Written by Mark Lewis, James Charles and Julie Allen.
What makes a memorable experience and how can they be created in a health and fitness club?
We were recently introduced to the ‘Disney Paradox’ by Micah Solomon in his article on Forbes where he interviewed the authors of the book ‘The Power of Moments’, Chip and Dan Heath, about creating magical moments in life and work.
The idea is that your visit to Disneyland isn’t perfect – you probably had a long journey there with screaming children in the back of the car and when you finally got to your destination, for the most part, were either shuffling around a busy park with the sun beating down on you or stood in line waiting to go on a ride – but you remember the positive “peaks” (the thrill of riding that huge rollercoaster and the smiles on your children’s faces when they met Mickey Mouse) and the “ending” (the sound of silence as your children slept, exhausted from a day of fun, in the back of the car on the way home). Overall, a successful day, right?
Equally, if something significantly bad had happened during your visit (poor customer service in the restaurant at lunch, the ride you really came for being out of service or one of your children falling over and injuring themselves), referred to by the Heath’s as “pits”, your overall memory of the day will more likely be negative.
You don’t remember every single element of your experience; only the significant extremes. If there aren’t any extremes, either positive or negative, you probably won’t remember that experience at all in a couple of hours, days, weeks, months or years.
What we want to do is create positively memorable experiences for our members, and, according to the Heath brothers, we should do this by delivering EPIC moments.
These four elements are common across “peoples’ positive defining moments”, triggering something within the brain that makes them stick where other experiences may not.
Wow moments. Something surprising, unusual and amazing.
This could be something as simple as front of house welcoming you back to the facility “Great to see you back, how are you?” or a health and fitness coach on the gym-floor recognising that your water bottle is running low whilst you are working towards a PB on the treadmill and filling it up for you rather than you having stop mid-run. Delight is in the detail, anything you can do that exceeds expectations and makes a member smile will achieve this.
A sense of achievement.
When your members visit, are they going to leave feeling like they have accomplished something this evening or dejected because they aren’t seeing any progress? There are a multitude of things you can do to help your members see progress towards their goals. Our research shows that those who perceive they are moving in the right direction are substantially more likely to be a Promoter and therefore stay with your club for longer.
Realising something about yourself and where you fit in the world.
As someone who is passionate about health and exercise, it is sometimes easy to forget that not everyone thinks that way, and not everyone is comfortable in the environment of a gym.
What can you do to break down these barriers and show those members who fall into this way of thinking that they do fit in, they can be a healthy, fit individual, and they are making a positive life choice by visiting the gym?
Feeling part of something. Creating a connection with another human or group of humans.
Group exercise is the obvious one here, and it is so effective.
Your members can train anywhere in the world, from their front room to the park; they are choosing to visit your facility because they want human interaction and social connections.
The key takeaway here must be the reminder that the “ending” of an experience, a visit in the case of a health and fitness club, leisure centre or gym, is so important. Get it wrong and you have undone everything good that came before it, get it right and you’ll leave a great lasting impression.