Social Customer Relationship Management in Fitness Industry: A case study of Fitness World & Fitness dk

Kristina Daubaraite

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose – Customer relationship management is a continually evolving domain that has been particularly affected by social media, which have revolutionized the way businesses and consumers interact. The idea of managing relationships with customers by using social media is called social customer relationship management (social CRM). The purpose of this thesis is to examine how effectively major fitness operators in Denmark utilize social media, in particular, Facebook, for customer relationship management with the optimal focus on customer engagement. Design/methodology/approach – To answer the research question, first, a literature review is conducted on the concepts of social CRM, social media, and customer engagement. Based on the literature review, a conceptual framework is developed for the analysis. Then a double analysis is performed: a content analysis of 400 posts generated by two leading Danish fitness operators and their users on brands’ Facebook page; an online survey of members of fitness chains, resulting in 102 usable responses. Findings – The results indicate that fitness chains have a generally good performance in using the online brand community to maintain relationships with customers; however, the unique potential of a brand community does not seem to be harnessed to the fullest extent. The findings demonstrate that the highest engagement in online fitness club community is driven by quizzes and contests that offer a valuable prize. Posts that do not directly relate to the company, but tend to interact and/or showcase activities and achievements of the members (i.e. weight loss) also attracts a big attention of the online community, however, this type of posts are scarcely communicated by fitness chains. Additionally, fans of fitness clubs seem to be engaged more emotionally and cognitively rather than behaviourally. Practical implications – the findings give an insight into customer relationship development practices on the Facebook brand community. Managers are encouraged to diversify the type of content that is communicated in the online brand community. Also, better strategies should be developed to encourage authentic conversations and behavioral customer engagement within brand communities on social network sites. Originality/value – This study is the first attempt to examine fitness operators’ use of social network site (Facebook) as a mean of customer engagement and relationship development. Keywords: social CRM, customer engagement, social media, Facebook, fitness clubs.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages84
SupervisorsLiana Razmerita