Sentiment Spotlight: Health Clubs and a New CX Resolution

By: Dheepan Ramanan

January 21, 2016

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For many of us, each New Year comes with new hopes, aspirations, and resolutions. No resolution, however, is as common as deciding to hit the gym more. Google search results show massive spikes in queries about gyms every January. This is no surprise to frequent gym-goers, who will attest to the hoards of “resolutioners” on the equipment at this time each year. Inevitably, the crowd and the search results drop rapidly as many people fall off the fitness wagon.

It is in health clubs’ best interests to try to keep these fickle gym-goers around while also keeping their long-term customers happy. In order to combat this annual ebb and flow, health clubs need to focus on year-round customer experience excellence.

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Number of “Gym” Google Queries

This week, we analyzed 5 different health club chains (Equinox, Gold’s Gym, Anytime Fitness, Lifetime Fitness, and Crunch) using Clarabridge to find omni-source insights.

Social Engagement Strategy
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook provide a valuable window for brands to engage with their customers. When we analyze the way health clubs use these channels, we see that there are opportunities for them to develop a more sophisticated user engagement strategy.

  • All five brands have relatively high sentiment, with Gold’s Gym scoring the highest with 24% of all comments scored as positive
  • From a social media volume perspective, Equinox had the most comments followed by Gold’s Gym and Anytime Fitness
  • Most brands focused more on Twitter engagement versus Facebook posts
  • 37% of Anytime Fitness came from Facebook, the most of any brand in the study
  • Anytime Fitness has by far the best engagement rates on their posts. They have a dedicated campaign called “Motivation Monday” that many users follow. Other brands could do well to replicate a similar strategy to reach out to their customers.
engagor engagement rates

Comparing Social Results Against Survey

A crucial part of listening to all customer feedback is being able to compare results from multiple sources. Analyzing social feedback against survey allows gyms to identify the most important customer touchpoints that need improvement.

  • On survey sources, customers mention service less but have higher sentiment
  • Issues around the website are mentioned 360% more often on social than in surveys
  • Comments around sales are far more prevalent on social than survey (107% more common)
  • Club Temperature (a comment of Maintenance topics) is 96% more often mentioned on social. Most of these comments centered on too warm or too cold temperatures in gyms

Combine Sentiment and Survey Ratings

Using survey and sentiment in combination allows brands to identify customer touchpoints that are top of mind with their customers. When customers speak negatively or positively about these areas, overall satisfaction dramatically declines or rises compared to average.

  • Club Cleanliness has the biggest effect on overall satisfaction scores. High sentiment can improve satisfaction above average, while negative scores drop people to detractor range (0-6).
  • Studio Music and Group Exercise have similar effects
  • Negative experiences with WiFi drop customer satisfaction the most of any theme
  • Knowing that these topics effect customer satisfaction more strongly, we can find gyms where these issues present themselves the most

Operationalize Insights

It’s not enough to just analyze data; to excel in customer experience, brands need to push recommendations to local stores and locations. Using survey insights, these gyms can isolate problem areas and find the worst offender among their locations. For example, using location data, WiFi issues are the worst in Washington DC.


Despite that many gym resolutioners are going to fail at sticking to their new fitness program, to be in great CX “shape,” health clubs need to stick to a year-round customer experience routine using the only holistic whole-body CX workout: omni-source analytics.


Dheepan Ramanan is a data scientist at Clarabridge. Follow him on Twitter @DheepanRamanan.