Creating and Sustaining the WOW factor

Creating and Sustaining the WOW factor

By Lee Valley

Elisabeth and I recently presented at the 2017 Club Industry annual conference. This year’s presentation was about “Creating the WOW factor that enhances our customers’ experiences”. As we developed the presentation we compiled data about what creates and sustains the WOW experience in our community.

We spoke about the concept of early adopters and some of their behaviors and expectations. They strive to be first, they are interested in influencing your product or service, they avidly research and they can create buzz (both good and bad). We shared our experiences about the years of working day after day with our clients and what they taught us in understanding their “pain points”. RedBird’s core competencies and key success factors, our people, our programs and our community, were developed and driven by our clients’ needs and desires.

In the conference we spoke about how we began to clearly understand what made these early adopters stay with us by developing multiple surveys with very specific questions since we wanted specific answers. The answers to one question in particular “what three words would your family and friends use to describe you” showed us the heart of who our client is.

We call her ‘The RedBird Woman”. Many have heard us speak of her and the passions that drive her. She’s an expert in her field and she looks for expertise to match her own. She inspires others and seeks inspiration. She has limited time and patience for mediocrity and community is very important to her. We shared this information with our audience as a case study to demonstrate the importance of not just understanding who your clients are, but also how to program effectively to meet their needs, keep them and learn how to create the WOW for them.

But we realized that all this information is fragile without the continuously driving force of passion. That’s the real WOW. How do any of us keep a vision we believed in as we carve out a tedious but important business system that replicates our success? How do we maintain the internal fire as we put out fires daily in our businesses? How do we stay connected with self, clients, staff and others as business scales? These are questions Elisabeth and I face daily, and what we heard as questions in our audience. They struggled to maintain their own WOW factor as they worked to create it for their clients. There are no easy answers. However, here are a few guiding principles that we follow, support each other in maintaining and continue to evaluate.

  1. Live the work. We are all drawn to passion and passion emanates from deep connection. The WOW factor is easier to maintain when we center the body and mind through consistent mind and body practices.
  2. Be present in community. Remember we are in this together and stronger for it. This includes valuing the staff and clients that have made RedBird what it is.
  3. Practice patience with self and others. I’ve noticed over the years that kindness emanates more easily when I hold some for myself.
  4. Trust your gut and trust the process. Life’s happening all around us. Slowing down clarifies vision. Speed is intoxicating but messy.
  5. Practice gratitude. I remind myself five times a day to be grateful and present. No matter what’s going on, a gratitude reminder pops on my phone, and I pause and remember that I’m in this because I chose to be.

We’ve learned to remember that the WOW factor we cultivate for our clients and community not only grows out of the systems we create, but out of the discipline that sustains our passion for our business. I know from experience that without the practices that feed our passions, we lose the passion for what we do, and then we lose our way. Protecting this precious asset through the business of our days is of utmost importance.

The WOW factor at RedBird is the result of a well-designed, thoroughly thought-out programs, a well-trained, competent staff and clients who are there because they want to experience life-altering changes in mind and body. Most importantly, it comes from a passion for movement and the joy it brings. Combine all that and it’s possible for every client to experience those tiny, precious “WOW” moments that make all the effort, all the sweat worthwhile.


This post brought to you by RedBird Founder and Co-Owner, Lee Vallely. Lee Vallely has dedicated her life to movement and wellness. After an eight-year career as a professional ballet and modern dancer in New York and San Francisco, and 20 years as a teacher and consultant in the health and wellness industry, Vallely saw a need for a higher level of education and a commitment to the precision of movement. In 2007, she moved from teaching Pilates for other clubs, and developing and managing large corporate fitness programs in Austin and around the country, to teaching small-group training programs. RedBird Pilates & Fitness has grown every year since then, necessitating four moves to progressively larger studios.