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FAQ'S ANSWERED BY LAUREN 27 Feb 2014

FAQ

What's up with the late cancellation/no show fee on the monthly unlimited membership?: Yeah, it’s been a tough challenge to handle for us and we’ve thought hard about the best way to ensure that people take late canceling or no-showing seriously. When someone late cancels it’s really painful for us as a business, but also to the brand’s reputation and client satisfaction as a whole. We lose 2 spots if you think about it, the no-show, but also the Lither who could have gotten into the class and didn’t. Beyond that, there’s the disappointment of not being able to get into a class that would be diminished if we knew the attendance before-hand and weren’t surprised last minute. You'd be shocked at how many people cancel last minute. Believe me, I don’t want to charge a ‘penalty’ but it would be anarchy without it.

We ran a few focus groups of different populations (moms, people who lithe exclusively and people who lithe but also do other exercise methods). With our old policy, we used to take one day off of the monthly unlimited. For example, lets say you are a 6AM'er. IF we had spots in another class later that day (we usually do not!), we would allow you to take that class at no additional charge, but other wait-listed and walk-in clients got first priority. IF we didn't have spots in classes later that day, you would have to pay $22 to sign up for another class.

The late cancellation fee will generally be less expensive than losing a full day on a monthly package. If you take 21 classes per month it works out to $10 per class. If you take 21 classes then the cancellation fee will be the equivalent of losing 1 day on your monthly. However, if you take less than 21 classes each month the cancellation fee would work out to be less than losing the value of 1 day on your monthly package. We found that most people prefer the new way rather than the former. We certainly try and work with people who have to cancel, but I highly recommend that people who cancel often utilize a class card. BUT, with that said, when class card Lithers late cancel, they lose a class from their class card also.

I need people to feel a responsibility to their commitments, both for the business and for all other Lithers’ satisfaction. We are very open to other solutions as this is a constant topic of discussion internally. Right now this is sort of industry standard, and while we aspire to transcend industry standard in everything we do, this is the best way we’ve found so far.

Why did you raise juices by a buck: It stinks. I didn't want to do it but we have a new producer, and a better, fresher, more consistent product. We are constantly working on ways to decrease costs while maintaining quality. Right now, our prices have gone up a bit to produce a high quality juice, and we need to make a profit on this as Lithe is a business not a nonprofit (sometimes!):) Our Lithers want our juices, and we believe they would rather pay $1 more for them, than to not have them at all. That’s really what it comes down to. We want to offer this because it’s who we are and because we should, but it also has to make sense for the business. Like I said, we’re always looking to provide excellent value… price AND quality, and we will never want to waiver on the quality, so sometimes the price is what moves.  Read more on why cold-pressed juice is so expensive via Huffingon Post.

Why aren't all of my classes changing every 4 weeks?  They still will, but you'll see that we are working in a direction of only offering only the "best of Lithe" every quarter rather than classes that are not 100% loved by a majority of Lithers. Mindbody utilization reports tell us what you all really love. We'll also be debuting our "key" soon which I think that you will all find really exciting.  We are most definitely pairing down our options so that we give you a more consistent product. For example, we are slowly removing classes like Action Figure and Wings from the schedules so that the client experience is improved. I know all about those stinky weights : ) We will be selling weights in the future.

Old City:  Yes, wait-lists are growing at this location.  We have some great plans for Lithe OC that I can talk about in the springtime!

Rittenhouse: The. Studio. Isn't. Complete. Yet.  We have dramatically reduced wait-lists and increased client satisfaction. Wait-lists are not 40+ people deep anymore. We still have to install: signage, additional mirrors and barres, additional lockers, fans, and up-grade our locker room. 

Image of Lauren Boggi via Dom

Comments

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I was one of the Lithers who voiced my concerns over this new late cancel policy. After some thought, I came up with an idea. Have you thought of allowing your first miss/late cancel per month to be waived? Totally get that it's not fair to other Lithers and the business in general, but sometimes work or life gets in the way and it's outside of the 6-hour window. This way it only punishes those Lithers who truly are mis-using the late/no show policy, and not those who may miss class once in awhile.

This is the 1st I am hearing of the fee, so first off I'd like clarification. What is the late cancel fee and is it the same whether you have a monthly or a 10 class card? I like Christina's idea or waiving the fee X times per year. The only times I ever late cancel are when it's an emergency, like my nanny cancels or a child is home sick from school, or has a snow day which has been a frequent occurrence this winter! Now I have to cancel my class the night before when I think there might be a snow day. It's hard enough as a working mom of 2 to get to class a few times a week. Life happens and sometimes you just can't help it and would like some flexibility.

