Written by Mark Lewis, James Charles, and Julie Allen.
Here at TRP, we provide more than just great software to our lovely customers. Through our experienced and knowledgeable Customer Engagement Coaches, we form valuable partnerships with operators, becoming their trusted advisors in all things customer experience, loyalty, and retention.
In this article, we are going to share with you 2 of the key elements of the member experience our Customer Engagement Coaches focus on with the operators they work with. These 2 powerful actions you can take in your club have been shown, by research, to have a significant effect on member retention and loyalty.
1. Get Your Members Attending Twice Per Week!
Members who attend at least twice per week are 40% less likely to cancel.
Increasing attendance is all about changing behaviours and creating habit.
The best time to start doing this is at the point a member joins your club, with an onboarding journey which guides them through their formative months and builds that visit habit whilst they are still finding their feet.
In terms of keeping that going, the most powerful thing you can do is keep talking to your members, both when they are in and when they are away from your club.
Almost 9 in 10 members say they value fitness staff speaking to them. Something as simple as building rapport with a member through conversation on the gym-floor will encourage regular visits. As they become more comfortable in their surroundings and start to form relationships with staff and fellow members the pull to come in and spend time in their community will become stronger and stronger.
The more frequently a member visits, the more likely they are to report achieving their goals, and members who report achieving their goals see a 10% reduction in likeliness to cancel in the following 7-month period. If you don’t have one already, put in place a process for capturing members’ goals and regularly review their progress towards them. Provide advice and motivation along the way, to keep them engaged and regularly visiting, and celebrate with them when they reach milestones.
Here is a heart-warming example of some feedback received by our friends over at Blackpool Council from one of their members about a motivational interaction they had with one of the Blackpool Council team:
“I gave my score due to the help I receive from John Chew. I was struggling and lacking with confidence, felt like giving up, I asked for help and I’m starting to gain confidence and see results but couldn’t have done it without the support from John.”
How rewarding is it to hear that! This is why we do what we do, right?
Make sure your team know that interacting with members is an important part of their role and give them the tools, support, and training they need to make it happen. If it isn’t already written into their job description and managed and measured, it really should be. Afterall, what gets measured gets done!
2. Infect Them with the Group Exercise Bug!
Members who attend group exercise are 26% less likely to cancel.
Members whose weekly routine consists of just one gym workout and one group exercise class are 20% more likely to be a Promoter than those members who just use the gym but do so at least 3 times per week.
Consult with those members not currently taking part in group exercise to find out what types of sessions they would like to get involved in. Your group exercise programme should be designed to appeal to the various demographics which make up your membership base.
Group exercise doesn’t have to be HIIT! No matter how well you manage to position a high-intensity class and its benefits, there are just some members that this type of session will never appeal to. For this segment of your membership base, are you offering things such as aqua aerobics, yoga, or Pilates? Could you package this up into some kind of ‘Relax and Unwind’ experience – a yoga session followed by a well-deserved sauna, for example. Members who make a friend in their club are 40% less likely to cancel and for the majority group exercise is a social pursuit, often more about the ‘group’ than the ‘exercise’. How can you facilitate this to ensure it is taking place in your facility, not elsewhere?
Outside of the studio environment, could you put on small group sessions using the functional fitness rig on the gym-floor? Again, rethink the traditional image of static bikes in a studio being the only definition of group exercise. Break down the barriers and bring group exercise directly to those gym-only members by integrating it into an environment they are already comfortable in. As the session is taking place in the open, they will get the opportunity to see what they can expect before they make the leap and get involved; if it looks awesome, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) will set in and they will just have to book onto the next session! If an instructor has excess capacity, they could even walk-the-floor in the 10 minutes before the start of the session to see if they can tempt anyone who is there for a workout anyway to join in and those members may catch the bug too!