On April 14th, Celarity hosted the UXPA MN event, Our Journey from User Experience to Service Experience. Michael Gonsalves, Director of Experience Design and Innovation at Life Time Fitness, presented on how his team has evolved since he joined Life Time in June of 2014.

What was unique about this presentation? Michael shared some significant insights that show how understanding your customers and conducting in-depth research play an important role in the user experience.

Here are a few UX life lessons taken from Michael and his team at Life Time Fitness:

Sometimes, a survey just won’t do.

One of Life Time’s most popular products is their 90 Day Challenge. However, a recurring pattern was found in the program: there is a continuous drop-off in member engagement beginning after kickoff. Some within the organization thought this issue could be solved by distributing surveys to members and then using the data to build a mobile application.

Michael’s team was brought in to help determine the scope of potential for the app. What they found was that an app wasn’t necessary to fix the issues within the program. How did they know this? They began an in-depth journey into qualitative research with team members and members that resulted in the discovery of obstacles that could be removed to improve the user experience…without building an app.

Make sure you know your customers before launching a new product.

Life Time Fitness has a store brand within their gym called LifeCafé and Life Time was getting member feedback about the slow speed of service within the café. In response, they launched an online ordering pilot program within 3 clubs to cut down on the time members would have to wait for an order.

Except, they weren’t so thrilled with the results. Why wasn’t anyone using this cool, new platform? What they discovered was that their members didn’t perceive online ordering as a time saver and the new offering didn’t fit into the routine of their members’ club visits. Life Time has since been working to find ways to utilize the online ordering utensil to promote LifeCafé as a part of the membership routine rather than as a time saving tool.

There aren’t always solutions to complicated issues.

Occasionally, there are issues that don’t have an overall, one-size-fits-all solution. Life Time Fitness saw an example of this type of problem within their Personal Training client retention. Life Time asked Michael and his team to help understand what causes clients to leave or to stay with their personal trainer.

What they found was that there was more wrong with the program than anyone expected. This lead to a realization on how tough it can be to deliver negative messages and how challenging it can be for an organization to accept that there aren’t always easy responses or resolutions.

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If you’re looking for new opportunities or trying to find talent within the UX, creative, interactive, IT or marketing fields, Celarity can help! We’ve been working with qualified individuals and businesses in the Twin Cities since 1993, and we’re dedicated to building quality relationshipsContact us today to learn more!

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