The Experience Episode 3: Interview with Ron Lamb, CEO of Club Automation, Motionsoft, VFPNext, and CSI Spectrum

Sara Perry

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August 8, 2022

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category

9

minute read

PUblished

August 8, 2022

Welcome to The Experience Series! We are here to give the health and wellness industry a platform to learn and share strategies for member experience. In this third episode, we’ll be discussing how:

· Automation creates a cohesive experience · The future is an end-to-end experience · VFP partnered with our MMS platforms are powering health and wellness together

· A great member experience means staying in touch

Join industry experts Nick Thornton and Daron Allen, and special guest Ron Lamb, as they share industry voices, trends, and how to implement the best member experience.

Episode Transcription

Nick Thornton: Ron and Daron, it's great to have you today. I'm so excited to kick off our third session of our podcast The Experience and looking forward to having a discussion today.

We are honored to have our president and CEO of our Club brands here at Daxko, Ron Lamb, join us here today. We would love to hear from you, Ron. Maybe introduce yourself to the world.

Ron Lamb: Thanks, Nick. [I'm] Ron Lamb, CEO and president of Club Automation, Motionsoft, CSI Spectrum and VFPNext. I've been with the organization for about four years, and I'm a health and wellness nut.

Nick Thornton: Health and wellness nut – it's funny, Ron, that you say that. I think all of us find a little path through our fitness journey in getting there.

And I know those that have met you at IHRSA know that you're definitely one of those types of individuals looking for additional activity.

Automation Creates a Cohesive Experience

Nick Thornton: But as we narrow this down a little bit and look at our topic for today, I want to dive in pretty quickly. You know, when you think about a market, say the club industry, what's the strategy you go about in planning and thinking about “how do we go after a market?”

Ron Lamb: You know, when you look at how our clubs operate today and how they did five years ago – or 10 years ago or 15 years ago – start with 15 years ago. A lot of manual processes, a lot of just brute force getting things done.

And then about, you know, between the last five and 10 years, there's been a number of what I would call point solutions. [They’re] solving very specific needs, whether it's scheduling or group exercise or front desk or payment processing or billing and collection. You know, whatever it might be. There's been a ton of wonderful solutions to help automate various tasks.

What I think is a big challenge for us is these systems tend to be very disparate systems, and that creates a lot of challenges. Staff will tell me that they've got to have four or five different log-ons. Sometimes even our members must have four or five different credentials and log-ons.

It's just not a good experience. We're doing a lot of things in little silos, but it's not a great, cohesive experience. So that's the opportunity that I saw in joining our team.

Nick Thornton: Yeah, it's funny because you almost lose them along the journey, right? It's almost like, “I got through three. I'm not doing four.” So, it's kind of like, how? What does that point of no return where they're just not going to continue in that process?

Very interesting thought process as we continue on this conversation.

Daron Allen: Yeah, Nick. You know, I know that for quite a few times, this is our third episode, and I know you've been looking for a better, smarter replacement for me. I know Ron doesn't have the time, but if he did, I think you would have your replacement for me right away.

Nick Thornton: Well, I mean, we already did cut you out of the red shirt theme. So, you know, Daron, maybe I will boot you out. I don't know.

Daron Allen: Yeah, I was wondering about that when I got on the call. Like, what? Somebody did not give me the memo.

The Future Is an End-To-End Experience

Daron Allen: So, Ron, really excited to have you on with us today. And one of the things that I wanted to sort of ask you is on that vision. Where do you feel like we are today in that vision?

Ron Lamb: Well, I'd want to say first off, you know, we're not where I'd like us to be. But that's not to say that we haven't made tremendous progress in the last few years. And what we did, if you go back four years ago, we basically mapped the member journey and the staff journeys. We really looked at [the] step-by-step, even before they're a member, right?

If I just moved to a new town and I'm into physical fitness, I want to go see my choices. I'm just kind of shopping and trying to figure [it] out. And, you know, then I go on the website. Then maybe I want to go. You know, maybe I will get a day pass. The management of that data, and the experience when they come into our club and how we handle that. [How we] talk to them about the benefits of joining our club. You know, just all those things, like I said, have been in disparate pieces. With you and your team from VFP joining the party, it solidifies a big chunk.

And so, in the very recent: frankly, over COVID, we spent a lot of money. We've stood up web, we've stood up digital marketing. We now have a world class CRM tool. We have member management; we've built out a billion collections system to take that out of people's hands. [We have] group exercise.

So, we really are knitting together that end-to-end, seamless experience so that that member journey can be something that's magical. [So] that we can save the staff all the brain damage of having all these different systems. Once you get that in place, then something fun begins.

Things like business intelligence and predictive analytics. All those kinds of things that you can build systems on top of, and really understand what's going on and dial in our businesses. So, I am super pleased with the progress that we have made. Anybody who knows me, I'm kind of an inpatient person.

