In North America, the most common form of customer membership is to have members set up on recurring billing with a credit card for unlimited access to the facility. These members pay no additional fee when visiting the facility.
As members, they are billed each month via their credit card (EFT) -OR- they have purchased a paid-in-full (PIF) membership for an extended period of time. Their EFT or PIF Membership allow them access to the facility without paying any day pass rate. They are members until their PIF membership expires or until they terminate their EFT billing relationship.
In the UK full-access billed and prepaid memberships tend to be the exception rather than the rule for customers. More typically UK customers pay a one-time (or yearly) fee for “membership” that allows them a reduced rate on day passes. Many UK gyms refer to these types of customers as “Registered Climbers”.
It does appear the prepaid and recurring full-access memberships are becoming more popular in the UK, particularly as RGP becomes adopted by more gyms.
The “best practices” tips for using RGP in the UK below can be summarized as follows:
- Do not ignore warnings when modifying a customer record within RGP. If your current operations require leaving warnings on your RGP customer records - you are doing it wrong!
- Your MEMBER customer types should be reserved for paid-in-full or billed members…You can use GUEST as the customer type with a custom policy to represent your concept of a UK member… i.e. your “Registered Climber”customers who pay a reduced day pass rate. If you wish to further subdivide your customer types, you can also use SubTypes.
- For your recurring billing customers, use one or more the following methods
- Use a mock/simulated billing to store your direct debit payment details and track billing
- Use the integrated Stripe credit card (or credit debit card) billing for your members with recurring billing. Most RGP gyms are moving all their members from direct-debit to credit-debit cards so that billing can be seamlessly accomplished in RGP.
More details on each tip can be found below.
Tip #1 - Do not ignore the warnings when modifying a customer!
This first tip sets the baseline for the rest of the tips!
RGP has a built-in warning system to let you know when your members are not configured properly. If you do not use RGP the way it was designed (i.e. following all the tips below), then you inevitably end up having to ignore many warnings when modifying customer records.
And once you start ignoring a few warnings, you quickly lose track of which customers actually do have mistakes that need to be corrected.
DO NOT IGNORE THE WARNINGS!
You can find all the members who have warnings on their customer records by going to Data Entry -> View -> Customer List : With Warnings
Tip #2 - MEMBER customer type should be reserved for paid-in-full OR recurring billed members
RGP uses the term MEMBER throughout the software. And RGP expects these members to have complete access to the facility without an additional fee. This is unlike what a typical UK gym refers to as a member.
It is important to accept RGP’s definition of member and come up with an alternate term for what a UK gym typically refers to as a member. Within RGP, a member has full access to the facility without an additional fee.
For your customers who have paid a registration fee to your facility for reduced access (the UK concept of a member), it is suggested that you come up with a new name such as registered climber, pay-as-you-go climber, or similar.
In RGP only use the MEMBER customer type for those customers who have prepaid or billed access to your facility - without an additional fee. Do not use the MEMBER type to represent customers who still need to pay a day pass rate when they visit the facility.
Use the GUEST customer type (with policies as described below) for the UK concept of a reduced-rate day user. For the purposes of this document, we will refer to these type of customers as REGISTERED CLIMBERS.
We understand this can take some getting used to since RGP’s MEMBER is different than the UK meaning of MEMBER, but the best thing you can do for operations is to embrace RGP’s concept of a MEMBER.
Tip #3 - Using Policies To Track REGISTERED CLIMBERS
The best technique to track these Registered Climbers is to use an alerted policy. By using a policy, your staff can be made aware of how much to charge at POS.
Below is an example of how you would configure a Registered Climber policy that expires after 12 months. This option is available in Data Entry -> Manage -> Settings -> Waivers / Custom
This policy, as configured, will show an alert for all customers that do NOT haveRegistered Climber checked. The lack of a Registered Climber policy being checked on a customer means your staff needs to collect the full day pass amount, rather than the reduced rate.
With this configuration, when a customer is selected in POS there is a bright yellow note to remind the staff member if the customer is a Registered Climber(or not).
If the Registered Climber policy is NOT checked, that means the customer should pay the full day pass rate vs. the reduced day pass rate for a customer that does have the Registered Climber policy checked.
See the screenshots below for details on configuring a Registered Climber policy as well as how the POS and CHECK-IN screens depict a missing Registered Climber policy.
Tip #4 - Use a mock/simulated-billing to track Direct Debit payments
NOTE: Stripe can be used in some countries for monthly recurring EFT membership payments. See Tip #5 below.
RGP currently does not have support for direct debit in the UK. It is our hope to have an integrated direct debit solution sometime in the future. In the interim, we recommend using a third party direct debit solution but keeping the customers and payments tracked in RGP using a “mock/simulated-billing” process.
This simulated billing process allows invoices to be posted to RGP customer’s accounts and a record of the payment collected.
An overview of the simulated billing process is described below
- RGP is setup for the ACH Text File billing method
- Configuring your recurring billed members
- On your recurring direct debit members, you enter in bogus ACH information (i.e. “12345” or similar) to satisfy RGP’s requirement that some information be provided in those fields
- You configure the RGP members as required with a next bill date, dues, etc.
- You should have NO warnings when saving the customer record if the customer is setup properly
- Once a month you post dues and “bill” all your customers in RGP. The billing doesn’t happen, but a record of payment is created in RGP.
- You process your billing with your third party provider
- Any declines that come back from your third party provider, you mark those payments as declined in RGP so that an alert appears when the customer checks in.
- Be aware that RGP’s transaction emails regarding decline payments will not automatically be sent out when using mock/stimulated billing. You will need to send emails manually regarding declines.
IMPORTANT - We have created a video tutorial on how to setup and use a mock billing process within RGP.
Tip #5 - Use the Stripe integrated credit card billing for recurring credit card or credit-debit card customers
Please read the separate documentation on Stripe integrated credit card billing. Credit card Stripe billing can be used in conjunction with the mock/simulated billing described above for direct debit payments.
List of recommended hardware to use from our UK customer
One customer had this information to add:
“I would also reiterate the advice you give on the RGP website about screen size. We’re using touch-screens bought for our previous POS software and at 1024 x 768 they are not wide enough for optimal use of RGP (some of the calendar buttons overlap, the quick buttons on POS are quite narrow, etc.)”.
RGP recommends a 1280x800 screen resolution.
*Star TSP100eco - works really well
*Epson TM-T88V- this is the recommended RGP Receipt Printer
*Receipt printer (as recommended on the RGP site): http://www.thebarcodewarehouse.co.uk/epos-systems/receipt-printers/epson-TM-T88V-Series/?gclid=Cj0KEQiA1b7CBRDjmIPL4u-Zy6gBEiQAsJhTMOaD_cmNda04nI91lvSHhP8LD_ySOfuQil7jUg-O2v8aAqBw8P8HAQ
*generic, cost about £100 - opens on command from the printer
*Cash drawer- Sevaral gyms use this one: (came with a cable to connect to the receipt printer): http://www.thebarcodewarehouse.co.uk/epos-systems/cash-drawers/ecd-european-cash-drawers-cdj400-cash-drawer/
(we got an under-desk mount for the cash drawer too, and already had a lid for the cash drawer insert)
*Cash drawer: Brand is Cashbases –
*HONEYWELL MS7120 ORBIT LASER BARCODE SCANNER - USB
*Barcode scanner – Motorola DS9208