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Urban Sports Club optimises its offering with Zendesk

"Sport, when and where you want"

Urban Sports Club
"The routing via contact form not only helps our agents to prioritise the requests better, it is also important for linguistic assignment. This is because our 70 agents answer queries in German, English, Dutch, Spanish, French and Portuguese."

Roland Hobbs

Lead Operations and Efficiency at Urban Sports Club

"With the help of Zendesk, we have been able to continuously standardise processes. In periods of transition and during the integration of our newest brands, we’ve been able to effectively support the members and partners in the way we set out to."

Roland Hobbs

Lead Operations and Efficiency at Urban Sports Club


Number of tickets per month


Customer Service Agents


For decades, the fitness industry followed a uniform pattern: customers commit themselves to a particular gym and make use of the wide range of offers within the scope of their membership. If you spontaneously feel like trying something else, you’ll come up against the disadvantages of being contractually bound. Whatever it is that you want to try that the gym doesn't offer has to be found elsewhere and paid for at great cost. This is exactly what the Urban Sports Club is changing with its innovative idea; "sport when and where you want".

Instead of committing to a gym, fitness enthusiasts purchase a membership with Urban Sports Club and can then choose freely from the diverse range of partner gyms. Be it swimming, electro-muscle stimulation, bouldering, yoga or classic equipment training - with Urban Sports, the whole city becomes a club. Members book their workouts directly via the app and then check in at the chosen gym on site, a concept that goes down well with the members. Urban Sports Club is active in Germany, Belgium, France, Portugal and Spain.

Clear allocation of requests

As with all companies in the fitness industry, enquiries from concerned members at Urban Sports Club went through the roof during the lockdown. Sports gyms were directly affected by the closures, which left members with lots of questions. As a direct result of this experience, the company decided to build an easily accessible contact form on the website to be used as the primary channel for customer communication.

"At first glance, it often looks as if we don't answer any telephone enquiries at all. But the widget with the phone number is only ever displayed if an agent is actually available to take the call," explains Roland Hobbs, who is responsible for operations at Urban Sports GmbH.

The volume of enquiries post-pandemic have returned to normal. Of the estimated average of 20,000 tickets handled by the agents per month, the majority come in via the form they built to manage the flood of enquiries during Covid. A routing function within the Zendesk software ensures that the tickets consistently end up with the right employees when users specify the reason for their form submission. At Urban Sports Club, it is not only the members who want service and support, enquiries are also made by the affiliated partner studios and business customers (i.e. companies that want to do something actively for the fitness of their employees and use a membership as a corporate benefit). "Routing via the contact form not only helps our agents prioritise requests better, it's also important for language mapping," Hobbs adds. This is because the 70 agents answer requests in German, English, Dutch, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Customer Experience instead of just support

Urban Sports Club knows that there’s more to customer care than just answering enquiries, and this is reflected in the name of the entire department. The agents do not work in "Customer Support", but are part of a "Customer Experience" team, which also includes content experts who take care of the content development of the FAQs in the Help Centre.

"Service and customer experience are a differentiating factor in the sports business; short response times and the complete resolution of a ticket are important to us. Our goal is to have every request answered within 24 hours. Thanks to Zendesk, we are often even under that," comments Hobbs, who also keeps a close eye on the organization's KPIs and metrics, including customer satisfaction, which currently stands at 85%.

Urban Sports Club chose Zendesk back in 2015 when, just a few years after its launch, the company was looking for a scalable solution that could handle the targeted growth and expansion of its flat rate model as the company expanded.

"With the help of Zendesk, we have been able to continuously standardise processes. Especially in the transition phases and during the integration of further brands, we were able to support the members and partners in the way we set out to," says Hobbs.

Triggers close to the customer

In the sports business, a lot comes down to personal experience and recommendations. Anyone who wants to do something for their fitness or to relax also wants to feel good in the gym of their choice. Urban Sports Club itself uses the Trustpilot and Google My Business platforms and keeps a close eye on reviews and comments. If there is a new comment on one of the platforms, it automatically lands as a ticket in Zendesk to be read and answered by an agent.

"The triggers are probably one of my favourite features in Zendesk," Hobbs says with a grin. The company has over 300 triggers in use and Roland praises the advantages they’ve brought. By linking comments and ratings to its own system, Urban Sports Club stays close to its customers.

Zendesk data improves the product

As Urban Sports Club is all about a positive customer experience and customer engagement, the Customer Experience team has an influence on product design.

"The Zendesk evaluations have shown time and again that members have frequent questions about contract termination - in the past, there was often criticism in online reviews on the same topic. The data and insights we have gained have led us to adapt the entire process to better serve the interest of our customers." Hobbs provides as an example, and shows his satisfaction with the outcome of a shorter notice period, as the enquiries on this topic have also decreased significantly.

For Urban Sports Club, the data that accumulates centrally in Zendesk is great for adding value to the company, as it provides the other departments with important insights into customer satisfaction and offers better conclusions for further developing the product offering.

Next stage of expansion: Chatbots

At present, Urban Sports Club has a clear focus on the help centre and the contact form as part of customer communication. The company tends to keep a low profile on social media. Anyone who contacts the company on Facebook receives an automatic reply that links to the contact form. This will not change in the short term. However, there are already definite plans to expand the range of support. "We closely monitor how members' preferences change in order to respond. That's why we also want to expand the Answer Bot's capabilities," Hobbs reveals.

However, the focus will be on the in-house app because it offers a somewhat more generic approach than commercially available messenger platforms, such as WhatsApp. It also allows for better control of the customer experience, as development remains in the company's own hands.

There will be many more opportunities for Urban Sports Club's Customer Experience Team to be actively involved in further developing services in the near future and they’re keen for Zendesk to actively guide these steps.

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