Shrugged Collective

Barbell Business – Defining Your Customer Experience Strategy

This week on BARBELL BUSINESS, we discuss:

  • How you can determine your next customer experience project with the Kano model
  • How you can plot your members’ basic needs and expectations
  • How to determine your SMART goals for your next project
  • What software you can use to manage your next project
  • How to pull knowledge from every aspect of life into your business

What does it take to be a gym owner? Not much, really.

You need some equipment, a facility, a coach and a way to take monthly payments. Several years ago, that was enough to be a successful box owner. Today – not so much. The overall customer experience is becoming more and more important now that the internet has completely altered the way we research businesses we’d like to engage with.

There’s no doubt that you have a long list of improvements you’d like to make to your business but where do you start? How do you know which to prioritize? And how can you be certain you’re not missing a huge opportunity to improve? Defining a customer experience strategy is a seemingly abstract concept but it can actually be quite structured with the Kano model.



In the Kano model example above, the red represents the basic needs required to run a gym. When someone comes into your gym or interacts with your business, they just assume you have what it takes to operate your business. There’s nothing impressive about that to your prospects – it meets their bare minimum expectations.

In the orange, you’ll see what customers want. Gyms today are more than just a warehouse with a coach, some equipment and a payment process. They have air dynes, Wodify, FitAid, swag to purchase, a great website experience, an engaged Facebook group, etc. You need to cover these bases as well or your competition who is crushing these will take your prospects right out from under you.

Finally in the purple, you’ll plot things that people don’t expect, add value to your gym and are really awesome. i.e. showers, or even soap IN the showers. Now that would be amazing.

The beauty of the Kano model is that is allows you to plot improvements that go beyond training experience. It can be to improve your online presence, to offer upselling options like personal training or nutrition coaching, or to improve your sales process.

For example, Rob Grupe owner of Twice Bitten CrossFit found that there was a need to improve his close rate. He discovered that if he walked potential new members through a 5 step process, their interest level increased quite a bit and the conversation became a lot more human and meaningful. 1) Ask how they found out about their gym. (lead source) 2) Find out what brought them in today versus 6 months ago to discover their true root cause 3) Explain how your training and nutrition methodology worked for other members who had the same issue. 4)  Establish a timeline to see these results. i.e. 6 months, 12 months. 5) Show them the price for that span’s contract. With this simple strategy, he was able to close 3 times the amount of leads than he did previously.

For more tips on how you can plot your own Kano model and manage the projects that are a result of it, listen to the show!

You’ll also hear us mention an app called Asana. This is what Barbell Shrugged and Barbell Business use to manage our team. Everyone is virtual which having a solid task management process is critical. As promised, here’s a sneak peak into the way we manage our world:

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 8.16.58 PM


Every week, we have a team meeting to discuss different projects we’re working on (left column). Each project has a team lead and there are metrics in which each team lead is responsible for reporting. This keeps everyone accountable and working with our eyes on what matters – the KPIs. This is so helpful when you have a ton of moving parts. Priorities can become muddied under new ideas or time sucks.

This is a process that’s worked really well for us. If you have any questions about it, I’d be happy to answer in the comments section below. Also, if you’re a gym owner who is interested in improving your athletes’ experiences at your gym, be sure to watch this demo of Barbell Logic. It may be exactly what you need. 


Enjoy the show!





Mike Bledsoe

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  • Do you have any other software that plugs into asana?

    E.g Is there lead management crossover or does infusion soft take are of all of that?

    • Hey Keith, we try to go to a CrossFit box anytime we travel. We travel pretty often because of the show, so it’s hard to say how many times a year we do this because there’s no constant.

      As Jon said in this podcast, the process is to just be very aware of every interaction and aspect of the gym you’re visiting. Make mental notes of what you liked and didn’t like.

      Also, have a seasoned CrossFitter that you trust come into your own gym to see how their experience goes. As a gym owner, your experience is vastly different than your average person that walks in unannounced. Play undercover boss. Just remember to be transparent with your staff after and make it all a very positive experience. If there are issues that need to be addressed find the root cause (you can learn about that on the “Advanced SOPs Episode”) that should help get rid of the emotion and finger pointing that can happen when things need improving. Hope that helps!


  • Hey! This was such a helpful episode. Thank you. I am helping streamline various processes in our gym as well as creating excellent member experience and retention. What are some “must have’s” for a 100+ member gym (growing about 6+ new athletes every week) to implement into the system for member care/processes? I’m wondering if lead pages/aweber would be one of those or what you’d suggest…..

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