Thanks for taking the time to give us the rationale behind these decisions, Lauren. I know it must be hard to be a business owner in an economy that's improving, but slowly. No one wants to pay more for something, but at least knowing the reasoning behind these new methodologies (late cancel fee, juice price increase), it makes it a little easier to swallow. I'd definitely rather pay $30 per year (I late canceled three times in 2013) than pay an extra $15 or so per month because the one-a-day class membership increased.

All this being said, I will miss Action Figure! It's one of my favorite classes and such a good workout! :(

@Christina - I think they already waive one late cancel. I think that this is fair. Although everyone has to late cancel here and there for last minute issues/emergencies, we all certainly can agree that you should know within 6 hours if you can make it to class or not. With options to cancel online, on app or via phone, it's not like it's a difficult task to cancel. Compared to other boutique studios, Lithe doesn't ask a lot. For example, Physique 57 requires up to 12 hours cancellation. Barre Method Princeton requires 12 hrs and another barre studio in LA requires 24hours notice to cancel! #Itraveltoomuch!

If you're a fan of Lithe and have embraced the fit hip healthy lifestyle, you can't help but love it. For some of us it's a challenge, for others, an escape; but I think for all of us it provides something you can't find elsewhere. If you really love Lithe, you want the business to succeed and grow. Any time I see updates like this, I get excited because it shows the dedication of the Lithe team to refining their offerings to meet the needs of our community. I believe that we can all work together with the late cancel policy - it's not like they are asking for your kidney. I believe offering the "best of Lithe" will help develop future "Best of's" in the future - Lithe is nothing if not innovative! (I can't wait to take Rah!) I'm looking forward to Lithe's continued creativity, refinement and growth!

This policy is similar to what I've seen in studio classes in NYC but still a bit nicer (most require 12 hour notice for morning class cancels). I appreciate that you are trying to make changes/improvements. On days or weeks I know my schedule is going to be unpredictable I just wait to book my class an hour or less before, with more classes and more room in RH, I've had more luck with this, esp early afternoon classes. Thanks to those pop-ups too!

I totally understand where Lauren is coming from too. The only thing is, since classes in general are expensive, I really don't want to pay more as a result of having to stay at work late unexpectedly. I pay the fee for my monthly classes, so can't I use them how I please? It rarely happens, but truth is sometimes you get surprised last minute. I love the waiving of at least 1 missed class/year, then the fee after that.

Thanks

Thanks for the explanation! Compared to other programs, I think the cancellation policy is very fair. There have to be business practices to protect the margins so Lithe can continue to grow and offer us the great variety of workouts and quality instructors that we all love. As a huge fan of some of the workouts that are being phased out (Action Figure, Step Rally xoxoxo), I would still hope that the overall variety of classes remains, as that's one of the things that is most attractive and unique about Lithe--the ever-changing workouts that keep you engaged and coming back for more.

Thank you Lauren (and everyone at Lithe)! We appreciate your candor and insight into the changes you are making, all in the hope of building a better Lithe :)

I agree wholehertedly with Judy, I have been a Lither for 2 years plus and people tend to take advantage of lesser stringent policies. I can't tell you how many times I have had to late cancel and yes it costs me money I don't have but I have also just dropped in or called instead of scheduling class on the days that I'm not sure I can make it. I keep a change of clothes in my car for those unexpected times and yes I am a single mother on a budget. I love Lithe and Lauren and we are lucky we can at least discuss these policies with her where as some business lay down the law and its not up for debate. Thank you Lauren for you explanations, your feedback and your ever-changing Lithe, don't worry about the fact that the studio is not finished as long as I can get my sweat on!!!!

I think that Lithe's cancellation policy is incredibly fair. Everywhere else it's 12 hours, which is just not realistic. I think you guys are ahead of the curve always!

So what happens if you "late cancel" versus just not showing up? Do you lose a class from that? My understanding was that you lose a class either way, but the late cancel option allowed someone on the wait list to get in. In my opinion, if I'm paying for a class, I can show up or not, but that's my money and my decision. An additional fee or lost class on top of that seems like it's just a cheap way for Lithe to get some additional revenue. If someone is able to get off the wait list to take your spot in class, then Lithe gets your revenue AND the revenue from the wait listed Lither. Maybe you shouldn't get charged a fee as long as there is a body to replace yours.

At the same time, I get frustrated when I've been wait listed and then I show up to a half-full class - why was I on the wait list to begin with if?! This is a way for Lithe to keep classes full & I don't know that I can blame them for that.

