Would you agree that first impressions matter? When you call or walk into a business for the first time, it’s often that first experience that will set the tone for future interactions. The fitness industry is no exception. The first time a lead reaches out to you is your opportunity to WOW them.
There is a high correlation between member retention and your support staff. New clients often interact with your support staff by phone before making a purchase or on day one of their first class, so be sure your team is properly trained. One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make when it comes to member retention is a lack of follow through. Clients are often sold an idea that they will reach fitness goals and be held accountable, but when they become a member, what they were sold doesn’t translate to anything tangible. When are goals achieved and revisited, how are clients actually supported and held accountable? Your business should be able to answer these questions.
I’m a firm believer that retention starts on day one AND that there is a method to keeping happy and consistent members. There are certainly aspects of retention that may be out of your hands, but there are many checkpoints you can put in place to support your members and business. This article will highlight key factors in member retention and give you tips to takeaway and implement.
Member retention starts on day and the first few weeks and months are what often set the tone for how long your members will stay with your business. When someone joins your community, your job has just begun. Setting up email, text, phone call, and in person check ins and automations should be part of your member retention plan. Ask your members how they are feeling, make sure they are taking the right classes, encourage them to step outside of their routine, keep them up to date on special events happening…keep them engaged. Below is an ideal timeline for member check-ins.
Running a successful gym or studio requires you start all new clients out with some sort of new client form or consultation. This is an opportunity to get clients thinking about what they want to accomplish and then you can tell them how you will support them in achieving their goals. IF, you never take the time to learn about your clients, how do you measure and track success? There are a variety of ways to track your members progress so it’s all about finding a method that works for your business. You can use special softwares like Trainerize, studio tablets, or the good old paper method. If you have a new client intake form or consultation of some sort, when is the last time you circled back to it with your members? Ultimately, if you want to retain your members, you have to show them results.
Many businesses tell new clients that they will hold them accountable but what does this really look like? Holding members accountable means tracking their attendance and challenging them. Reaching out to members who are MIA should be a top priority for every gym. Businesses who have high member retention are doing consistent outreach to clients who have not been within two weeks. Another way to hold members accountable is with a Late Cancel/No Show policy. Having a policy in place not only supports your business but it can also be an accountability tool because most people don’t want to consistently pay for classes they aren’t attending. Lastly, if you have a member who truly is not utilizing their membership, reach out. Identify if they would benefit from a different membership or maybe they just need a pep talk.
It’s the little things that matter. You can show your members that you genuinely care about them by doing little acts that will set you apart from other businesses. Sending birthday wishes, handwritten cards, highlighting progress/milestones, gifts on special occasions like weddings and births, or even get well soon wishes and condolences. Find a unique way to connect with your members and I guarantee these small gestures will go a long way with retention. When I opened my first gym, we made a point of sending flowers and edible arrangements to our members. Our members loved that we took the time to celebrate them and often shouted us out on social media… hello free marketing.
Member engagement is a key factor in retention. Your business should offer a variety of opportunities for your community to interact, build relationships, and experience new things. You should also think about what events are best suited for your demographic. Below is just a short list of ideas to keep your members engaged.
Member retention is a key factor in the success of your business. If you are losing more than 10% of your members each month due to factors that are outside of your control (relocation, illness/injury, Covid restrictions) it might be time to evaluate your approach to member retention. Remember, retention starts on day one but there is much to be done to keep your members happy and engaged with your business.