How Hockessin Athletic Club Keeps Up with 12,000 Members Using a Member Engagement Assistant

Tara Massouleh

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September 10, 2020

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category

minute read

PUblished

September 10, 2020

For more than 13 years Hockessin Athletic Club (HAC) has stood as a pillar of community in Delaware’s New Castle County. When owner Bob Carpenter realized his former facility, Pike Creek Fitness Club, could no longer meet the growing needs of its members, he decided to start over and create HAC as a world-class, family-friendly club to serve his entire community. Since opening, the club has grown to include more than 12,000 members and a staff of 400.

Over the past decade, the club has seen tremendous evolution and change, but the commitment to meet member needs has never faltered. Longtime HAC employee Lisa Maguire has seen it all firsthand. She started with the company 16 years ago, when she worked at the front desk of Pike Creek Fitness Center as a high school student. Over the years, she’s worked in both sales and marketing, before landing in her current role as Marketing and Advertising Director.

Lisa says continued commitment to community, powered by personal outreach, is one of the secrets to HAC’s long-term success. Last year as membership climbed to 8,000 adults (plus 4,000 children), HAC identified a need to improve personal outreach efforts and better serve their members through more frequent communication. In a strategic hiring decision, HAC chose to bring on Club Automation’s Member Engagement Assistant, powered by Conversica, to achieve its member outreach and engagement goals.

This Club's Experience with a Member Engagement Assistant

HAC opened communication channels through its Member Engagement AI Assistant in January 2020. A few months later, the health and wellness community faced one its biggest challenges as state and local guidelines required fitness facilities to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As HAC found new ways to serve its members and recover strong from a trying time of social isolation, its Member Engagement Assistant proved an incredibly valuable asset in keeping the HAC community connected despite the club’s two-month closure.  

We talked with Lisa to learn more about Hockessin Athletic Club and how they used their Member Engagement Assistant to reassure their community with safety procedures for re-opening, thank them for their patronage, and upsell them on additional club offerings. We asked her:
What are some of Hockessin Athletic Club’s main values?

Our mission/why statement is: “We believe in enhancing people’s lives while creating a sense of community.” Our goal is to be an asset and resource to the community we reside in, as well as to foster and create a community within our walls.

What is the most important part of the experience at HAC?

We think it’s the relationships that the members have with the employees and with each other. Making friends and feeling at home is a huge part of our culture and what makes our members successful.

Why did you choose to use a Member Engagement Assistant?

There’s a huge amount of personal outreach that needs to happen with a high-end experience club like ours, and Kelly helps us make those touch points, while only escalating those conversations that need attention. It can become hugely discouraging for a human to send a hundred personalized emails and only hear back from a few people, and it can also be difficult for them to field some of the negative feedback when it occurs. What we’re finding now is that our sales team is getting pre-qualified leads so they aren’t getting as discouraged, and that oftentimes, the feedback that can be negative or need extra attention is flagged as a conversation to review, so it’s getting escalated to a manager.

What was your experience like using a Member Engagement Assistant?

It’s a little intimidating at first because the tool is so robust, but it’s easy to get the hang of. It’s pretty similar to sending a mass email through other tools, except it really takes the “mass” part out of it. It’s amazing that people really feel like they’re getting individual attention from a human. So many people come in and ask to speak to Kelly or say how nice she is! 

What have you been most surprised about in your experience using a Member Engagement Assistant?

How easy it is to manage the responses and how thorough the onboarding process was. I really felt like a valued, high-end client. The team that did my on-boarding would reach out if they hadn’t heard from me, and even worked with our IT company directly when we ran into a setup hiccup. 

How has using a Member Engagement Assistant helped HAC achieve its goals?

Pre-COVID, our Member Engagement Assistant alumni campaign was hugely helpful with our sales goal and alumni outreach. Post-COVID, we were able to turn on a handful of frozen accounts, but most importantly, we got some very valuable feedback about member sentiment on returning. The feedback was different than what we received in our survey because the members thought they were interacting with a human. They were able to make requests and ask questions which helped us dive deeper into their thoughts and concerns, enabling us to better serve our community as a whole.

Ready to see how a Member Engagement Assistant can help your club connect with thousands of members at once ? Book your consultation today .

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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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