Member Engagement

The 7 Rules of Retention

shutterstock_327778547_1.jpgIf you own a club or work within the fitness industry, you probably ask yourself this question every night before you go to bed, and again every morning when you wake up.

How on earth do I keep my members?

With IHRSA estimating that the average annual retention rate for clubs is a lowly 66%, it’s obvious that club owners all across the country are having trouble figuring out what it is that turns an existing member into a loyal one. While reaching sales quotas and acquiring new members is an important aspect of business, if it costs five times as much to get a new member than it is to keep an existing one, why not spend a bit more time focusing on retention? Though the solution isn’t the same across the board, focusing on a few of these overlooked details will make your members feel more valued and overall more likely to continue coming to your club.

1. Provide Excellent Customer Service

If there’s one thing consumers hate the most, it’s when a business can’t solve the problem they have. In fact, in a study done by Dimensional Research, 39% of consumers indicated that they actively avoided a business for two or more years after a bad customer service experience. To avoid getting on your members’ bad side, make sure your frontdesk staff can handle any and all customer complaints or issues by consistently reviewing your standard procedures with them and by hiring staff with a willingness to help. No matter how many classes your gym offers, if your staff can’t relate and empathize with your members, they won’t want to stay.

2. Know Your Members

In the same way consumers remember negative experiences, the positive ones stick with them too. So get your staff to try and learn your members’ names, interests and how their fitness progress is going. If a member feels like they’re a part of the community within your club, they’ll be more compelled to continue coming in. Plus, if you know your members, you’ll be able to understand exactly what they’re looking for out of your gym, and if those expectations are being met.

3. Listen to Your Staff

If you’re a club owner or GM, odds are you’re not always fully in tune with what's happening on the floor on a daily basis. If you encourage consistent dialogue between the management and the staff, they’ll share more information with you and make it easier for you to make decisions. You’ll quickly realize how valuable it is to combine the day-to-day happenings with the high-level knowledge only you possess.

4. Be Visible

At the same time however, don’t just rely on your staff to get a sense of what’s going on day-to-day on the floor. The ultimate goal is customer satisfaction, so if you’re visible and acting as a willing member of the team, it’ll send a message to both your staff and your members that they’re your top priority. It says a lot about a business when a manager is immediately on the scene to help solve a member issue that the staff can’t solve.

5. Ask for Feedback

How are you going to know how your members feel about your club unless you ask them? Every so often, make sure you conduct a membership survey and throw in an incentive for participating, such as the chance to win a PT session or club shirt. The most valuable information you’ll ever get about your club is going to be from those who use it day in and day out. Understanding how your members feel will help you not only build upon your weaknesses, but also fortify your areas of strength.

6. Connect with Members on Social Media

With brand loyalty on the decline and social media usage up 69% in the last ten years, connecting with your members over the Internet should definitely be a priority for your club. You could celebrate your members with monthly awards over Facebook or Twitter, you could post videos of routines you think your members would enjoy or even create events designed to foster a sense of community within your club, such as group runs or outdoor training sessions. With most adults on some sort of social media, if your club isn’t using it to improve retention rates it’s falling behind.

7. Have a Purpose

Running a business, your first priority is always going to make sure you’re making money. But if you only see your members as dollar signs, they can tell. So your purpose needs to be bigger than just maximizing profits. Have a goal to improve the local community, or help change your members’ lives through fitness. If your members see that your club has purpose, then they’ll be inspired to keep supporting that purpose. And in the long run, this means more profits.


Want to learn more? Check out our guide, The Club of 2020.

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