The Power of Boutiques – High-Touch and Results-Driven Coaching

Published: April 20, 2016

The Power of Boutiques – High-Touch and Results-Driven Coaching

In a presentation we recently gave at the 2016 IHRSA International Convention entitled, “The Power of Boutiques: Leveraging the Power in a Traditional Club Setting”, one of the powers we highlighted was high touch and results-driven coaching.

Why is high-touch and results-driven coaching such an influential force for boutiques? Well, it speaks to two of the most important needs that consumers have when it comes to purchasing a membership or access to a club or studio.

  • Research shows that one of the leading reasons people join a fitness facility is to achieve an expressed fitness or health-related goal. In the experience surveys we do for clubs, one of the questions we always ask is, “Has the club helped you achieve at least one of the goals you had when you joined?” Inexorably, those members who indicate that the club helped them to achieve one of their health or fitness goals (score of 5 on a 5-point scale) are the members who also indicate they love the club and will remain a member. Boutiques appear to fulfill this powerful need of consumers by making sure that every client’s need is understood, that a program is in place for them to pursue it and that inspiration and support is provided by both coaches and fellow members. One boutique studio operator we know refers to his team as coaches and to himself as the head coach. He says their primary job is to understand what their clients want to achieve and then provide them the guidance, inspiration and support to get there.
  • Second, today’s consumers want to know you care. Damon Richards may have expressed it best, “Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Two questions we ask members in our experience surveys are: 1) Do you feel management cares about you, and 2) Do you feel the staff care about you? In both instances, when the members indicate a high level of caring exists, it correlates highly with their love for the club and their desire to spend more, remain longer and finally, become an apostle for the club. In our work, caring constantly emerges as one of the most important drivers of value for members and/or clients. One boutique operator, when asked why he felt he was so successful despite the presence of several close by big box players said, “Our customers know we care about them, and they also care about us.”

If you want to leverage this unique power of boutiques, first begin by demonstrating you really care. Second, learn what each client seeks to achieve and provide a personal platform for them to achieve it. Leaving members to wander on their own after they’ve made their purchase, failing to check-in with them regularly during their journey, requiring them to “pay more” for help, and failing to provide a caring touch are all what puts most fitness operators at a disadvantage and concurrently empowers boutiques.

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