What sets top gyms apart? It’s that they know how important their members are and treat them accordingly. It’s much easier to keep a client than it is to find a new one, which is why it is so critical to increase member retention and reduce your churn rate. A successful fitness business relies heavily on the ability to keep current members happy and engaged. Your gym ownership dream will rapidly turn into a nightmare if you don’t have a good level of member retention. In this article we look at five things you can do to ensure that your members know that you value and care about them.
1. Determine what they want to achieve
You should want more than just their credit card information when new gym members sign up with you. Take the time to find out what their health and fitness goals are. You can assist them in joining the right class or finding the right personal trainer to assist them.
This creates further opportunities to connect with them when you can check in over how they are doing with their progress. It’s a way to share that you care and that you’re personally invested in their success.
2. A warm welcome
Keeping the focus on new members, this is when you need to spend time to ensure that they’re getting comfortable and settling into the gym. Staff should be trained to greet people by name and ask how they are doing rather than just throwing out an impersonal, “hello”.
This can create a sense of belonging and you may even want to encourage high fives or fist bumps in a group setting. Also make the point of using the newcomer’s name several times so that you make it easy for other members of the group to engage with them. Try to encourage interaction by sharing similarities or points of interest between group members.
The first three months are the time when someone is likely to feel the most unsettled, but that doesn’t mean you should just forget about them after that point. There still can be the need for assistance and information past that.
3. Is your gym app world class?
These days, if you don’t have a gym mobile app you may be seen as a dinosaur. People live so much on their mobile devices these days that an app can be an essential tool for member retention and happiness. However, a bad app can be worse than no app. You don’t want to use one that provides a terrible user experience or clunky interface.
Members should be able to seamlessly register or check-in for a class as well record their workouts. Many apps even provide the functionality to manage member payments for subscriptions or one-offs.
You can see that it is worth it to take the time to invest in an app that can help our fitness business flourish. Many people are intimidated by the potential cost of developing an app, but you don’t need to do it yourself. There are some great options out there that allow you to place your own branding in front of clients so that it seems like it is fully your product.
Many of the software providers for gyms offer apps out of the box, which integrates with your membership database and allows users to book themselves onto classes and PT sessions. See here for a great example.
4. Communication is key
Human beings are social creatures, which means that communication is essential in both business and social spaces.
Regularly communicate with all members, old and new, via text, email or snail mail to keep a dialogue going. This is a chance to show that you care by remarking on important dates or milestones.
It’s really impossible to overestimate the value of face-to-face communication. Try to have a coffee date at least once a month with one of your regulars to catch up and get their impression of how the gym is doing.
Your members will be more inclined to remain if you keep these channels of communication open. It’s a way of showing that you care and that you’re always available for a chat if they need one.
5. Making the connection
If people have friends at a club or destination they’re going to be less inclined to leave and go somewhere else. This is why it’s important to encourage members to get to know each other and build opportunities for natural social connections.
Gyms are often about more than just keeping fit. It’s also about lifestyle and where you choose to spend your time. In this way, you already have an advantage when it comes to trying to build community.
Your staff can go a long way to making this happen and you should make space at staff meetings (and other staff events) to discuss how coaches can act as bridges between members. Group classes are the perfect time for people to get chatting and to feel like they have gone through a shared experience together.