Written by Debbie Beesley.
Stuck for ideas about how to improve member retention in your club? Here are 11 top tips for keeping your customers, collated by Retention Coach, Debbie Beesley:
Understand and report on REAL measures of retention and focus on the areas that have the greatest impact.
2. Ensure Service is What Drives Your Decisions
Put your customers and their experience of being part of your club at the heart of your business and seek to exceed expectations by delivering an exceptional customer experience in everything you do.
3. Motivate Your Team to Motivate Members
Your retention strategy should start at the top and flow down, everyone needs to be involved in creating a retention culture within your organisation and senior management should lead this by setting the example and practising what they preach.
4. Understand Your Customers and the Experience They Want
A customer-focused business MUST be actively seeking feedback from their patrons. Put in place a process to help you learn what your members are looking to get from being part of your club and plan how to deliver an experience to match, or even better exceed.
5. Identify Members Who Are ‘Struggling’
Who is most likely to leave? Find out and ask the right questions to identify solutions that meet their needs. Helping them get into the habit of regular exercise can be as simple as asking “When will you be back?”
6. Segment Your Membership Base Into Relevant Groups For Conversation and Ensure You Can Easily Identify Them When They Visit Your Club
For example, talk to members who are motivated by social interaction about the latest classes, social events or ‘train with a buddy’ schemes, and introduce members motivated by appearance to the latest weight management programme, PT or new training techniques. For each goal that members report making progress towards the risk of cancelling during the next 7 months reduces by 10%!
7. Develop a Flow of Engagement Strategies Using Multiple Contact Points Throughout the Member Lifespan
Create tailored member journeys to engage customers using a combination of in-club face to face interactions and digital channels such as email, SMS, social media and your website. Make sure you focus on sharing timely, relevant information that will add value to that specific member group, not just selling! Remind them of why they need you to achieve their goals and keep them wanting to come back into your facility for more – making at least 1 visit in a given month reduces the risk of cancelling in the next by 20%.
8. Make Sure Your Teams are Talking to Members When They Visit
Compared to members who say they are always spoken to by reception staff, members who are never spoken to cancel at a rate 2.8 times higher, equating to an extra 21 cancelled memberships each month for every 1,000 members. If you can start to get members to verbally commit to their next visit that can be really powerful, but even just a smile and hello is a step in the right direction. Talk to your teams about the value of customer interactions and make them a vital part of their job role which they are measured and rewarded on.
9. Help Members Make Friends
According to our research, conducted in partnership with Dr Melvyn Hillsdon; compared to members who do not make a friend, those who do are 40% less likely to cancel their membership. Think about how you can help your members build relationships and support each other towards their health and fitness goals. Could you set up a Facebook Group where members can chat, share tips and organise group workout sessions or even something as simple as a process for introducing members who you know are at similar stages working towards the same end goal? Group exercise is absolutely brilliant here!
10. Act Quickly on Those Annoying Operational Issues
Keep an ear to the ground so you are the first to hear about operational issues and can act upon them before they spiral out of control. Members experiencing a ‘hassle’ during a club visit have been shown to be more than twice as likely to be a negative club Detractor.
11. Make Retention a Daily Focus and Manage It!
Generally, what we measure, manage and report on gets done. If you haven’t got a plan in place, a robust way of measuring success and a management team who fully understand your ‘why’ and how to manage their teams towards it, you are setting yourself up for failure. If retention is truly important to you, it MUST sit at the TOP of your agenda.