Registering the initial few supporters can be incredibly gratifying. Obtaining an initial contact and developing them into potential customer and eventually, a recent member is a difficult yet satisfying operation that may require some time to do fully. Once you have surmounted that issue, the real work is just commencing. The next step is to retain them.
Previous research has implied that half of the new members discontinue their membership at a fitness center within three months of joining. No doubt you have felt devastatingly let down by the loss of someone close to you. This is in sharp opposition to the elation of signing them up. It’s not only you that struggle with the reduced number of members; this is a widespread difficulty in this field.
Why Is Member Retention Important and How Do You Retain Club Members?
In order to discover imaginative methods to retain gym members, we have to initially recognize what makes them remain devoted.
An increasing pattern across all companies is the provision of services without any face-to-face interaction. It is particularly noticeable in the increase of people ordering food and drinks through their cell phones: you can have your items without even seeing the person taking your order. The bosses don’t have to stress about keeping these consumers; if the service is done correctly, they usually come back.
Those who end their association with the business are either uninterested or have discovered a better option somewhere else. Managers are often perplexed by what causes attrition and fear that it may become an ongoing pattern.
One could say that not many of us would go back to a restaurant that had a rude waiter, messed up our order, and the manager refused to make it right by providing a refund. We could potentially be forgiving and try them out one more time if the manager exhibited remorse and fixed the issue; however, we remain dubious and aloof to the business, poised to find an alternative solution.
We all have a certain eatery, cafe, or supermarket we regularly go to because we are recognized, treasured, and appreciated. The employees are familiar with us and what we usually purchase, they inquire about our families, professions, and general well-being, and extend gratitude for our dedication.
Fitness centers are not that different from food services. In metropolitan areas with plenty of gyms, it’s typically the patrons who are devoted to one specific fitness facility that gets the recognition they deserve, instead of switching to another facility that may be nearby. Their personal trainers predicted the outcomes they now experience.
Deliver Top Customer Service
Members of your gym often express their commitment due to how they perceive their experiences when they are there – the way they feel about themselves, the staff, or the other members. If members don’t feel that they are part of the gym’s environment or have bonds with the staff and other people there, they are not very likely to keep their membership.
Nevertheless, businesses that place emphasis on client service have profits that are 60% greater than their rivals. Every fitness center should prioritize providing a superior customer experience and service. Have a look at the video above to find out why customer service is so important.
The Fitness Industry Is Changing
The trend toward boutique-like gyms that specialize in classes will become more significant in the future. As we talked about in the article Why Boutique Fitness is a Change Not a Trend, the market tendency has quickly changed to emphasizing customer service. Focusing on retention has never been more important. Here’s why:
Gyms are getting smaller
Generally, boutique fitness studios do not have the same large-scale size as Planet Fitness in the outskirts of town. In general, the area dedicated to instruction would be constituted of one or two spaces–the focal point being educational activities. This implies that you have a limited number of slots available in each class so you can only admit a specific number of people. It follows that if you only have a handful of customers, a decrease in them can be disastrous for your business.
Pricing models are different
A major deterrent of big box gyms was the way they enrolled participants. Once someone was bound to an agreement, it was difficult for them to get away from it, particularly if they were displeased with the gym. This could result in members possibly exiting once their agreement expired. Contracts now offer more freedom of choice, with the option to pay per month and the ability to cancel at any time. Demonstrate to the member that you are worthy of their time and they won’t leave.
The member experience is key
The primary influence boutique studios have had on the industry is to place the emphasis on the individual and their journey. This may seem unusual given that the emphasis should generally be on the participant, however, at one point this was not the case. It is essential that you keep up with other companies in giving a top-notch customer experience.
5 Reasons Members Leave
Gym owners are very afraid of their members fleeing. There are a variety of reasons for this.
1. They Aren’t Making the Progress They Hoped
People will join a fitness club with an objective in mind. The objective of this could be shedding pounds, building muscle, or simply living a healthier life all around. Many times, they have experimented with varied forms of exercise without achieving any notable results. They cycle through individual coaching, collective classes, and trendy eating plans, and then return to the start of that pattern. It’s a common occurrence that most members encounter. Going to the gym each day with dedication, yet not seeing the effect of your hard work can be discouraging for the exerciser.
2. There Is No Sense of Community
At the start of this article, it was highlighted that the growth of boutique fitness has been rooted in the sense of community. Members nowadays count on some kind of community involvement when they go to their gym or studio. As people age and cease participating in team sports, they find the concept of belonging to a similar group that focuses on physical activity attractive. However, building a community is easier said than done. Gym proprietors have the most benevolent motives for attempting this. It requires a lot of different components to produce a community setting, but usually, the primary activities take precedence, so the effort is disregarded.
3. Members Aren’t Championed
People like to be recognized for their achievements. Especially when exercising, this holds true. Making an exertion to achieve health objectives is wonderful, yet it’s much better when one’s accomplishments are rewarded. It acts as a pick-me-up that helps to spur the participant on to accomplishment. Although it might not mean much to certain individuals, when they notice that other fitness centers are showing support for their customers on the web, they could gradually become less enthusiastic about attaining their targets.
