The Virtuous Circle Of Improved Retention
Since the topic of membership retention is still fresh on the pages of the Gym Insight Blog, let’s talk about the strategic points to hold on to your customers a little longer. No doubt, you have some idea of what you are doing well and what can be improved, and there are uncounted sources of ideas for retention on the Web, but it never hurts to have an over-arching strategy in place, right?
The Upside Of Improved Gym Member Retention
As an example, if you can increase your retention rate from ninety-two to ninety-five percent, a three percent improvement, it means that instead of losing eight percent of your membership in a given period, you only lose five percent. You have reduced your lost members by more than thirty-seven percent! Now that looks a little different doesn’t it?
Having a sharper retention strategy helps you cut the costs of marketing and onboarding new members to replace the losses or, for a given cost, you can put more of your budget toward finding other new customers and accelerating the growth of your membership base. Your strategy for retention should be a virtuous circle where good things give rise to more good things. I’ve found that there are three points to consider in the big picture: Cancellation prevention, a proactive response when it happens, and defining the telltale signs in your customer data.
Prevention Is Better Than Any Other Option
Prevention is always better than cure. Remember that the gym business is part of the hospitality business; you need your members to want to hang out in your gym and feel good about it. Keep members informed with a newsletter and social media interactions based on a segmented email marketing list; sometimes just knowing what’s going on helps members to feel more at home. Keep the culture of your gym upbeat and energized, which means, if you have an employee who resists treating customers well or who fights with coworkers, you may have to face the tough task of removing them.
Take A Proactive Response To Cancellations
When cancellations happen, personally call up those members who have dropped out and ask why they left. Make sure that you do it with a tone of genuine concern and receptiveness; it has to be a friendly call or meeting, without any signs of defensiveness. Be prepared to listen and follow up by responding with improvements to your services. Listen to members who are determined to leave with empathy and try to find a solution that brings them back.
You may not succeed in bringing many back in; they may have reasons that have nothing to do with your gym and services. Negotiating or even pleading won’t always work, but it’s a numbers game, and their stories may give you insights into your business that enable you to stop the problem at the source in the future and keep your remaining customers happier.
Dig Into The Data
If your gym or fitness studio has records of hundreds or thousands of past and present clients, analyze your files and try to determine what patterns of behavior indicate an increasing probability of pending membership cancellations. Use this information to make a plan that responds to early signs before they become later signs. Mining your records for clues and recognizable signs will give you information that you can integrate with the proactive stance of keeping relationships warm and help you respond to cancellations when they do happen.
A Virtuous Circle Of Business Intelligence And Action
Gym Insight has the membership management tools to help retain customers. The three points in membership retention discussed above are closely inter-related parts of a strategy. Prevention is always best; prepare positive responses to cancellations; and implementing a system for integrated business intelligence that alerts you to the earliest possible signals of shaky memberships. Working on all three of these points will help to give a better basis for gym membership retention and make your business be stronger and stay open longer.
Fagan, Lawrence. Finding Your Retention Rate and Why It Matters. March 22, 2016. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3741-finding-your-retention-rate-and-why-it-matters/ (accessed April 19, 2016).
—. Increasing Membership Retention with Health Club Cleanliness. May 16, 2013. https://blog.gyminsight.com/846-increasing-membership-retention-with-health-club-cleanliness/ (accessed April 19, 2016).