My wife is an avid yogi. In other words, she is a consistent and committed yoga practitioner, and not just any yoga, she practices Bikram yoga. This type of yoga involves going into a studio that is heated to over 100 degrees with 75% humidity and performing a prescribed series of postures while sweating out every bad toxin you might have in you. Anyway, the instructor, Eddie, who owns the studio where she practices has been doing something interesting to help his business stay active during the COVID-19 crisis. And what is so remarkable is the recognition and leverage of one of the biggest strengths of the studio, one that has nothing to do with yoga. Different thinking, and thinking that came out of a focus on the customer.
This different thinking though, wasn’t immediate, it only came about after realizing a couple of key truths. First, since there are many online yoga classes and many are free, why would Eddie’s customers come to him outside of the studio? Second, a lot of what people want from this studio is the hot room which can’t be replicated at home, that’s a big hindrance, so what else would customers come for? Quite a quandary. With online yoga already a crowded field and no hot room, what could Eddie do to keep the studio relevant and part of the conversation? This is where creativity came in.
It was evident that the studio provided excellent instruction and the hot room, but there was something else that was special, possibly more special than anything else. The studio had managed to create a community experience where people had become friends connected by a common interest in yoga. Perhaps this is what could be leveraged to benefit the longer life of the business. With this in mind, and knowing that those die-hard members of this community had paid membership fees, Eddie decided to hold an online yoga class that was primarily pointed at those loyal customers who were key members of that community. The goal? To treat them right as most were already paying fees, and, most importantly, to keep the base customer group together and support them so that when things got back to normal, they would not only come back but would talk up the experience and invite others.
What I love about the idea is that Eddie stopped looking at what he couldn’t do, the hot room, and instead, looked at another special aspect of his business, the community. He is continuing the great customer experience regardless of the hindrances. He is keeping the die-hard base together and active. In addition, he has invited those die-hards to include other family members in the experience (I have been one of them) so that he can grow this “yoga family.” Brilliant and customer focused.
So with all of this in mind, how is your business finding opportunities in this trying time? How are you finding ways to continue to connect with your customers and provide value regardless of the things you cannot do right now? How are you keeping your customer community going?
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