Zipwhip for Franchise
Josh Futterman, Director of Presales & Community Care at West Coast Fitness, faced three main challenges in his business: major communication workflow issues in launching new franchises, getting timely responses from members and reactivating members as the pandemic eased.
Since adopting Zipwhip, Josh and his team have been able to nearly eliminate texting workflow issues, improve the speed of customer communications and get more members to reactivate their memberships.
West Coast Fitness is one of the fastest growing ownership groups in the country, and they’ve experienced growing pains as a result. In launching new Orangetheory locations, the West Coast Fitness team constantly dealt with communication issues during new member sign-up and reopening phases.
Texting is one of the highest-priority communication forms today and should be simple and intuitive, enhancing business communications. The team at West Coast Fitness had multiple issues with their texting software, which caused serious hurdles in launching new locations. Before the pandemic, Josh and team often launched five or more locations on the west coast at once. They needed to be able to easily switch between phone lines to manage texting for each location, and their software didn’t offer that functionality.
Additionally, there was no way for Josh and team to be able to message multiple members or prospects at once. When groups like West Coast Fitness are launching new locations, it’s crucial they hit the ground running on opening day with new and excited members. Messaging interested Orangetheory prospects with special offers and incentives helps start the franchise off on the right foot. Unfortunately, messaging these potential new members was incredibly difficult and massively time consuming due to the lack of group messaging within their texting software.
After messaging groups of prospects and customers about various updates, new launches or incentives, it’s important to stay in contact with your members through text. Consistent contact helps improve member retention and keeps members excited and enthusiastic to refer friends and family to Orangetheory Fitness. West Coast Fitness’s software was limited to a small message cache that only showed a small number of texts in the dashboard, In many cases, the dashboard showed 12 missed texts when in the morning when in fact there were nearly 60 or more members to follow up with.
The final major hurdle for the West Coast Fitness team was the ability to import contacts into their system in bulk. This workflow is crucial for importing large membership lists to text them about great new incentives or locations opening for business. West Coast Fitness’s texting software had no ability to mass import their contacts, so they were relegated to adding contacts one by one. Needless to say, this caused a huge bottleneck in importing contacts and being able to communicate with their prospects and members in a timely manner.
"Because of Zipwhip, we were able to have 5 to 10 continuous pre-sales going on at once, and in doing so, actually opened well above budget and broke national records.”
West Coast Fitness is now leveraging Zipwhip’s texting software as the primary form of communication when opening new studios. It has dramatically improved their workflows, marketing capabilities and has helped ensure the return of their members as the pandemic subsides.
After implementing Zipwhip into their workflows, the West Coast Fitness team was able to dramatically improve their prospect and member outreach with advanced texting features. One of the features they’ve loved most is Zipwhip’s Switchboard, which allows them to easily switch between phone lines so they can text members of any location from the same app. This has greatly simplified their outreach process during new location launches.
In addition to Switchboard, Josh and team were quickly able to improve their workflows with Zipwhip’s Group Messaging and Dynamic Fields features.
Rather than messaging their prospects and members one at a time, Josh started to programmatically text groups of 100 prospects and members at once. And unlike a regular group text, Zipwhip’s are BCC’d, which means the recipient doesn’t know they’re part of a group and when they respond it comes in as an individual message. Using Dynamic Fields, he could also personalize every text with contact info like first name.
The pandemic was particularly difficult for franchises in the fitness space, and Orangetheory was not immune to the sting of shutting their doors for extended periods of time, especially since West Coast Fitness had expanded greatly throughout 2020 and 2021. Josh and team used Zipwhip as a key tool in reaching out to their members about reopening their studios and getting memberships reactivated. Josh and team also leveraged Keywords in their texts to make it easy for members to handle their membership. They would simply ask members to respond with one of the following keywords: ACTIVATION, SUSPENSION and CANCELLATION. Many members decided to reactivate their membership through this keyword campaign, and it eliminated customer service touchpoints.
Zipwhip has enabled West Coast Fitness to build a more efficient customer communication workflow, simplify the launch of multiple new locations at once and reopen studios after the pandemic.