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Lifestyle Fitness

“Every failed payment could become a customer service issue, but Success+ from GoCardless has transformed that experience.”

Chris McQuillan - Commercial Manager, Lifestyle Fitness

Lifestyle Fitness


UK health and fitness chain


Uses GoCardless API

Office locations

Payer locations

Find out more about Lifestyle Fitness

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Taking the heavy lifting out of recurring and failed payments

Lifestyle Fitness might be a gym, but it’s about much more than gaining muscle or losing weight – it’s on a mission to build communities through fitness and healthier lifestyles.

As well as all the facilities and classes you’d expect, it also works with local groups to improve people’s mental wellbeing by developing their physical health. 

“We pride ourselves on being approachable whatever your goals might be when you come into one of our thirty clubs – no one is just a membership number,” said Chris McQuillan, Commercial Manager, Lifestyle Fitness.

Seamless GoCardless integration transforms payments

After nearly 40 years in operation, Lifestyle Fitness embarked on a major digitization project to put real-time data at the core of its operations.

“We needed better data to be able to plan more accurately, to streamline joining the gym online and in person, and to offer more transparency to customers around payment schedules,” said Chris.

That meant swapping its expensive, error-prone, and unresponsive card-based system for GoCardless, a specialist solution for collecting recurring and one-off payments that provides full visibility of the payments process.

Lifestyle Fitness knew this would take several months and impact many areas of the business, so technical support during onboarding was important. “The quality of the support we got from GoCardless was brilliant,” said Chris. “Whenever a question arose about the integration we were never stuck because we got the answers back very, very quickly.”

Happy members, happy staff

“GoCardless is perfect for membership organizations. It provides a full payment history, forward projections and the functionality to easily make amendments,” said Chris. “Throw in one of the best APIs I've ever seen and it's an immensely powerful tool for driving more unified experiences and communications.”

Now that almost every payment is processed through GoCardless, the company has realized dramatic improvements in financial reporting. 

“Between 99% and 100% of our payments go through GoCardless today, which has saved us a huge amount of time and money,” said Chris. “Our monthly accounts used to take three weeks to put together – now it’s about five days, and the team can get an up-to-date picture of financial performance at any given time.”

This visibility has also boosted team morale, explained Chris: “Positive feedback is constantly rolling in now that the team can respond immediately and accurately to customers’ payments queries. Customers are happier, so staff are happier and since launching GoCardless we haven’t had one negative piece of customer feedback about payments.”

Success+ soothes failed payments headaches

With thousands of monthly recurring payments to collect, failed payments were a persistent headache for Lifestyle Fitness. Chasing them down could be resource intensive and any misunderstandings harmed the customer experience.

“Every failed payment could become a customer service issue, but Success+ from GoCardless has transformed that experience,” explained Chris. “Success+ is taking the headache out of failed payments.”

Success+ uses payment intelligence data and machine learning to reduce failed payments. Its intelligent retries identify when customers are most likely to have funds in their account and automatically retries payments on that day.

“Success+ has increased our revenue by lifting failed payment recovery to around 71.6% – it gives back 10 times what it costs,” said Chris. “A long-term member who’d had a poor experience with a failed payment years ago was very anxious when it recently happened again. But he was blown away when we told him that if the money was in the account now it would be collected soon – he didn’t need to do anything else.”

GoCardless: the backbone of the business

In the future, Lifestyle Fitness expects to adopt Instant Bank Pay from GoCardless – an open banking-enabled way to collect one-off payments – for customers making annual membership payments. 

“Instant Bank Pay would help us overcome any customer hesitancy around setting up a Direct Debit for a one-off payment,” said Chris. “That will also be great for our own peace of mind, since higher value payments have a higher chance of failing and a bigger impact when they do.”

In the near term, however, Lifestyle Fitness’ experience so far has convinced the company to continue putting as many payments as possible through GoCardless. 

“GoCardless has gone from being the cherry on the cake of our digitalization to the backbone of the business,” said Chris. “GoCardless has been integrated into our systems in a way that I’d compare to a heart transplant, for the value it has brought to the core of our business.”

“It's a tremendous feeling going to sleep at night knowing that even if we’ve done a thousand sales that day, they'll all be correctly processed. It's difficult to think of a better feeling than that level of confidence.”

Find out more about Lifestyle Fitness

Read more