Retention Tool-kit.


Runner

Inviting lapsed or cancelled members back for another go – member retrieval – can bring in a few extra bucks.  But if that member receives the same old service they were getting before they quit, you are likely to get the same result.  If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got.

The same goes for members too.  If they return to the club with the same approach they had before, then they are likely to trip over the same old problems that caused them to lapse in the first place.  If they have the same workload, the same childcare problems, the same level of motivation then there is likely to be only one outcome.

Although the member is ultimately responsible for their lifestyle change it is important that we make the transition as smooth as possible.  The first three months are tough times for new exercisers but we, “the experts”, should already be wise to the problems that they face. We should already be doing everything we can to make their life easier.

Your retention toolkit could include some of the simple tips outlined below.

1. As they leave the gym, ask the member when you will be seeing them next.

Most people do not plan their workouts in advance and consequently rely on spare time becoming available.  Trouble is, for most of us there is no such thing as spare time.  In order to simplify our lives we tend to fill our days with the same habits and routines we always have done.  There is often no room for exercise unless it has become a habit (Great!  But rare.) or unless we plan it in advance.  Prompting members to think about their next visit helps to reinforce their commitment to a session, and each session helps to create an exercise habit.

2. Let members write their own programme.

Members don’t need any more reasons not to attend, so eliminating exercises that they don’t like can eliminate barriers and detonate excuses.  The member is much more likely to find a programme agreeable if they wrote it themselves.  So long as the instructor ensures that the programme is effective then everyone is happy, and happy members are less likely to quit.

3. Promote the 10-Minute rule.

We all have days when we just don’t feel like doing a workout.  Some of us go home; some of us go to the gym anyway.  Usually, within a few minutes we are enjoying our workout and we’re glad we showed up.  Advertise the 10-Minute Workout rule to help those who feel their motivation slipping.  Turn up, do a 10-minute warm up and see how you feel.  If after 10 minutes you’re still not up for it then call it a day and head off home.  Most of the time they’ll get into the swing of things, do a full workout and feel rather pleased with themselves for doing so.  Less missed workouts helps build a stronger exercise habit.

4. Make sure they carry their membership card.

Our lifestyles are so complicated and involved that it is no wonder that members forget to plan their exercise and activity sessions.  Our old routines take over and before we know it we have another week of poor gym attendance.  This is no way to build a habit.  If only our members could be prompted in some way.  Maybe something they can keep in their wallet for them to see every day.  If you use Tesco, you may have noticed how many people carry their loyalty card on their keyring – thousands!  Multiply that nationwide and you have millions.  I can think of worse business role models than Tesco, can’t you?

5. Set SMART goals.

How can we deliver a good service if the member is unsure of what they want to achieve?  The bog standard goal that every member recites is “get fit, tone up, lose weight” but these terms are ambiguous and often mean different things to different members.  Make sure your instructors set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic,  and Time-framed. If a member can then measure their progress and see the results clearly then they are more likely to stick with it.

6. Use the One-Set-Max principle.

Although the jury is still out for seasoned exercisers, new exercisers can make great progress with just one set. Who cares if they could make little more progress if they did three?  We know that long arduous workouts lead to drop-out, so let’s avoid that.

7. Reward good attendance.

Stop spending money on incentives for new members and start rewarding the ones you have.  Run a league table of top attendees and reward the ones at the top.  T-shirts and water bottles should be for loyal members instead of bribes for Johnny-come-latelys.  Recognition and reward is a big part of building a habit.

Published: Fitpro Business.

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~ by Tony's Desk on June 29, 2009.

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