Efficiency Versus an Experience
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I love time-saving efficiencies. I am always searching for ways to streamline things, automate tasks and be more organized. I fume when businesses have poorly designed systems and unprepared or untrained staff. To these businesses, I don't usually give second chances. I don't check back in a few months to see if they've sorted themselves out. If giving a business my money feels like a chore, or a waste of time, I find an alternative solution. But, if it's an experience that is worth the wait, worth my time... now that's a different story.
A chore? A bore? Or an experience?
As much as I love time saving, I'm quick to recognize that it's not the universal measurement of quality, especially for experiences. Can you imagine if it were? I'd search for the fastest haircut in town. Or, a dinner out with my wife that can get us in and out as quickly as possible. Or, the North Georgia winery that boasts of, "no waits, no crowds, and fast pours." Experiences that are worth the time, take time.
However, when something feels like a chore or bore (a waste of time), we often look for ways to expedite the process. When I used to go into a Walmart, I'd try to get out of there as quickly as possible. Yet, somehow that never worked, making it both a chore and a bore. Now, I have 25+ items delivered through Amazon's Subscribe & Save program. My trips to Walmart in 2023? Zero.
The importance of an experience.
I am a fan of Starbucks coffee. But, what I really like is the experience of having coffee inside of a Starbucks with other people. In 2023, with the exception of when I was traveling, I went to Starbucks ONE time. (And, yes, I searched my records for Starbucks transactions and counted... I have a system.) What happened? For me, Starbucks turned into a commodity more than an experience. They raised their prices, their service slowed, the quality lessened (or at least became inconsistent), and the drive-through line in Suwanee is embarrassingly long. Bottom line, the wait was no longer worth the reward. It became a chore to get coffee, so I found an alternative: a Nespresso machine, complete with milk frother to make an equivalent and possibly superior grande latte with one raw sugar. My trips to Starbucks in 2024 might be zero.
There are no shortcuts for exercise.
Exercising sits in an odd time paradox. For too many people, exercise is seen as a chore that needs to be done. But an expedited workout (less time spent exercising) is often less valuable. More time-efficient is less effective. To meet the CDC's recommendations for exercising each week, a shorter workout --say, 30 minutes-- would require someone to work out more often. With more visits to the gym each week, add up the time it takes to get to the gym and get cleaned up from the gym, and now, the time spent preparing to exercise overshadows the time spent actually exercising. Thirty minutes to get to the gym, 30 minutes exercising and 30 minutes to get showered and back home. If it is simply a chore --a box that needs to be checked or a ring that needs to be closed-- people will search for alternative solutions, like working out at home or at the cheap place nearby.
What makes a great experience?
Chip and Dan Heath, two of my favorite authors, describe the power of positive experiences in their book The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact. Their theory is that "memorable moments" are usually dominated by four elements: elevation, insight, pride and connection.
Elevation involves an experience that is special in some sensory or surprising way.
Insight helps us learn something new about our understanding of the world or ourselves.
Pride creates a sense of accomplishment through acts of achievement and courage.
Connection is the power of social interactions and shared experiences. Great experiences often involve multiple elements from the four.
Time-efficiency doesn't always win.
For a great experience, time-efficiency is not the primary influencer. In fact, in the Heath brothers' book, they discuss a phenomenon called "duration neglect" where, "when we assess our experiences, we don't average minute-by-minute sensations. Rather, we tend to remember flagship moments: the peaks, the pits, and the transitions."
In an experiment involving uncomfortably cold water for an unknown length of time, for the first trial, people placed their hand in a bucket of cold water (57 degrees for 60 seconds). In the second trial, they placed their hand in the cold water (57 degrees for 60 seconds) then in 59-degree water for 30 seconds. For trial three, people were given the option of repeating either the first or second trial. Surprisingly, 69% of people chose the longer option! My conclusion and translation for all of us selling fitness - people don't want a shorter experience; they want a better experience!
Are you selling (and compelling) the experience?
If you are letting people do their own thing in your facility, tackle chores alone, literally watch the time tick by on a treadmill, they'll want to get in and out as quickly as possible. And, if you're leaving them to "find what works" for them, they may find that what works isn't in your facility at all. Visits in 2024? Maybe zero.
But, if you're selling and compelling people into great group fitness --the kind packed with "meaningful and memorable moments" (to borrow a phrase from the Heath brothers); the sort that includes elevation, insight, pride and connection; the type that makes time fly and makes people want to return-- you'll offer a fit for those seeking both time-efficiency and an experience! How? Great group fitness wastes no time, but delivers a memorable, time-flying experience that will have people visiting early and often in 2024.
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MOSSA develops group fitness workouts that motivate and move more people through a combination of amazing music, welcoming and inclusive coaching, and real results for years and decades. Never a chore nor a bore, MOSSA workouts can be your facility's epicenter for community, connection, and memorable - repeatable - experiences. If you want more visits in 2024, let's talk!