The fitness industry has seen explosive growth in recent years and with it lots of competitors flooding the market eager for fast gains. With novelty fitness approaches being productized, franchised, and expanding into a variety of products and services there have never been more revenue customer-led experiences for fitness businessespossibilities. Whether exercise equipment, athletic apparel, clean eating, or dietary supplements, innovative fitness brands seem to have cracked the code when it comes to creating a trendy, lifestyle brand. However, the key to a sustainable and successful business is committing to a customer-led approach.

Keeping your customers at the core of your business’s operations, decisions, and investments will ensure that quality is never compromised as your business continues to grow and scale. It also keeps all employees aligned, working towards the same goal, and empowered with a variety of personalized solutions by which to attain it. With fitness models breaking out of the one-size-fits-all membership system, there has never been a better time to take advantage by presenting a differentiated and results-oriented approach that customers can connect with.

Laying the groundwork

Like anything else in the fitness field, committing to a customer-centric model takes discipline and hard work. As the business owner, it is your responsibility to set concrete business goals for your team to meet, as well as the overall mission, tone, and culture of the company. Expectations must be set from the top-down, so start by establishing a mission statement or core narrative about what your program aims to accomplish, and highlight how the approach you take sets you apart from the competition. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and examine how traditional models may have caused frustration or underwhelming results for them in the past, making it more difficult to believe in or trust the claims of another program. This will be integral for communicating your value, both internally to employees, and externally through marketing messaging and promotion.

This should be a rallying cry to your team and clients, alike, and emphasize a foolproof way to keep them on track and accomplish their personal goals, whether they’re looking to build strength and train competitively, or just take the first, difficult step in embracing a healthier lifestyle. Make sure your team internalizes these values and that you empower them to usher in this change in attitude and expectation in order to deliver on your mission statement. Make each employee responsible and accountable for seeking out and implementing ways to continuously add value to your brand’s relationship with customers. Take time to establish systems or processes to track this, and ensure everyone clearly understands their role in accomplishing it.

Signpost’s Mia automatically reaches out to customers to collect feedback and drive more testimonials and five-star reviews to help fuel digital word-of-mouth for your business.

The final yet indispensable item necessary for success is customer feedback. Get them involved early in this process, to make sure you’re focused on what matters most to them. Consumer expectations and hopes are not always the same as your own personal aspirations, so be aware of that, and check in as often as possible to make sure you remain close partners in both individual and brand success. Even if you no longer work directly with customers on a daily basis, it is essential that you seek and receive this input, firsthand, so that you can stay plugged into their motivations, progress, and expectations and continue to find innovative ways to deliver and delight them.

Building and Fostering a Community

When the customer is central to all decision-making, then the process of creating a community will be that much more streamlined. Find ways to connect with your clients, outside of the time you spend sweating together. What else is important to them? How do their fitness targets fit into their larger goals and aspirations? Connect with them on that level, and create a space where they can find support and motivation with others passionately pursuing similar priorities.

One tenant of the customer-centric model is to create a delightful and frictionless experience for your customers from their very first interaction throughout the entire purchase cycle and delivery of services. Make sure that no matter where they come across your business, they’ll be in for a pleasant experience. This means building a website with intuitive navigation and accessible information. Include pertinent details, such as address, hours of operation, phone number and email address for each location, pricing, class schedule, and easy online booking (if applicable). Consumers want the ability to choose the format of these interactions. Your site should be responsive, so no matter where they’re accessing it (on their desktop, smartphone, or tablet), they can manage their account, submit an inquiry, or have their questions adequately answered.

The messaging you use on your website, social pages, and in any advertising or promotional materials should speak to your core mission statement. Embed these ideals in every layer of the organization, and you will be sure to stay on track!