A Message From Mindbody Co-founder Rick Stollmeyer on COVID-19
By Rick Stollmeyer
Dear Mindbody Customers,
Over the past two decades our industry has thrived through multiple challenges, including 9/11 and the financial crisis of the late 2000s—but we have never seen anything like this. Who could have imagined when we were ringing in the New Year that a pandemic would be threatening the health of our businesses and our loved ones? Yet, this is precisely what we are facing today.
Around the world, the owners and staff of fitness studios, spas, salons, and integrative health centers are dealing with the severe impacts of COVID-19, and we know the stakes are incredibly high for all of you. Your lives and your livelihoods are intertwined with your businesses, and your future with those businesses now feels threatened. As a technology company devoted to serving you that means our future is threatened as well. So, we not only feel enormous empathy and care for you—know that we are all in this together.
There is much we can and will do to help you weather this storm, but before we talk about the business issues on so many minds, please allow me—as a fellow entrepreneur—to gently remind all of us that the worst-case scenario is not the loss of our businesses. COVID-19 is a serious disease for people of all ages—even young adults can become seriously ill. As wellness entrepreneurs it is vital that we walk the talk of our profession, and do the right thing to protect our communities, our loved ones, and ourselves.
Okay, now let’s talk about what Mindbody is doing to help you:
1. Maintaining our industry leading technology and support
We know that Mindbody is mission critical to your business and our dedicated team is working 24/7 to maintain the highest levels of reliability, data security, and customer service. This crisis will come to an end, and when it does, tens of millions of people who have been cooped up in worried isolation will need your services more than ever. For this reason, we have no doubt the boutique wellness industry will come roaring back. To get as many of those people into your classes and appointments as possible, you will need your Mindbody platform working flawlessly. This is an excellent time to review your implementation of our software with a Mindbody team member.
2. Providing our software upgrades and add-ons free of charge in Q2
The Mindbody software development team has been incredibly productive over the past year, and if you’re like most wellness business owners, you’ve been too busy to fully investigate our powerful new features and add-ons. All of these are designed to boost your revenues, improve your client experiences and simplify your operations. So, one productive way to spend this forced down time is to talk to our software specialists about the many options we offer. If you decide to trial these solutions, we will provide them free of charge in Q2 (April – June). If your region has not emerged from lockdown by then, we will extend your free trial period into Q3, so you have ample time to evaluate the new features before ever paying a dime for them.
3. Accelerating release of our Integrated Virtual Fitness solution
We have been in development of an integrated video-on-demand product that will enable you to upload your recorded classes and sell hybrid virtual and face-to-face memberships to your clients. The COVID-19 crisis obviously makes this powerful add on more important than ever. Originally, we were planning a Q3 2020 release. When the potential magnitude of this crisis became apparent several weeks ago, our development team redoubled their efforts and are now aiming to release the first version of this product in a few weeks. When we do, you will be able to trial this product free of charge in Q2. Stay tuned for more information next week!
4. Suspending price increases for affected customers
Months ago, we planned a moderate price increase for some products in Q2. The world has changed. In respect to everything you are going through, all Mindbody subscription price increases are off the table for the remainder of the year.
5. Subscription fee relief for seriously impacted businesses
We are devoted to our customers, and we would love to be able to give our software free of charge for the duration of this crisis. Unfortunately, doing so would prevent us from continuing to provide the best software and service and would degrade our ability to serve you after the crisis lifts. For the most seriously impacted among you, we will provide fee relief. If your business has been forced to close by government decree, we will waive your April subscription fees. If you are willing to commit to a one-year contract, we will waive May as well. My personal ask is that you seek this relief only if your business is seriously impacted and if the savings truly makes a difference to you. Our business has also been seriously impacted by this crisis, and we want to reserve this help for those truly in need. To apply for this fee relief, please go to our support centers: Mindbody, Booker and FitMetrix.
6. Increasing the quantity and availability of Mindbody education resources
Our powerful Mindbody University content is available to all of our customers through our learning center. In addition, our team is posting timely and relevant COVID-19-related topics to our education hub to help your business weather this storm. Lastly, we commenced a webinar series with Mindbody Business Consultants offering best practices, creative ideas, leadership, etc. This Friday’s panel will be focused on fitness studios. Next week we are planning a panel for owners of salons, spas, and integrative health centers.
7. Payments chargeback defense and funds holds
In economic crises, the payments industry becomes more risk averse. Many merchant processors fearing waves of small business failure, are now withholding the credit card settlements of these same businesses, for fear of future cardholder chargebacks. We understand how devastating it could be for you to have funds withheld from your bank accounts for no good reason. For this reason, our Payments team has been proactively lobbying and advocating on your behalf with our merchant processing partners to prevent your funds from being unjustifiably withheld. To help us prevent merchant processors from withholding your funds, please do not resort to transactions deemed “risky." These include large transactions outside of your normal business routine, and the selling of prepaid long-term memberships. We know many of you are facing a cash flow crunch. But, if you do these things your funds could be withheld by the processor and your merchant account suspended, which will only worsen your situation. If you have large atypical transactions to run, please speak with our merchant support team in advance. We will do everything we can to help you.
8. Lobbying governments for small business relief
We are all watching the news from our respective governments with anticipation. Hopefully, there is meaningful relief coming for millions of people and large impacted industries, such as travel and hospitality. At the same time, Mindbody is working diligently to ensure our legislators are remembering the impact to the wellness industry and we are using what influence we have to advocate for you all.
9. Growing the Mindbody One community
We need connection now more than ever. Join the conversation inside our Mindbody One community and add your voice to a community of wellness professionals, all striving to build one another up through this difficult time.
In closing, let us not forget that we are in an industry in the middle of a massive growth wave. None of us can predict with certainty when this crisis will lift and what state the global economy will be in when it does. But we do know that wellness is neither a fad nor a luxury. It is an expectation for hundreds of millions of people, and more are joining their numbers every day. For this reason, we are confident that the wellness industry will not only recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic, it will come back even stronger than before. What better way to remind us of the gift of a healthy mind and body than this?
Stay strong. Stay healthy. Stay positive. We will get through this together.
If you’d like to share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you [email protected]