New topic - I would love to hear more about the changes to the RH locker room! There is nothing I would like more than having those steam showers converted into two additional showers. Waiting in line for showers at 7am is not fun & even converting one of the steam showers would help with that. Other requests: more shelves instead of lockers, coat hooks, more mirrors, and less revealing shower doors!

Also - is there a list of which classes that are getting the boot? Will they ever come back?

"In my opinion, if I'm paying for a class, I can show up or not, but that's my money and my decision. An additional fee or lost class on top of that seems like it's just a cheap way for Lithe to get some additional revenue. If someone is able to get off the wait list to take your spot in class, then Lithe gets your revenue AND the revenue from the wait listed Lither. Maybe you shouldn't get charged a fee as long as there is a body to replace yours." AMEN, @Julia!

Lithe is a great thing, but let's be honest, it's pricey and I should be able to do what I want with my membership. I have never missed a class, but I stand by the fact that membership is expensive and I should be able to do what I want with my membership.

Dear Lauren,

First, thank you so much for creating me! Not to brag, but I'm really awesome. I'm cardio, and blue bands, and upper butt/back sculpting all in the same class. Genius! I've heard that some people don't like me, and you're thinking of not teaching me anymore, but I just can't understand who wouldn't love me. I know people on the main line love me. When I was taught there on Sunday, non-Sunday folks inconvenienced their families and showed up late to church just to take me. They even wrote emails to each other along the lines of "OMG, Sunday 8:30 is STEP RALLY." They're so cute, those main liners!

So I hope you'll reconsider. While I've never met Sophie myself (or maybe I did when she was a client, I don't remember), I've heard from my good friend Higher Power that she would rock my lineup.

Yours always,
Step Rally

Any updates on the opening of the NYC location?

Lauren, thank you for the ongoing consideration of your clients and the transparency in your decision-making process. I have no problem with either a lost class or a fee for no-show/late cancel. It's really six of one or half dozen of the other as far as my wallet is concerned. I have no complaints about flexibility - my lifestyle is my choosing, as is my exercise program, and it's my job to make them mesh as much as possible and accept the consequences of the fact that I have a job and lifestyle that may force me to late cancel once in a while. If it really didn't work, then I'd have to choose another fitness method. I think each Lither should show accountability for those choices, rather than blaming your system.

That said, the only thing that has perplexed me for as long as I've been lithing, for which I don't feel that an adequate explanation has ever been given, is why a later canceller is penalized in the event that someone is able to take their place from the wait list. Countless times I have been number 1 or 2 on a wait list and when I call the studio a few hours before class, the lovely folks at the desk tell me that there has been a late cancel and the spot is mine if I want it. So why should the person who late cancelled - from which I gained the ability to join the class - still be penalized? I truly do not understand and I have heard this sentiment expressed repeatedly within the Lithe community. It is indeed a FAQ.

Is there any way to bring back the frequent juice buyer card? With the increased price, the bonus of getting a free juice after buying 12 or so would certainly keep me buying even though it's a small reward.

I also hope Step Rally and Action Figure don't go away forever :( Keep the variety coming!

I think this is a fair late-cancel policy, although it's true, it is better to late-cancel then to no-show. Something to consider.
The juices on the other hand, were expensive before and now are downright ridiculous. It's a real shame. Maybe offering them in a smaller size could be an option? I usually only drink half at a time anyway...

I think its a shame that many of the sculpting classes are being phased out. Not all of us want high cardio 5 times a week and truly love our sculpting time. Oh well, I am moving and currently commuting 90 minutes outside the city right now so you will only be seeing me on the weekends. I hope I can find a sculpting workout in central bucks I love as much as Lithe.

For me, this new late cancel policy works better because when I've crunched the numbers I lithe about 5 days a week which breaks down to about $13.50 a class. Before with the 2 class penalty it would be the equivalent of losing $27.00 rather than the $10 that will start to be charged.

I think a lot of people bring up some very interesting alternatives to this method but my real sticking point is the VARIETY OF CLASSES. The thing that keeps me coming back to Lithe is the excitement of getting into a class I've never taken before or chasing my favorite class around the schedule, or the triumph of going to a class that I hate but I still want to lithe (looking at you weightless).

It's the variety of classes- ones I love, ones I hate, and ones I hate to love and love to hate -that keep me coming back and scheduling classes as soon as I can! Keep the variety please!

To echo KMJ's comment, we up in NYC have been eagerly waiting years for Lithe's opening. What's the current status? Thanks.

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