Again With The Experience
The digital economy has changed everything about the fitness experience. Your gym membership is now as much about connecting with people as it is about the workout. The workout experience counts most, but the club experience as a relationship is vital too.
Everything from social media engagements, shout-outs for results, to the attitudes and demeanor of your staff members count as part of that experience. Look at everything that you do and evaluate it from the perspective of your members.
Customer Experience Cycles Within Lifetime Membership Cycles
Customers flow through your gym in cycles. There is a cycle of daily workouts, the cycle of membership payments, the seasons, and the life cycle of membership accounts. The big-picture cycle runs from first inquiry through active membership and finally to cancellation. The lifetime value of your average customer is an abstract measurement that’s the bone structure on which you build your fitness empire.
I’m not interested in talking about the financial situation; see this linked post about lifetime value where I did discuss exactly that. What I do want you to think about is the experience that the customer has all the way through from beginning to end.
I have written much in the Gym Insight Blog about the relationships that small gym business owners need to cultivate. However, it’s essential to the life of your enterprise. So I’m going to add some more here. If you can optimize the experience, it will ensure that the cycle between sign up and canceling for every member is a long one on average.
Responsiveness Matters More Important Than The Pursuit Of Perfection
Show members your gratitude – Gym members understand that you are human and they will give you some credit if you reciprocate in some specific ways. Members want some acknowledgment as customers and in their fitness achievements. In any consumer related business, customers revel in the attention they feel when you express appreciation to them. The simplest ways that you can make customers happy count more than almost any other factor, even if they meet issues along the way.
Get customer-focused – When you engage with customers and require that they complete applications or fill in forms, make sure that it is the easiest possible process. Any transaction or procedure must be quick and convenient for the member. Nothing offends paying customers more than sensing that you’re manipulating them for your convenience, it’s disrespectful to put your needs first.
Ask customers for input – Ask for feedback and suggestions and show that you are willing to listen. You don’t have to implement every impulsive idea, but at least acknowledge them and experiment with those that could make a difference.
Make the experience rewarding – A fitness experience should be rewarding; it’s a law or something! The rewards of fitness are in there somewhere, but you should provide something more in the way of satisfaction. Examples of additional things you can do to reward members might be a referral program, free swag for achievements or recognition for goals attained or events such as membership anniversaries and birthdays.
Clean And Tidy For The Win
The most fundamental part of the experience is still about the workout and the environment of the gym itself. That’s right; you still need to have a clean and tidy gym to make the experience work for most members. A fitness space that has broken equipment, worn carpets, missing ceiling tiles, burnt out lighting or any other sign of decay, fix it.
Your repairs don’t need to be expensive, just fix or remove broken equipment, get the carpet cleaned, get out the ladder and adjust the ceiling tiles, apply some paint; do whatever it takes with what you have and show that you care about your property.
Remember the experience that matters most is that of your customers, your members pay the bills, and when they leave, it’s hard work to find replacements. The better experience will turn into extended customer lifetime value and keep you in business a little longer in the process.
Summarizing The Experience
- Give appreciation and acknowledge members warmly
- Make your administrative procedures painless for members
- Act to resolve issues promptly
- Give recognition and rewards
- Keep your gym clean and tidy
Fagan, Lawrence. Lifetime Customer Value Calculation And Why It Matters. April 6, 2016. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3757-lifetime-customer-value-calculation-and-why-it-matters/ (accessed December 30, 2016).
—. Unboxing The Gym Experience. October 29, 2014. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2955-unboxing-the-gym-experience/ (accessed December 30, 2016).
Metcalf, Andrea. Retaining Members – What Keeps Exercisers Coming Back. April 26, 2015. https://www.lifefitness.com/blog/posts/retaining-members-what-keeps-exercisers-coming-back (accessed December 30, 2016).
Thalwitz, Christine. Five Things Unhappy Gym Members Want to Tell You and Your Staff. October 1, 2012. http://clubindustry.com/profits/five-things-unhappy-gym-members-want-tell-you-and-your-staff (accessed December 30, 2016).