Orange Sweat: Why The Love For Orange Theory Fitness?

Image of kettle bells

I’ll admit it, I’m an Orange Theory Fitness member. However, I only got to experience the “orange lights” once before COVID locked everything down…. But I was hooked.

You see, I like tough workouts. The ones that completely beat you down, make you drip sweat and make you feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end. That’s what Orange Theory Fitness did for me, and there was something else that hooked me after one work out. Something that other Orange Theory Fitness (OTF for short) members have said time and time again… the workouts provide accountability and a sense of community.

For those unfamiliar with the OTF model, you book your class through the OTF app. You show up at your scheduled time and are assigned a set of stations to do your workout. You wear the OTF heart rate monitor of your choice to track your stats throughout the workout. A coach/instructor leads you through the workouts, and at the end, your individual stats have also contributed to the “team’s” stats for that session. There is something about not only monitoring what you’re doing throughout the workout, but also contributing to a team goal for the session.

There is also great emphasis put on keeping your booked session. (You don’t want to be the person, who kept someone else from being able to work out at that time.) So, there are fees assessed for no-shows or for not cancelling with enough notice. This reinforces the sense of community within its membership.

So, why am I talking about my experience at a gym?

Orange Theory Fitness is the epitome of a good customer experience. Why, you ask? For the following reasons:

  1. An Integrated Experience – From the heart rate monitor, to the mobile app, to the at home or in studio workouts, each of these pieces work together to provide an integrated experience. These pieces work together for the customer to track their progress, view real-time results and get a summary of how their workout went. Further, the mobile app is an integrated experience in and of itself. The app allows you to sync your OTF heart rate monitor, complete at-home workouts, participate in workout challenges, track progress and purchase OTF merchandise. Having an integrated app has been a real lifeline for the gym and its members during the pandemic because you can still get a great workout, while gyms are closed.
  2. Creates a Perceived or Actual Community – Because your stats, along with everyone else’s stats are broadcast on the boards in the studio and your coach is cheering everyone on during the workout, you get a real sense of community. At the end of the workout, the aggregate stats (“splat points” being the most important of those) are broadcast to the group and everyone cheers at a job well done. When workouts went remote in March, the OTF studio Facebook page cheered on individual members, who were logging their workouts in the app to create a virtual sense of community. The Facebook page was also used to host Facebook Live workouts so members could still connect while not able to visit a physical location.
  3. Delivers on its Promise of “The Smartest Workout for More Results” – The Orange Theory Fitness workout is all about using stats to track real-time progress. In using a heart rate monitor, mobile app, the boards in the studio, members see their stats for that day, but also see how their workouts get better and more advanced over time. While its great getting to see the number on the scale go down, knowing how you got there can be even more powerful and provide greater motivation to keep a workout routine going. Now, there are many brand out there that make a promise, but don’t deliver or only partially deliver on that promise. However, to really set your brand apart from all of the others out there, you have to make a simple, easy to understand promise and deliver on it.

Why are these things an integral part of an exceptional customer experience?

Integrated components of an experience provide multiple touch points to engage with a customer. Now, that’s not to say that more is better. In some cases more touch points are better and in other cases, its fewer. It really depends on your brand. What is important is that those touch points have a consistent message and are an extension of your core experience that you present your customer with.

A sense of community drives a positive customer experience because humans are social beings. We crave interaction with others and having a common goal to work toward. In this case, completing a class and earning those “splat points” allows us to have that sense of team and community we look for. An added bonus to the OTF model is seeing other members workout and be enthusiastic at the end. This further creates a customer experience that is memorable and positive. (Who doesn’t want their customer to walk away with positive vibes after engaging with their brand?)

Finally, having a brand deliver on it’s promise makes it clear what the customer is paying for. And we’re all familiar with the old saying “you get what you pay for.” We derive value from knowing that what we were sold is what we actually received.

I’ll reiterate that not all brands do these things well. And not all brands that provide exceptional customer experiences will do these three specific things. There may be other elements that a brand incorporates into their customer relationship management and experience initiatives that are not called out here. But that’s for another day and another post.

Now, time for me to go hit the virtual gym.

So what do you think makes a great customer experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Published by Shelby Bono-Mitchell

My passion for exceptional customer experiences started early in working for major brands in the advertising industry and on the corporate side. I've had the opportunity to work with brands in the tech, retail, automotive and financial services industries to develop brand & communications strategies, optimize digital experiences, introduce UX analytics platforms to gain customer insights and shape customer messages. It is through a single customer experience that we have the power to captivate or sever our customer relationships, and my goal is to captivate.

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