Last year, just prior to our franchise convention for HOTWORX and Planet Beach in preparation for my keynote, I decided to analyze our customer ratings and comments to gain a richer understanding of why our studio members give a 5 star rating. My motivation was to develop a lesson to benefit our franchise owners so that they too could gain insights from the reasons why customers love HOTWORX. Armed with this new understanding it was my hope that our franchise organization could then focus and double down on the most important things.
Often, a research project will take the researcher down an unexpected path, and that is the beauty of an unbiased approach to analysis of business data. Seeking the truth may lead you to facts that you did not know existed before and to insights that can be extremely valuable to your business.
What I discovered early into the research was a three part pattern (see pie chart above). It became clear to me that the workouts, the concept and the customer service were the reasons behind why a customer would take the time to give a 5 star rating and leave a comment for HOTWORX. I found that all ratings comments could be placed into one of those three buckets. After analyzing hundreds of ratings from all across the country, north, south, east and west, I then calculated the percentages based on the number of the comments. I am currently updating the same research for 2021.
The most important reason for a 5 star rating was, and is the workouts. More than 50% of the comments were about the workouts. HOTWORX customers love the 3D training, including the virtual delivery, the instructors, the “more workout in less time’, the variety of workout types both isometric and HIIT, and the detox from the incredible sweat, as well as the natural high from the absorption of infrared energy…the list goes on. Many of these comments included statements like “best workout of my life”. It is the responsibility of the franchisor to continue to produce great workouts, and HOTWORX remains committed to this calling.
The next component is the franchise “concept”. Anecdotes such as, “I love that I can workout anytime I want” and “there are so many different workouts to choose from” along with “the 24/7 access is great with my crazy schedule” fall into this bucket at 20% of the data analyzed. The concept is also the responsibility of the franchisor. In the same way that a great football coach is committed to new plays to improve an offense and discipline to execute those plays, a franchisor must bring well timed innovations to the brand and to keep the look and the feel of the studio professional, vibrant and true to the brand identity.
The third item, and the one that is the most important to the profitability of the business is CUSTOMER SERVICE. It was mentioned 30% of the time based on the number of references in the reviews. I grew up in Mississippi, “The Hospitality State” and graduated from Ole Miss, “Where Everybody Speaks”. Because of that I had a huge upbringing based on the importance of hospitality. Ole Miss is famous for the ginormous festivities in The Grove. Tailgating there is truly an art form of Southern Hospitality. Business owners should view customer service as hospitality and as a form of art! There is no best practice that will ever trump CUSTOMER SERVICE. This is the component that is completely in control of the franchise owner and their staff. Obviously, for the HOTWORX franchise, we place the supreme level of emphasis on how we relate to our customers.
HOTWORX views the franchise organization as a team executing a game plan. The franchisor is the head coach and each franchise location is a player. We view each location as a player on the field of operations executing the concept and the workout playbook while putting points on the board through superior customer service. Customer service should always be a proactive offense. Offense scores most of the points, and the points = profits in the game of business.
Execution of the complete pie chart as depicted above is what makes a fitness franchise profitable. It takes all three pieces of the pie to complete the circle of customer satisfaction for a fitness studio. HOTWORX will always strive for great workouts, a great concept and great customer service.