4. The Gym Is Unorganized
The inadequate organization will cause more members to leave than anything else. It is possible that the issues may include erroneous reservation systems, inadequate structures, and machines, inefficient communication with members, or inappropriate ways of payment. Even if a gym owner is providing excellent classes, their efforts will be sabotaged if the gym is not properly managed. The fault cannot be entirely placed on the owner or the personnel either. No matter how hard they try, if insufficient structures are not implemented, the number of members departing will rapidly drop. This issue can be resolved by setting up both physical and digital frameworks.
5. The Classes Aren’t Engaging
You should have the correct classes in order to achieve success. This is the foundation of any good business. No matter the excellence of your facility or how amazing the narrative that you share with the individual, you must persuade them to register. It is undeniable that if your classes are not interesting, there is no escape. This will also be a factor that prevents the participant from meeting their fitness objectives. As the founder you may have the ability to conduct an outstanding class, however, difficulty may arise when recruiting new instructors to give the lesson.
How to Keep Gym Members Happy: Create an Inviting Atmosphere
It is essential to establish a welcoming environment when attempting to raise participation in the gym. Every interaction with a customer is of great importance to a service-based business such as a gym. What people take note of initially upon entering your fitness center is the ambiance.
1. Create a Community
People naturally feel the need to be part of a community. One simple strategy for keeping people in your gym is to develop a tight-knit group of members who feel connected and at home. It is essential to be thoughtful and deliberate in your approach, staying apprised of necessities and developments, and making room and chances for interpersonal communication.
We will discuss community-building ideas in more detail throughout this article, but keep the following areas in mind when you’re focused on health club member retention:
- Each Age Group: Teenagers connect differently than college-aged and middle-aged seniors. Consider how to maximize community engagement in each age range. Younger members may want more social media interaction, whereas older members may want face-to-face interaction.
- Each Means of Connection: Leave no stone unturned when it comes to ways to connect! Texts, phone calls, emails, social media, websites, member activities or outings, social spaces inside the gym, and more! The more avenues you provide for connection, the more opportunities you have to retain members.
2. Create Social Spaces
According to IHRSA, the majority (60%) of gym members go primarily to be with other people. Seventy percent of people who exercise at the gym and have close ties to other gym members said they spread the word about the club to others within their social circle. Talking about a product or service is far more powerful than any other type of advertisement!
Gyms should take advantage of areas that do not involve working out to promote socializing! A simple approach to this is to note the locations where individuals usually assemble and converse. Add pieces of furniture or decorations that make the area more inviting and conducive to socializing.
3. Get Feedback
Do members enjoy coming to your gym? Why or why not? Solicit feedback frequently from your members, either verbally or by means of an email questionnaire. Feedback provides insight into the mind of your customers. This prevents customer loss, as it gives customers the impression that their opinions are being taken into consideration and enables adjustments that could stop customers from leaving.
Involve your reception personnel and instructors in gathering feedback. Individuals may not feel comfortable or possess the capacity to express their views or likes to you, however, the person may have advantageous suggestions. Trainers could be aware of annoyance when a machine is continuously occupied or maybe the layout of the floor isn’t suitable for movement. Involving your personnel results in increased dedication and a feeling of ownership, which leads to more clientele being retained.
4. Improve Group Exercise Classes
Many members, regardless of age, attend group exercise classes – either out of a desire for socialization or simply to stay fit. In fact, 36% of members participate in fitness classes. Engage more members by considering the following improvements:
- Keep tabs on participants. The experience is less enjoyable if a certain class is popular and overcrowded. Consider providing additional time for overpopulated classes by cutting less popular classes.
- Regularly survey members for which classes they attend and how often. Offer potential classes that would provide additional member engagement and get feedback if members would participate.
- Offer post-class social events, such as encouraging socialization after classes either in-house or out in the community.
- Encourage participation in group classes (because group classes open doors for social connections, and social connections improve retention!) by offering an incentive like a free gym shirt or water bottle after completion of a set of group classes.
5. Improve Gym Floor Experience
As previously noted, when gyms are overcrowded, particularly during the busiest times, it can be discouraging to members and lead them to abandon their workouts, resulting in a decline in retained members. Monitor the performance of each device and consider exchanging less used machines with devices that are more prevalent.
For instance, the leg press equipment may not be as sought-after (or with as long of a waiting time) as the running machines. Replacing some of the leg machines with treadmills should lead to more pleased clients and an increase in recurring patronage.
Make a point of ensuring that all apparatus is thoroughly disinfected and consistently inspected for security. Maintain the bathrooms, showers, locker rooms, and other amenities to be in an orderly and functional state. Fix or swap out damaged items or machinery right away so that a customer’s experience is not disrupted.
There is no question that the fitness sector is moving to provide a more premium experience for its customers than what is found in traditional big-box fitness centers. As people with higher incomes give more importance to their health and well-being, they have an array of choices available to them. The gym proprietor has to guarantee that clients have the best possible involvement to keep them coming back.