Re-Engaging At-Risk Clients: 7 Tips to Reduce Cancellation Rates

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Re-Engaging At-Risk Clients: 7 Tips to Reduce Cancellation Rates

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Keeping clients engaged and committed is a challenge every boutique fitness studio faces. Sometimes, clients sign up with the best intentions to create an active, healthy lifestyle and then fall off the wagon when life gets in the way. Studies show that it costs five times more to acquire a new client than to retain an existing one, and a tiny 5% increase in client retention can lead to a 25-95% increase in profits. So, we know client retention is crucial for long-term success, but how do you keep long-term clients engaged month after month and year after year? Here are the steps to keep your clients in the studio.

1. Track Attendance Regularly

Use your reports to identify clients at risk. FitDEGREE has the Fading Clients and Routine Breakers reports that can help you notice who is falling off their schedule. Use your studio management software to monitor class signups and flag clients who haven't attended in a specific number of weeks. Automated alerts can help you stay on top of this, but you can also make it someone's job to pull these two reports on the same day every week (like checking in every Monday). These clients should then be exported to a client-at-risk contact list.

As a consultant, I recommend studio owners reach out after three weeks of no attendance rather than the usual four-week mark. Here's why: say you're a client with a month-to-month membership, and you get a notice that says you haven't been to your studio in at least a month. You hear, "You just paid for an entire month and have nothing to show for it." With no commitment, you're more likely to respond, "Okay, cancel me, please. I'm not getting my money's worth."

A three-week reachout, on the other hand, doesn't carry the same weight because it's not an entire month—the client still has time to get to the studio and use their membership before they're out of the membership fee. I know it sounds like a trivial difference, but buyer psychology is important, and we see this play out every day in the fitness industry. Use it to your advantage by changing your client at-risk reachouts to three weeks instead of one month.

2. Personalized Communication

Once you've identified at-risk clients, reach out with personalized communication. A generic message won't cut it when you're trying to convince someone you've noticed their absence. Personalize your emails or calls to make clients feel valued. Here's an example script:

"Hi [Client's Name],

I just got out of my 9 a.m. class, and I noticed your usual spot has been empty for the last three weeks, so I wanted to check in. Is everything okay?" You can find more scripts and timelines here.

You'll often receive a response like, "Ah! Life got away from me and work has been crazy!" If you don't hear back, try another method of communication. For example, if you left a text originally, send an email the following day referencing the text message. We don't want the client to fall off their routine to the point where they're asking to cancel in a few weeks.

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3. Schedule Their Come Back Class or Offer a Sweat Date

Depending on how long your client has been out of the studio, consider offering up what we call "sweat dates"—where you take the class with them. Sometimes, an accountability buddy can help make a transition back to routine more successful. If they've only been out for a few weeks, ask if you can book them for class to help them rebuild their practice.

If it's more serious and they've had a significant schedule change that inhibits their workout attendance, suggest a phone call or in-person chat to find a new schedule or membership option that will fit better with their current life commitments.

4. Schedule a Check-In Call

A personal touch can go a long way. If at-risk clients have been out of the studio for an extended period, schedule a brief check-in call after their first class. This conversation can uncover any issues they're facing, whether it's a scheduling conflict, lack of motivation, or something else. Addressing their concerns directly shows that you care about their success from more than just a numbers viewpoint- you really want them to be successful, and that level of support doesn't go unnoticed.

5. Create a Re-engagement Program

Yes, your client at risk should be super personalized, but there is a place for automation, too. Develop a re-engagement program designed for clients who don't have an active pass and haven't been in in a while. This could include a series of motivational emails, discounted offers (short and sweet- like a BOGO class pack), and special workshops aimed at rekindling their fitness journey.

6. Build a Community

Remember, if your client has seven connections within your studio, they're significantly less likely to cancel because clients who feel connected to a supportive community are more engaged. Foster a strong sense of community within your studio to improve retention and overall satisfaction. Encourage social interactions, organize community events, and create opportunities where clients can share their experiences and support each other.

7. Gather Feedback

Finally, ask for feedback. Understanding why clients haven't been attending can provide insight into potential improvements for your studio. Use what you learn to make necessary adjustments and show clients that their opinions matter. Make sure you ask clients who decide to cancel for their honest feedback, as well.

Engaging at-risk clients is crucial for reducing cancellation rates and maintaining a successful fitness studio long-term. It's normal for clients' commitment to your studio to ebb and flow, but you don't have to throw in the towel when someone stops attending. Re-engage clients and help them stay committed to their fitness goals by making sure they know you notice their absence and care about their success. Remember, retaining an existing client is far more cost-effective than acquiring a new one, and the effort you put into keeping your clients engaged will pay off significantly in the long run.

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About the author:

Niki Riga
Industry Expert
Limitless Studio

Niki has been a client, a studio owner, and a coach in boutique fitness for over a decade, and she can’t think of an industry she'd rather be in. Her favorite part about coaching and studio ownership are the same: she loves supporting clients as they push past their limits and achieve their goals. Niki became a coach because she was regularly asked, “how did you do that!?” by other studio owners who were drowning in the day-to-day responsibilities of business ownership but didn’t have the support to grow their studio to its potential. She created Limitless Studio to partner with owners who have a vision for their business and are ready to implement systems to build the studio of their dreams.