Article reprinted from the January/February 2017 issue of Fitness Business Canada magazine.
by Kathryn Korchok
Who: Nico Bot (current CFO), a 25-year veteran of the technology industry, co-founded InTouch Technology (www.intouchfollowup.com) with Scott Johnston (no longer with the company). Current company president and CEO Dana Milkie is a 30-year veteran of the fitness club industry, including stints as senior vice-president of client management with a financial services company and of a multi-location club franchise group.
What: InTouch provides sales and member management solutions for the health and fitness industry. Its software, tools and solutions help clubs improve sales effectiveness and efficiency, capture and convert more leads and drive increased member engagement, usage and retention.
“We’re not trying to be a software company,” says Milkie, who points out that the InTouch management team has extensive backgrounds in the club industry. “We’re a solutions company that helps clubs gets better, grow more, keep and engage more members. Software is just a tool to do that.”ER:
When: The company was founded in 2005 with three employees (including the two co-founders) and has since grown to 21 full-time employees. The company now services more than 800 clients in 11 countries (North/South America, Europe, Australia and Asia/Pacific) and its software has been translated into five languages.
Where: Headquarters is in Vancouver.
Why: InTouch was created to help one specific client in The Netherlands with member retention. The company decided that to grow, especially in North America, it would need to expand its focus and develop a lead management/CRM (customer relations management) business.
“You grow when your customers identify, or you bring, a product to the market that they didn’t know they needed,” says Milkie. “That’s what happened in the beginning with InTouch. Back then a lot of clubs used manual systems or sales spread sheets to track CRM sales activities.”
Over time, more clubs have realized the impact that technology can have on their systems, growth and success. Clubs have now become reliant on technology for acquiring and retaining members, and InTouch, a pioneer in the marketplace, has been there to lead the way.
“We have a great product that people use and need,” says Milkie. “It’s very adoptable and accepted on the gym floor. It’s easy to use, very easy to train people on, and despite a high rate of employee turnover in our industry people can learn our system quickly, understand the structure and start using it right away. That’s a big advantage for us.”
Milkie points out that the future of InTouch is in providing total “member lifecycle management,” which focuses on everything from how individuals engage with a club at the initial inquiry, to their ongoing participation, to the point where they eventually can’t or don’t exercise anymore.
“We want to become the leader in technology,” says Milkie. “We want to be the thought leader, we want to provide both member acquisition software solutions and member retention software solutions. We’ve come full circle now.”
Kathryn Korchok is a journalist whose work has appeared in major newspapers and magazines in Canada and the U.S. She specializes in health, fitness, lifestyle and business writing. Contact her at email@example.com.