But I'm also excited and optimistic about the better future we're building together.

VFP partnered with our MMS platforms are powering health and wellness together

Daron Allen: Well, Ron, when we founded VFP we had this vision that we wanted to be part of a world class organization. We were always small, growing. We built what we believed was world class, but we wanted to be part of a bigger system. And it is just amazing how we're fitting into the organization. How we're weaving the technology. It is an amazing end-to-end experience.

And I'm really excited about what you have recently done. So, tell us just a little bit more about digital agency, and how that really completes the story as well.

Ron Lamb: Yeah. We've set up a digital agency, and we've got many, many hundreds of customers for our digital products.

So, full offering of website, full offering of digital marketing, search engine optimization. All of those things that you've got to do. Keywords, yada, yada, yada. All the stuff that gets very confusing, frankly, for a lot of our owners.

We now have that full capability that we can plug in. And the beauty of having that is integrating that with this CRM tool, and all the sales enablement processes so that it becomes an efficient, seamless process – from online to in store to retention. Then even all the reactivation, all of that becoming automated is what we're trying to do. Make it easy for our customers.

Nick Thornton: You know, Ron, it was funny hearing you speak about the last four years. And how many times did I say to you over those four years, “Hey Ron, we need a CRM. Hey Ron, we need a CRM?”

And it was funny because this year it all came together. Not only did you bring CRM, but really bringing digital marketing as a product line that we're really launching probably in the next month or so to the club division. Even though it's been running for years on some of our other divisions, I could not be more excited.

And I would just like to tell you: the VFP team and Daron joining us? I think good things come to those who wait. I cannot imagine being a partner with any other platform than VFP and the VFP team. It's just been fun to see this come together and thank you for your leadership through that and dealing with my impatience.

You said you were impatient. I think I may have been a little impatient too, but I think we're better off because of it.

Ron Lamb: Absolutely. And it's really important that the cultures of the organizations mesh.

Daron: Yeah.

Ron Lamb: And that we have shared visions of what we're trying to do. And, you know, at the end of the day we're trying to power health and wellness throughout the world.

That's our role. And we want to find like-minded people who want to work really, really hard every day. [We want to find people who] pour their passions into this industry, make a big difference, and change lives.

A Great Member Experience Means Staying in Touch

Daron Allen: Very good. So, you know, the name of our podcast is The Experience Series. So [for] every guest, we're going to be asking them, “What does ‘experience’ mean to you?”

We're going to throw that out to you, Ron. What does “experience” mean to you?

Ron Lamb: You know, I would answer the question through the eyes of a member's experience because that's how I try to see the world. That's how I see the world.

I’ll tell you a story. You know, this is years ago when we used our phones a lot more to follow up.

A woman, you know, joined a health club, and then she didn't show. Well, that never happens, right? The general manager (he’s now running that club), at the time it was his responsibility. He called and set another appointment, and she didn't show up. He called [and] set another appointment.

She didn't show up. And, you know, at some point when you're in the manual world with pencils and pens and spreadsheets, probably after two or three times you might kind of write that person off. But this particular individual was really, really special. It wasn't until the seventh appointment that she kept it and she showed up.

Fast forward: she was a member of that club for 10 years. In fact, in her eighth year she joined the staff and began teaching, training, coaching and whatnot. In that same 10 years, she met her future husband [and] they got married. So, she married someone who was a member.

Nick Thornton: Wow.

Ron Lamb: Now, here's what's interesting about that story. Turns out the reason that she kept missing those appointments is she had a substance abuse problem. And she literally physically was not able [to show up] after using drugs, but through this particular gym she got clean. She changed her life. She met her future husband.

All of those things happened because one of our own made those extra phone calls.

Nick Thornton: Yeah.

Ron Lamb: My dream for us is to automate, bring automation and simplicity, so that we don't lose touch after the second or third no-show.

That we have automated systems to keep after it, because at the end of the day the technology that's applied properly enables our staff to do their jobs? It saves lives. It changes lives.

And when we change our lives enough, empowering health and wellness throughout the world, we change society. And that's what gets me excited every day about coming to work.

Daron Allen: Man, if there is anything that will get you up and get you motivated to go to work, that's it. Changing lives, impacting lives in that way.

That is so incredible. So powerful.

Nick Thornton: Well, Ron, thank you for sharing this time with us today. We're really appreciative. I know you have a busy schedule.

Also, I know for any of those out in the podcast world or the digital world, feel free to reach out to us. If you have questions, even of our own CEO, he loves to get phone calls and ideas at times.

So, I would just tell you, I’m thankful for today. As we wrap up today's third episode, I look forward to the next session coming out very soon. And on that note, have a great day.

Ron Lamb: Thanks, Nick. Thanks, Daron.

Daron Allen: Thank you, guys.

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Static and dynamic content editing. 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!

Static and dynamic content editing

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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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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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!

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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