I am a member of Life Time Fitness and periodically they send me emails from the club. It’s a national company so they have multiple locations across the US and about 5 branches in Chicago area. I used to just trash them, but over time I began to open more of them. Why? Primarily because they are relevant and they have good content – they’ll update me on new programs at the gym (specifically my local gym), or upcoming major events. It’s amazing…. It is amazing because it provides context and it’s targeted.
But here’s another thing they do really well. I’m sure that comes at a high cost to them, but they’re constantly improving their website. From class schedules, to registration for classes and events, etc – it can all be done on their website. Community forums, ability to find people to play your sport or do some activity together – just great! Now, I must admit that my schedule is irregular so I don’t take advantage of many of these services, but I still think they rock at it. Do they need to do it? Not at all – they don’t need to invest tons of money into a really friendly and useful website – they’re a gym and spa company so they could just focus on doing a good job at that (which they do excellently by the way). Their focus however is beyond just a regular gym experience, they’re up to speed with technologies and they want to make it really convenient and easy for you to use and enjoy the membership for which you pay. So while I pay more for Life Time than I would for Bally’s or other gym – I see my money at work. I see it at work beautifully so I just commend their efforts and for going beyond my expectations – that is a trait for any great company. It’s in the small things, in the details.
Other examples of such companies are Apple (for example, among thousands of other things they do super well, a simple call to their customer support at a local store will keep updating you with number in line on hold) or REI. But hopefully more about them at some other time.