Established in 2007 in Taiwan, Curves initially operated with only a small team of less than 50 staff. With its limited number of users and under the advice of Google Workspace reseller TS Consultancy, Curves decided, at its initial stages, to leverage the free Gmail service as their email solution. Since its humble beginnings, Curves has steadily developed its presence in the industry, expanding exponentially, the number of franchises in Taiwan. The corporate office works closely with franchisees to disseminate training materials and convey corporate policies, especially during the initial franchise set-up phase. With the increasing number of franchisees, this process proved extremely challenging and complicated for its small team of staff.
"Being a large franchise operation, effective and prompt information sharing was important for both internal and external communications. While we did increase our manpower capabilities to cope with the franchise expansion, mistakes were not uncommon. With all communication conducted via email, it was inevitable that human error sometimes led to staff sending the wrong documents and leaving our franchisees confused," said Ms Lydia Chen, Manager, Curves Taiwan.
As a result of the increase in staffing, Curves could not continue with the free Gmail service, and was thus looking for a new, more professional email solution. The fitness chain also sought for a way to monitor their franchise set-up process to ensure that the relevant procedures were progressing as scheduled and correct information was being shared with franchisees.
Prior to the Google Workspace implementation, collaboration among staff was very limited. Different teams often worked on the same tasks individually, leading to multiple copies of the same document. A lot of time was then wasted trying to merge these documents.
With an aim to streamline and monitor the communications process between the corporate office and franchisees, and based on recommendations from TS Consultancy, Curves moved from being a free Gmail user to a Google Workspace user.
"Upon evaluation and based on our positive experiences with Gmail, we were readily convinced of Google Workspace’s superiority and compatibility with our growing business. In addition, this move made sense as our staff are already very used to Gmail and its interface, and were able to easily move to leveraging Google Workspace explained Ms Chen.
Today, daily collaboration between the corporate office and franchisees has improved significantly. The premium version of Gmail allows staff to share several large attachments within one email, reducing the chances of human error. Franchisees receive only one email with all the necessary attachments instead of multiple emails. The time invested in the set-up process is thus kept at a minimal and staff can keep track of the emails sent with Gmail’s intuitive interface, which links all existing conversations in the same email thread.
Curves is also making use of Google Sites as a bulletin board to share corporate policies and information. This one-stop portal provides an intuitive and convenient channel for franchisees to get the latest news and training paraphernalia. Additionally, with all franchisee documents uploaded onto Google Drive, franchisees with a Google account can easily download the necessary documents from the shared folder without having to physically travel to Curves’ corporate office for updates or training.
"Missing documents and double-work are now a distant memory. With all staff able to access and work off the same documents on Google Drive, our staff are able to cooperate seamlessly with each other. They are also always made aware of the latest edits on the document, and there is less chance of employees sharing the wrong document. The most updated version is always ready for sharing via Google Drive," said Ms Chen.
Google Workspace has not only streamlined the communication and workflow process for Curves’ corporate staff and franchisees, it has also helped Curves better engage gym members. Through Google Forms, Curves has established a database gathering platform for current and potential members. Curves is also using Google Forms to collate feedback, providing easy access to franchisees and members to interact with Curves directly.
"Franchisees are a vital component for Curves as they are the face of our brand, and work towards increasing our membership numbers. Our responsiveness to them is thus of paramount importance. GGoogle Workspace has been instrumental in helping us stay connected with our franchisees. As a company, we are better organized than before and definitely much more confident towards any expansion of our business," concluded Ms Chen.
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.