We spoke with Stefany Begue, Association Membership Director at the YMCA of Greater Waukesha County, about how her branches are handling the pandemic. Keep reading to learn how they keep members happy and engaged during these uncertain times.

Please tell us about yourself and your position at The YMCA.

I have lived in the midwest all of my life, but located in Wisconsin for the last two and a half years. I've worked for The YMCA for 14 years and been at this location for two and a half years. The YMCA of Greater Waukesha County has six branches. As an Association Membership Director, I oversee everything related to higher level projects for memberships such as policies and rewards programs. Most of my day involves looking at reports and numbers, and making sure our members are happy.

What is your primary objective as the Association Membership Director?

My biggest focus is member experience. I want guests to have a wonderful experience from the time they join our facility until the time they move away or transfer to another facility.

How has the business been affected by the pandemic?

We were closed a month and reopened in mid-May. Prior to the pandemic we had about 12,000 units. A unit is one household even if that household contains multiple members. We currently have 8,000 units which means we were able to retain two thirds of our memberships.

What initiatives have been enacted to retain members during the pandemic?

Some guests are extremely cautious during this time; not really going out and wearing a mask when they do. Some are living life as normally as they can. We have a variety of members who are comfortable with a variety of things. So we strive to meet them where they are right now. For those who are not comfortable coming into the facility, we offer virtual scans and are launching a new program on February 1st, 2021 called Y360. With Y360, members can enjoy virtual content at home and on the go. They will also be able to virtual scan to stay a part of our community.

What technologies do you use at the YMCA?

We use Daxko as our membership management software, Egym for our mobile app, Listen360 for NPS surveys, Microsoft Excel and Team Suite, and Wrike for marketing.

Tell us about the rewards program at the business.

Our members love Perkville! They get excited about points and the rewards they can earn. We have been using Perkville for just over two years now and it has been very smooth. Members say it's more user-friendly and efficient than the previous program we had in place. Perkville also helps us with retention. Guests don’t want to cancel their membership because they want to keep their points. When the gyms closed briefly due to the pandemic, the first question members asked was, ‘Can I earn points for virtual workouts?’ We continued to reward them with Perkville’s Stay Safe feature which is still used heavily today.

What are your most popular rewards?

Our backpack, wireless earbuds, and wireless phone charger are the most popular rewards. We try to switch up our items quarterly and exchange out less popular rewards with newer ones. Local people supply our out-of-club rewards which makes redemption easy. Their team receives an automated email when a member redeems.They will bag and tag the item with the member’s name and send it over to us. Then I just drive the rewards to the branches. This process is very seamless.