The YMCA of South Hampton Roads Uses SMS to Improve the Member Experience

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With SimpleTexting, the YMCA of South Hampton Roads can send time-sensitive updates and booking confirmations to its members.

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The YMCA is a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

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Find a text messaging platform that integrated with its new class reservation system and didn’t require any coding.

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Members have a better experience. They receive an automatic confirmation text as soon as their booking is confirmed.

Sarah Baker, a Marketing and Technology Specialist at the YMCA of South Hampton Roads (YSHR), is busy. She manages the Y’s website, mobile app, and other digital marketing channels.

Because of COVID, she was also tasked with introducing a new fitness class reservation system to maintain capacity limits.

We spoke with her to learn more about automating booking confirmation texts, improving the member experience, and other ways the YSHR uses SimpleTexting.

Sending Reservation Text Message Reminders

YMCAs across the US have made changes so that members can still come together for their activities. Teams have had to figure out new systems on the fly and work hard to ensure everything is as seamless as possible. 

One unforeseen challenge was formatting the YSHR’s new class reservation system text messages.

“We didn’t like the way that the messages were formatted. They didn’t sound human at all.”

She spent some time researching possible integrations with their booking software (SuperSaaS), including SMS APIs like Twilio, but decided it was too technical. 

That’s when she came across SimpleTexting’s Zapier integration. She signed up for an account and connected SuperSaaS to SimpleTexting.

She let us know that, “With a little research, it wasn’t difficult to configure the integration.”

Now, when someone books a class, they’re automatically sent a text message like this.

Hi, we’ve added Drew Wilkinson’s reservation for Stretch, Bend, and Move at the James L. Camp Jr. Family YMCA on Tuesday, Oct 6, 9:30 am.

According to Sarah, the member experience has benefited from these texts. “People now know their reservation is confirmed. They’re not making a reservation and wondering what happens next.”

A Way to Share Time-sensitive Information

Booking confirmation messages is just one way that the YSHR uses SimpleTexting. They also send reminders about virtual fitness classes, facility closures, and information about childcare programs.

The team appreciates the ability to send these text blasts and then have a back-and-forth conversation with members. “We answered a lot of questions at the beginning of the summer when the reservation system was new.” 

They also routinely receive questions about memberships and can now route them to the right person. The YSHR team is thankful for recent updates to SimpleTexting’s SMS inbox, making it even easier to manage these conversations.

"We appreciate all the new inbox features, like the ability to assign conversations to a different team member, which is fantastic."
Sarah Baker
Sarah Baker

Marketing & Technology Specialist

Future Plans To Expand the Text Messaging Program

The team had initially planned to send more texts specific to program areas, but COVID disrupted these plans. 

That’s where the YSHR plans to place their focus over the next few months, allowing members to subscribe to specific groups, and then developing a communication plan for each of those groups.

“We want to share special offers or inside tips depending on what area of the YMCA someone’s shown interest in.”

They’ve made good use of all the resources available to help build their strategy.

" There are a lot of great help center articles, and everybody we’ve dealt with on the team has been amazing."
Sarah Baker
Sarah Baker

Marketing & Technology Specialist

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