Was The Curves Smart Program a Smart Choice?
Susan Collinge of Customer Crossroads blogged about on how Curves created a tailored customer experience for women. But then she noted a distressing development. Many of the Curves members started venting on her blog about the new Curves Smart system and how frustrated they were by the lack of results. It raised a red flag for Susan that many women were struggling and they were using her blog to vent their frustrations without an official way to voice their complaints.
Using Leximancer’s The Customer Insight Portal, we analyzed blogs mentioning Curves Smart, 2008 Yelp reviews in select markets, comments from Customer Crossroads, as well as analyzing the Curves Forum thread dedicated to Curves equipment to find if struggles with the Smart system were a widespread problem.
Above is a high-level conceptual map generated by The Customer Insight Portal showing the frequent themes (the big circles) and concepts (the small dots) communicated by women from the sources mentioned above. Because the concept map interactively allows us to interrogate the common themes across all these sources, we were able to quickly identify some very specific customer intelligence. As is visible above, the theme Curves Smart doesn’t overlap any themes or concepts related to negative words, like frustrated or bad. This is telling, and provided an initial visual indicator of what we were to find by clicking through the map.
In fact, clicking on the concept Smart shows that the word is most closely correlated to comments related to using the program and its efficacy. And since The Customer Insight Portal lets you see verbatim responses, a user can hone in on exact phrases used to describe Smart. Verbatims show the positive response to the Smart program.
• “Oh man, the more I hear about people trying and LOVING the smart machines, the more anxious I get to get them at my own club. I have no clue if/when that will be, but I do know I will be doing it, without any question”.
• “I love the smart machines, too. It’s always a competition with myself to burn more calories than last time, or to increase my PI.”
• “I am having trouble on the smart machines achieving my green lights. The top one rarely comes on, and the lower one flashes or turns yellow.”
• “I feel like the SM really push me too. I watch some of the people who arent using the smart equipment and they just don’t look like they’re doing much work at all.”
• “We have the curves smart at our location and I love it. we’ve only been doing it for three days, but I truly am exhausted when I finish.”
Further exploring the concept map, other unknown insights were identified from the wide range of customer comments. For example, we were able to explore an interesting correlation between staff and training.
It seems that customers perceive that Curves doesn’t appear to have a consistent training program, and that not only are members not trained properly but staff members as well. In addition, there seems to be a significant lag between training and customer service.
• “Our club just received ours a week ago but the staff is waiting for training. Our boss took only one staff member to training with her last week and the rest of us are supposed to be trained this week.”
• “I must have not made my post clear; I’m not a owner nor a manager; I’m a staff member and I did not get to attend training. I was wondering if there is any way that staff members can attend training on their own?”
• “Now I just have to wait for the machines to get outfitted (probably in about a week or so), the staff to get trained and then the training for the Curves attendees begins. I’m #6 on the list.”
• “I went to the training, I believe what they said was 2 people per club were allowed to attend, but it was mainly to be owner and manager. they have a small training room and quite a few clubs at each training date to fit in.”
• “But it should be part of the training for the smart machines that they make sure ALL members, local or travelers, understand how things work, even if they won’t be using all of the machines. it would certainly throw me off to not do a heart rate check.”
It appeared that Curves customers flocked to Customer Crossroads because Curves’ main failure was not giving its customers a way to voice their concerns. Yet our more thorough online analysis shows that many customers are embracing Curves Smart, and their frustration often focuses more on the lack of training or the lag time between receiving equipment and training.
Our take-away and the reason we continue to be happily surprised by the value of The Customer Insight Portal, is that preconceived ideas of customers’ experience prove again and again to be incorrect in significant ways. And significant surprises create significant opportunities!
If you have a question related to your or another company’s customer experience that you think The Customer Insight Portal can help you answer, e-mail Chris Westfall (chris.westfall at leximancer.com) with recommendations for a future blog post.