YMCA Auckland & Hamilton Case Study
5 May 2011
“It’s fun to stay at the YMCA,” goes the song … and these days, it’s also easy to stay a member of the YMCA network, thanks to their ongoing relationship with Direct Debit billing service provider, Debitsuccess.
Arvid Ditchburn, Chief Operations Officer for YMCA Auckland and Hamilton says that in the days before Debitsuccess’ billing services were available, the staff had to be responsible for arranging all aspects of the payment process for their fitness club memberships.
This included everything from handling and processing payments received in cash, or explaining to members how they could go to their own bank to set up an automatic payment, to having to chase down members who were behind on their payments. The systems were often ad hoc, or just too difficult to manage.
This added up to many expensive hours of administration and increasing frustration for Arvid and his staff as the level of outstanding funds on unpaid memberships mounted. There had to be a better way.
Eventually, in 2003 – and with 3000 members on the books who had membership payments needing monthly processing – YMCA Auckland and Hamilton began working with Direct Debit payment processing company Debitsuccess.
In the years since, YMCA Auckland and Hamilton’s memberships have grown to more than 9000, alongside a dramatic increase in the centre’s revenue. With more than 65 percent of members now having their memberships processed through Debitsuccess, Arvid Ditchburn says the growth has been eased by the fact that people prefer to pay smaller amounts on a regular basis and Debitsuccess provides a reliable and efficient service to support this.
“From the very beginning, it was a pleasant surprise to see how handing over the administration of these payments increased our income, not to mention freeing up our staff time,” says Mr Ditchburn; “We could rest easy knowing that Debitsuccess would ensure the membership fees were paid on time, and could sort out any issues with late payers.”
“The people at Debitsuccess are great. They are friendly and helpful, and have efficient systems in place for ensuring that new membership contracts are loaded to the system in a timely manner.
M Ditchburn says that with Debitsuccess managing the often sensitive process of following up with outstanding payments, it allows his staff to maintain positive relationships with members, confident in the knowledge that the payment process is handled professionally.
“It has a huge influence on our ability to provide our members with a positive customer service experience,” says Mr Ditchburn; “The feedback we get from our members to Debitsuccess’ service is good, even at those times when a firm reminder phone call needs to be made, it’s reassuring to know that Debitsuccess can handle that for us too.”
“We are glad we made the move from Automatic Payments, which had to be continuously monitored to regular Direct Debits with Debitsuccess. We have come to the conclusion that Debitsuccess’ expertise in providing this service is always going to be of benefit to us.”
YMCA Auckland and Hamilton’s positive experience with Debitsuccess has encouraged them to try the company’s newest technology for securely managing membership payments through the Internet, the Online Management Gateway (OMG), which does away with all paper from the sign-up process.
Since launching the system in July 2010, Arvid Ditchburn says a handful of members have started using it is so far, but it’s already proving useful for setting up new memberships quickly.
YMCA staff from centres across Auckland and Hamilton have high praise for the service provided by Debitsuccess:
“We really appreciate the amount of communication that takes place with us and our customers from Debitsuccess. There is a high level of phone calls, letters and emails that they have to manage, but we always feel that we’re being well looked after!”
Debitsuccess has taken their support for YMCA a step further by sponsoring YMCA Auckland and Hamilton’s Youth Fitness Programme. The programme is designed for 13-18 year olds and falls under the Raise up ‘n Represent umbrella, which is the YMCA’s youth programme. It allows teenagers in the community access to the gym for just $10 a week. Debitsuccess also provides support for the YMCA Youth Fitness Certificate for YMCA instructors in New Zealand. This is the first and only training course of its kind, offering comprehensive instruction for developing fitness programmes for teenagers.
“We are extremely grateful for the work Debitsuccess does with us, not just because they help us run our business more efficiently, but because they help us with our overall objective of building stronger communities,” says Arvid Ditchburn.
For more information about how Debitsuccess can help your business or call +64 9 4810498
Customer Service: 0800 481 0400
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