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Bally Pumps Up Its Image
A twice-bankrupt fitness giant revamps its service efforts.
For the rest of the February 2013 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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CRM: When did Bally begin its technological overhaul?

Thier: The contact center rehaul was about two years ago. It went live in the first quarter of 2011. We had pieces of it go live over the fall of 2010, but 2011 was when we had all of the channels in place. That allowed us to do a lot of different things—the 360-degree view of all conversations with a member was available so that anybody in the company could see what the interaction was like with the member, what their history was, and what concerns they've had. Any correspondence we've mailed or emailed to the member is available to everybody so we can better solve a member’s issues.
CRM: How are you talking to customers on social media?
Thier: We don't have social media rolled into KANA yet. Right now, we're just using [Salesforce.com's] Radian6 to monitor social media entries and then respond, but [in a] future phase, [we] will be able to relate the social media comments back to a specific member and tie that into all of the member correspondence.

CRM: Which customer service channels are lead- and service-heavy?

Thier: The heaviest channel is still the telephone. From a member service perspective, it's still the telephone, followed by email. Chat is much lower, maybe 10 percent of the level of email. From a lead generation standpoint, our Web site generates about 40 percent of our leads, and the mobile version of our Web site probably generates 5 percent. In addition, we sell about 5 percent of our memberships over the Web site. So for the most part, people want to come to the club, touch it, and feel it, before they make the purchasing decision.

CRM: Has Bally looked at the mobile member?

Thier: Most of our mobile focus has been [on] functions for employees for use in the club, which has really helped augment the strategy of making the relationship stronger between employees in the club and members. There are a number of iPad apps that we created that allow any [employee] in the gym to see a photograph, along with some key information, for anybody who's walked into the gym in the last hour. [This allows the employee] to understand the [customer's] relationship with Bally, so that [they] can go up and have a conversation. Say [a customer] has been a member for two years. [An employee might ask] "How are your goals coming? Have you lost the weight to schedule or are you getting fit according to plan?" So it really augments the target of switching from a sales culture to a support culture. The second major app on the iPad was to be able to sell a membership on the iPad. The previous Bally experience for membership purchase [was that you would] get dragged into an office and beat up until you bought a membership. Part of the purpose behind the sales application on the iPad was to create a better relationship again. As you're touring the gym and you get to the point where you're ready to buy a membership, we can just sign you up right there on the iPad. You sign the contract on the iPad and you swipe your credit card on the iPad. It all feels much more transparent and open, and is much more of an interactive sales process than having a salesperson sit behind a desk at a computer.

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