I am a member of a chain of gyms in Barcelona.
And I am seeing how the User Experience is decreasing from time to time through a strategy in search of revenues not very well defined, and of course looking for cost reductions but in elements that are too visible for clients.
We talk a lot about UX in websites, but it is also important in traditional businesses. The fact is that for a website it is relatively easy to know the impact of changes in user experience. You have a full set of metrics and you can do A/B tests to know what works and what not.
In brick & mortar, it is more blind direction, except for the direct feedback from customers if you are willing to listen to it.
In case of gyms they are lucky that there is a lot more friction for a provider change and there is some room for clients tolerance when something goes worse.
Some examples of changes that I consider a mistake.
Use the same premises to provide low cost service
This implies there are people that do not have access to some services and then you need to build barriers inside: vending machines for towels, oblige the client to identity identification with a card or a bracelet to get access to any of the normal services anywhere inside the gym (classes, towels, locker rooms, ..). Uncomfortable…
It would make more sense to open low cost centers, but in this case there is additional investment need, of course.
Reduce costs in elements that are really visible
In example to change towels to something that looks more like a napkin. There is clear dissatisfaction from clients.
The trick is that in the Internet you just jump to another website that keeps delivering the service you are used to when something gets worse in the current one. But in this case it is a small decrease in service that the client will finally accept.
My big doubt is, looking at the claims unattended, how much you can decrease the service level perception to get the clients change directly to another provider even with the burden that comes with it.
Any experience worth sharing in brick & mortar UX?