’ names, and not only that but stuff about their lives (“Oh you haven’t been here in a week, we missed you, how was your son’s graduation?”)
- Put a lot of emphasis on those relationships to make the client experience more meaningful.
- What matters to people is what they’re going to invest in and follow through with, and that’s another opportunity for engagement. Take advantage of time before and after class to understand what matters to them. Think beyond just fitness, because people care about an array of things:
- I was a high school English teacher, so as an extension of our fitness community we do Joyride Reads, a huge book club every month.
- Our community, led by me, has done service trips to Africa.
- If any of our staff has a particular interest or something they want to share, we always encourage them to to fly with it (and do events, special classes, etc).
ONCE COVID HIT, WHAT ARE SOME SPECIFIC WAYS YOU KEPT YOUR COMMUNITY ENGAGED DURING THIS CRISIS?
- We immediately offered online classes in a variety of formats (using Forte fit, Zoom, and Instagram, and if people missed them live we offered recordings). We offered up to six classes a day, including kids’ classes for members homeschooling their kids.
- We experimented with more off-the-bike classes (Pilates, Barre, Circuit training) and got creative: I created “broom Pilates” where you can use a broom to do Pilates and Barre movements for clients that didn’t have any other equipment.
WHAT WAS YOUR PLAN FOR RE-ENGAGING YOUR COMMUNITY AGAIN IN REAL LIFE?
- The most important thing is that you’re really transparent and thorough in safety protocols: we’re making sure we’re being as safe as we possibly can.
- Being transparent and clear what protocols are going to be – making sure your customers know you’ve really thought things through, and also making sure your staff and instructors are fully on board.
- People seriously miss the community and human connection of coming to studios to work out, but we want everyone coming back to feel 100% confident – that translates to a level of trust from our clients and leadership from us.
- We will continue with our virtual offerings (classes and non-fitness events like our book club and a four-part speakers series on race, led by one of our black instructors and two black educators in our community).
- If nothing else, Covid has taught us that online activities are still a great way to continually engage with clients!