EDITORS NOTE September 2023: It has come to our attention that OCR Buddy made comments that may of reflected that The Original FIT Factory did not to their due diligence before investing in Cool Events. This was not our intent and we apologize for any misunderstandings.
After publishing our article about the current situation with Cool Events; OCR Buddy founder; Russ Blatt continued to reach out to executives with The Original Fit Factory, the new parent company of Cool Events, and has been able to connect the community to Kasey O’Leary, the Chief Marketing Officer for The Original Fit Factory. We were able to discuss several of the community concerns.
We will bring this to you in two parts. The first part (this post) is about the work that The Original Fit Factory (TOFF) is doing to reach out to the OCR Community and its other customers for the 2023 cancellations/postponements and other issues. Part two will be a breakdown of Blatt’s recent experience at a Cool Events event and other discussions regarding the business model moving forward. Part two can be found here: https://ocrbuddy.com/update-cool-events-parent-company-addresses-issues/
In our discussions, one topic that came forward repeatedly was transparency. In simple terms, people in the OCR Community can see through “B.S.” and this was having a very negative effect on the company. Emails were going unanswered. Instagram and Facebook posts were being removed and comments were being turned off. Response time was nearly non-existent.
As discussed in further detail in our next post, TOFF has made the difficult decision to postpone several future events in 2023. Learning “on the fly” and information learned through our conversations, O’Leary also explained that a consistent race calendar and an evolved race experience are paramount for 2024.
As a result, TOFF has begun to work on fixing their problems. As O’Leary recently told me, “It’s not perfect. Perfect would be no more postponements.” However, the steps being implemented have the following three goals:
– Provide transparency and context to the customers
– Provide a formal confirmation and bring accountability to TOFF
– Provide value to the customers
How is this being implemented?
1. Cool Events owns six (6) brands, with four active in 2023: Bubble Run, Foam Glow, Muddy Dash, and Terrain Race. Each of these brands has their own independent website, all with the same design. On the front page of each site, there is a banner that now states, “Click here to view the upcoming events affected by cancellations or postponements”. Currently, there is one Foam Glow event and four Terrain Race events listed in these categories. The purpose of this banner is to provide a location for people to see affected cancelations. While event cancelations are something no one wants, this is at least the first step in acknowledging that there are events with issues.
2. Emails will be sent to registered customers. This email will inform the customer that the event that they are registered for has been postponed or canceled. The test email that Blatt received, states the following:
Our mission is to deliver unforgettable race experiences for our customers. Unfortunately, we have had a series of setbacks that have meant we have had to postpone some of our races. Challenges with venues, permits, labor, equipment, cost inflation and even weather have resulted in us having no option but to postpone some events in 2023.
Below this is a link that says “Options”. This link brings the email to a webpage that gives the customer the option of transferring to another local event (if possible) or redeeming a voucher for 2024. I clicked the link and was given a voucher # for future registrations, the email address, and the number of tickets valid for future redemption. Additionally, customers are being offered a complimentary one-year membership to the TRUCONNECT wellness app (To learn about the app and its abilities, click the link for more information https://www.truconnect.fit/).
It is unknown at this point if the transfer will require additional insurance/fees at the next event. Those questions will be asked and answered in a future post.
At the bottom of the page, there is also a link to submit questions to the brand’s customer service.
3. Customer Service is also an issue that TOFF is working on improving. O’Leary provided me four email addresses that she states are being monitored and they are:
Blatt sent each of these emails a test email with an explanation that the Chief Marketing Officer knew I was testing the emails. O’Leary did tell me that the current turnaround time on their support staff is two weeks, based upon backlogs and attempting to catch up with past issues.
While the situation is not perfect, it is a start. Cool Events and OCR Buddy have had multiple phone calls, as TOFF is receptive to listening and implementing change. While they admit that currently, the brand is at a low, it can only get better.
OCR Buddy will continue to speak with O’Leary and we hope to bring her love for a discussion and to even answer questions. This has been an eye-opening experience for her and TOFF as a whole. If we can work with them to make the experience better for their customer, and more importantly, the OCR Community, then we are doing the right thing.