CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: BARRE3

How A Respected Star in the Fitness World Found Synergy with Learning Management System Software

Here at Wisetail, we’re always looking for ideas to help businesses become great places to work. Thankfully, our rockstar clients provide a ton of insight and experience in this endeavor. We are proud to share their stories and best practices. This week, we are featuring a fitness industry powerhouse, in this barre3 success story.

barre3’s mission is to make the world a happier, healthier place. A pretty worthy and awesome mission if we do say so ourselves! One woman we admire for spreading that passion and dedication to helping others lead healthy, balanced lives is master trainer and small business development leader, Heidi Waltermire. We’re grateful to Heidi for spending some time to visit with her about the strategy and tactics she employed to help better connect her 700+ and growing instructor team nationwide.

Q) Wisetail has developed a reputation for providing learning management systems for the restaurant and hospitality industry. Why did working with them make sense for a growing fitness studio?

A) We need all of our classes, nationwide, to be taught with the same level of integrity and consistency which is the same with the hospitality industry. Our 700+ instructor team needs easy access to any changes we’re making to our classes on a daily basis. Before Wisetail, we’d communicate with instructors using a combination of mass emails and Facebook messages. It really was hit or miss. We would send out information and cross our fingers in hope they would eventually get the message.

 Q) It sounds like you were looking for a way to track that information was actually being received. How has that functionality changed barre3 operations?

A) A pillar of barre3 is innovation, which means we are always researching, testing, and releasing new moves, postures, and music. To keep things fresh in every class and fulfill our instructors’ mantra of “always challenge and never bore,” we send out new innovations on a monthly basis. Sometimes the new innovation is actually a move we no longer wish to be taught at barre3. This posture removal typically is a result of consulting with an anatomy expert, where we find out the posture/movement is not providing what we want. The beauty of our Wisetail site, which we branded internally as “b3 Hub” or “The Hub,” is that we now know if the message of our new innovation has gotten across to our nationwide team.

“The sharing of this new theory or posture used to take weeks if not months, but now we can post a video, run the analytics on who watched it, then decide whether we need to do more outreach all within one week!”

Q) Rather than just transmitting raw information, it sounds like barre3 was clearly looking for a tool that would support and enhance the amazing culture you’ve created. Is that something you expected from a learning management system?

A) We could tell early on that Wisetail cares about the drivers of culture. Our founder created something really wonderful from the beginning, which was encouraging clients to make the class experience their own, listen to their bodies, and respect what their bodies need that day. Most fitness companies and theories are all about ‘no pain no gain’. There’s a judgment that if you’re not giving it more than your all, you’re not good enough. The truth is, there are some days when it’s a miracle that we even leave the house. Maybe on that day I’m not going to be able to give it my all but at least I’m here. When we can support our instructors in celebrating clients conquering these obstacles and when we can transmit that message more fully through videos and interactive training – we can ensure a true barre3 experience of respect, warmth, and community for every client.

Wisetail LMS client Barre3.

Barre3 is for everyone. They don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to exercise. Instead, they empower each individual to modify postures and develop body awareness for lasting results.

Q) Rather than just transmitting raw information, it sounds like barre3 was clearly looking for a tool that would support and enhance the amazing culture you’ve created. Is that something you expected from a learning management system?

A) We could tell early on that Wisetail cares about the drivers of culture. Our founder created something really wonderful from the beginning, which was encouraging clients to make the class experience their own, listen to their bodies, and respect what their bodies need that day. Most fitness companies and theories are all about ‘no pain no gain’. There’s a judgment that if you’re not giving it more than your all, you’re not good enough. The truth is, there are some days when it’s a miracle that we even leave the house. Maybe on that day I’m not going to be able to give it my all but at least I’m here. When we can support our instructors in celebrating clients conquering these obstacles and when we can transmit that message more fully through videos and interactive training – we can ensure a true barre3 experience of respect, warmth, and community for every client.

“Our instructor culture is based on a love of learning, so they are all gathering on the Hub for the content and techniques to help them be better instructors.”

Site user-friendliness was so important to us, so after signing we took our time with implementation. We played with it a lot, set up several systems for categorization, worked back through it thinking of how it might be received, then tweaked it for our needs. We knew that the previous way of communication was a huge deterrent by not being user-friendly. So, we set out with a top priority of making sure instructors could find what they needed as quickly and simply as possible. Everything we do is to enhance user-friendliness. We have always looked at the Hub in terms of having a lot of empathy toward the individual instructors – treating them like a customer, branding the site, and providing a full barre3 experience even on our back end.

Q) What are the main successes you’ve seen?

A) First, it’s been great for new instructors to jump on the Hub, devour a lot of information, and stay inspired. I can watch their activity via the admin reports, take their classes, and see their consistent growth as instructors. In the past, new instructors would climb and plateau, climb and plateau in terms of ability. Now they can create their own pathway for learning, which results in steady growth and little to no periods of plateau.

Second, the majority of our instructors have been teaching for a long time and we’re seeing them get reinvigorated because the site is clean, simple, branded, and all content is easily accessible and searchable. Our more experienced instructors despise having to waste time poking around through archives. They keep emailing and telling me how much they appreciate the HUB. Their other favorite aspect is the ability to search for people they went through training with years ago and reconnect! They are sending each other recognition messages and rekindling friendships around the country.

“It has been such a valuable platform for collective wisdom. Sharing information in real-time has been a huge boost in our ability to carry out our mission of nourishing the body and making connections to lead a balanced and happier life.”

Finally, we are able to tap into the collective knowledge of our instructors, which has huge value to the entire barre3 family. Our Instructors love sharing videos, articles, and tips on how to teach amazing barre3 classes. We commonly have instructors asking for help with modifying postures for clients with knee injuries, hip replacements and all sorts of scenarios. Now they can ask these questions on the HUB and receive collective wisdom from instructors all over the country including the Master Trainers in Portland. One specific question that stumped the Master Trainer team, was about a client facing difficulties with her TMJ and her instructor reached out through the Hub for support. Little did we know, we had an instructor in another part of the country who actually has TMJ and was able to provide guidance. It has been such a valuable platform for collective wisdom. Sharing information in real-time has been a huge boost in our ability to carry out our mission of nourishing the body and making connections to lead a balanced and happier life.

Heidi leading an impromptu barre3 session at Apex3 in Bozeman in October 2015.

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