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Fernwood Female Fitness gains highest level of customer satisfaction among Australian gym chains

Fernwood Female Fitness gains highest level of customer satisfaction among Australian gym chains
June 24, 2015

Women-only fitness group Fernwood Fitness has been named as the only Australian gym chain to achieve a five-star rating for overall customer satisfaction.

Consumer research and ratings company Canstar Blue surveyed over 1,000 gym members across the country, rating fitness clubs across a range of categories, including access, equipment, social atmosphere and value for money.

Here, female-only Fernwood Fitness was the only gym chain to achieve a five-star rating for overall customer satisfaction, winning Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers Award.

Explaining the results, Canstar Blue Head and Group Strategy Manager Megan Doyle stated “Fernwood members couldn’t be happier with the modern facilities, supportive staff and friendly, enjoyable atmosphere reported at their gyms

“And the fact that it’s a female-only gym earned a big thumbs up frommany ladies.

“With happier members than any other commercial gym chain, it’s clear that Fernwood has struck a perfect balance – offering Australian women first-class facilities, but also a friendly and supportive environment in which to achieve their personal goals.

“Choosing a single-sex gym has clearly worked out for Fernwood members.”

Welcoming the recognition, Fernwood founder, Dr Diana Williams stated “we’re thrilled to be recognised with this award.

“We have always placed a high priority on member satisfaction, ensuring we provide all the things the female gym-goer needs to get the results they sign up for, so it’s great to have the public feedback that supports what we’re doing.”

“Being a female-only full service gym has always been our point of difference. But we’ve grown and evolved as the needs of women have since we started 25 years ago. Many of our gyms are now open 24 hours due to the demand for better accessibility and every new member gets the advantage of having an online program as part of the first 28 days of their membership so that we can best set them up for success.

“We also develop a number of in-club and online programs that run throughout the year to help our members continue to achieve their goals. This helps them feel part of a team even outside of being physically ‘at the gym’.”

After winning Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers Award, Emma Warren, National Marketing and Communications Manager from the female-only gym chain, provided an insight to Canstar Blue into what the business is doing right by its members.

Canstar Blue question: “Our survey found 49% of gym members joined to improve their fitness, while 29% were looking to lose weight. What is your experience of why members choose Fernwood Fitness and how significant is the female-only factor in their decision-making?”

Emma Warren: “Years ago, those statistics would have been around the other way; it was more about weight loss. However, these days, more people understand the many benefits that exercise alone can provide for their health and wellbeing, and many people just want to ‘feel’ good, which is what exercise does with its endorphin release. The female-only factor is obviously what makes us different to other full service facilities.

“We cater to women’s needs, provide a clean and friendly environment for them to get their ‘me’ time and we really do focus on making sure each and every member gets the support they need to achieve the results they sign up for, whether it is to improve fitness or to lose weight.”

Q: “Can you tell us about the increasing popularity of single-sex gyms and how it has driven the success of Fernwood Fitness?”

EW: “Being a female-only full service gym has always been our point of difference. Fernwood was founded over 25 years ago because of the need for a comfortable space for women to strength train, where women didn’t need to worry about being looked at by men or smell the typical aroma that came with a male gym environment.

“These are still reasons women join Fernwood. But other reasons also include our premium service, our attention to detail, our friendly ‘hello’ when you walk in the door and all the feminine touches.

“Fernwood gyms are a real community where women can socialise and find new friends. We’ve also evolved as the needs of women have changed to have more accessibility by opening 24 hours and having online programs so members can tune in whenever they have the time for helpful advice and support, not necessarily when they are physically in the gym. All of these things have been key features of Fernwood’s success.”

Q: “Value for money was found to be the biggest driver of customer satisfaction, but the availability of staff and social atmosphere were not far behind. How important do you believe a helpful, encouraging atmosphere is to helping people achieve their goals?”

EW: “Often, people sign up to a gym to give themselves the accountability they need to get their desired result. But at the end of the day, if a member is not seeing value in their membership, they will cease it.

“Fernwood are a full-service gym – we’re not the sort of gym where there’s one type of membership and you never interact with a staff member after you sign up. Our staff members are there to provide a service; Fernwood is more than a room with gym equipment in it.

“The value we add with our hands-on support, services like Group Personal Training and Food Coaching, as well as our group fitness, online programs, free breakfast and toiletries (the list goes on!) is what is so important in being able to tailor our gym to so many different types of women and help them achieve their goals.

“Every woman will have a different goal and a different way of getting there, so it’s important we take the time to understand the needs of every member and support them on their health journey.”

Q: “We found one in four gym members work out three times per week, while a further 36% do so four or five times. What is your experience of how frequently Fernwood Fitness members hit the gym and what are the busiest times of the day and week?”

EW: “These numbers are pretty consistent with what we see in our gyms. Women these days lead very busy lifestyles so we’re fortunate we can cater for many different types of members. We have 30 minute express group fitness classes for those who want a quick workout before or after work, or during their lunch break.

“We have Personal Trainers available throughout the day for pre-booked 30 minute sessions that keep members accountable to their workout. Some of our clubs even have child minding so mums can still get in for their workout. All of these great options ultimately mean that our members can easily commit to a few workouts throughout the week without feeling like it’s taking up too much of their time, which is important.

“Each of our gyms will be a bit different in terms of peak times of the day because of their different locations, but generally early morning and after work are our busiest times.”





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