How to Match People and Services

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Introduction

In order to create a program that successfully matches people with services, a business or organization must match the right participants together. Whether a business is matching people with goods and services, trainers and clients in a gym setting, or mentors and mentees, it is necessary to figure out the necessary steps to achieving the best possible result for both parties.

For the purposes of this blog let's assume that a group of friends want to take a kettlebell class at a local gym that has several locations in the area. Let's say there are 5 friends, 3 females and 2 males - varying in age from 31 to 56 years of age all having varying fitness levels covering the whole gamut. To match the ideal fitness trainer or the ideal class with these 5 people you need to consider many different variables. Since these 5 people want to take the class together, if possible, there must be a way to match a trainer that satisfies everyone’s requirements. 

If the gym in question was a “mom and pop” operation with just one location you may be able to get by using a Jotform survey to ask each of the 5 participants what their requirements are and then look at the answers and assign a trainer that best satisfies the overall criteria and requirements for these 5 friends.

With a larger operation that has several locations available to the 5 participants, a Jotform survey or series of surveys may be too unwieldy and difficult to scale. An app that can take the requirements of each person and then match them with a trainer or classes at all or some of the locations available to these 5 friends would be invaluable to the business (gym) to enable them to provide several options that may be acceptable to everyone.

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Step 1. Purpose of the program

Clearly, in this particular example, the purpose is to match a trainer to customers with different fitness levels, ages, and genders, among other variables to help these customers get the most out of the class. With this purpose in mind you can establish the criteria used to determine how a successful match is made:

A trainer’s availability, gender, age, experience, their preferred client training level (beginner, intermediate, advanced), and the locations where they conduct training sessions.

The last thing that either a trainer or “trainee” want is to be matched with a person, or persons, that are unsuitable regardless of the reason. For the trainer, maybe he/she/they prefer beginner students because they enjoy the enthusiasm and rapidly visible results in new students and getting people on the right track to a lifetime of fitness and better health. Or, maybe a trainer prefers students with a high pre-existing level of fitness and enjoys pushing an already committed trainee to get better. For the trainee’s maybe some prefer a “tough,” no-nonsense trainer while others prefer a personable, go at your own pace type of trainer - so it is important that, however you match up the participants, all of these variables (and possibly more) are taken into account to maximize the probability of making the best possible match for everyone.

Step 2. Types of Matching

For the purpose of this scenario, there are four popular types of matching to choose from:

  • Self Match: enables trainee(s) to find their own trainer(s). This type of matching gives trainees a say in the process, allowing them to select a particular trainer or submit their top choices. This type of matching is useful for more generalized training, can lead to better satisfaction of participants since they have more of an active role in who they get matched with, and can reduce the overall administrative load of the business.
  • Admin Match: This allows program owners to create matches on behalf of the participants where the organization has identified the specific participants and the matches it wants in the program.
  • Bulk Match: Provides program owners the ability to match a large group of program participants at the same time. It is a great time saver when the number of participants (trainers available and trainees) becomes larger than 200+, making it difficult for spreadsheets and employees to manage. The admin responsibility and time commitment should be significantly reduced using this option when appropriate.
  • Hybrid Match: This Is a combination of Self, Admin, and Bulk matching types when one type alone is not comprehensive enough to fit the needs of a program.

When matching 5 trainees with one of several trainers, finding the best match might be fairly straightforward. But what happens if these 5 trainees decide to invite more people to the class from their workplace - and maybe the number of locations available for trainer matches doubles or triples if the acceptable travel distance changes and more locations can be considered?  When the number of trainers and trainees to be matched grows to 40 or 50, matching manually can become unwieldy.

A software solution helps this process in a couple of ways. Most software solutions will use an algorithm that automatically facilitates the best matches by analyzing the data in each participant’s profile. The right solution will enable you to match participants based on the factors that are most important to trainers and trainees such as location, fitness level, sessions per week, etc.

Step 3. Create Profiles

As previously mentioned, the kettle-bell class participants (trainers and trainees) will bring different competencies and criteria to bear in the matching process, making sure to match them on the right skill, requirements traits along with other qualities that are used to match trainers and trainees. To do this, trainees and trainers must fill out robust profiles

You’ll also want the participants, especially trainees, to indicate what preferences are important to them in a match. Profiles should encompass a good range of information in order to make more informed matches. But keep in mind the profile shouldn’t be too overwhelming for either the trainee or trainer. Limiting questions to less than 20 should provide enough data points to facilitate successful matches.

Step 4. Provide Instructions for participants

Once a trainer has been matched that satisfies the preferences and criteria of the 5 "kettlebell class” trainees, guidance might be required to ensure the trainer/trainee relationship thrives and is successful for both parties.

Educating the participants on how to best conduct training sessions, provide constructive feedback, and stay on track with individual goals will provide guidelines for the trainer and trainees to follow as the class progresses. Offering resources to help the participants get the most out of the class regardless of their role as trainer or trainee will facilitate their relationship and maybe pave the way for initiating other classes with the same participants creating more business for the gym, more money for the trainer, and a better more varied fitness experience for the trainees.

Conclusion

So, you've decided that your company could use a tool to better match people and services, what do you do?

At The SilverLogic (TSL) we can help. TSL, located in Boca Raton, Florida, is a global organization of full-time software engineers, designers, and architects focused on developing and delivering products that help businesses grow. We are a client-focused, value-driven, custom software development company led by founder and CEO David Hartmann. Collaborating closely with you and your company, TSL can help develop the right tool or strategy to implement a solution for whatever challenges the matching scenario(s) is presenting to your company in order to improve customer satisfaction while growing your business.

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