Weights, cardio machines, cable crossovers, and squat racks. Add the smell of sweat and disinfecting solution. And you have everything a person thinks of when they picture the gym.
Here is a phrase that doesn’t come to mind: retention strategy.
But if you want your gym to stay open these two words must always be on your mind. If you want to stay in the black, this matter needs all your attention and more, it is that important.
Stick around for 8 ways to stop spending so much on new customers and invest in the ones you have.
New Customers are Expensive
The oldest rule of business states, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Owners and managers forget the second oldest rule much faster. Finding a new customer costs much more than keeping a current one.
Many books exist on the why of this topic. Instead, this article will focus on what to do to keep them.
Get Cozy with Information Technologies
Phones tell people everything now. They are calendars, alarm clocks, and post-it notes. What’s more, they connect people to the world around them. Use them to your advantage
You Need an App to Provide a Personal Experience.
You can’t avoid this fact anymore. Your gym needs a free app. It isn’t just an App, but client retention software.
It’s fine to have In-app purchases available. But if you don’t have an app at all, you are begging to have your members taken by someone else.
Think of it this way. People electronically sign in at your gym. But every time a customer misses the gym for 14 days you, the manager, get an alert to call them.
You would spend your whole day calling members who hadn’t been in lately. Absolute bonus points on the personal touch, but not a very good use of time or money.
Instead, your app does the work for you. Your IT personnel sets the app to deliver personalized reminders every 7 days they miss at the gym.
Your customer now feels remembered and important. They go from being a number paying you money to being a valued member. Also, let customers know you missed them if they haven’t been in for a week or more.
Try to meet with each member at least every other month. When a person first joins your club, your retention strategy begins.
Sit down with them for an extra ten minutes. Don’t show them the weight machines and give them a tour, yet. Get to know them.
Learn a new name every time you work a shift and have your workers do the same.
More important, learn their goals and take down their stats. Take weight and measurements. Every two months, set up your app to remind people to update their progress and goals.
Nothing gets people fired up like healthy competition. Let people make teams of up to 10 people and hold each other accountable. If they cannot find a team on their own, help them find one.
What is the goal? Make it the greatest percentage of lost weight. Or try the highest percent of days worked out. You could even make it the biggest increase in one rep max on five exercises.
The only limit to the types of competitions is your own imagination.
Yes, reward people just for showing up. They receive three points every time they work out. Customers use those points like money.
Suppose at 450 points they get a free month at the gym. For someone who works out every day, they could get two free months a year.
Yes, you will lose a tiny amount of money those two months. But they will keep paying you for the other ten months year after year. A small change like this puts your retention strategy to work for you.
More Retention Strategies
How much time do you spend reading about the latest workout fad? True, some fads come and go, but some stick around. The people who chase fads don’t make a huge percentage of your clientele, but they do exist.
Be the first gym in the area to offer newer types of classes. Advertise them both to your members and newcomers.
It is truly unfortunate how many companies ignore complaints or see them as annoyances.
Memorize this phrase: Complaints are your platinum mine, treat them as such! This phrase is as important as your retention strategy!
How you handle complaints will determine your success. If you make people feel like you heard them, they will stick with you. If you make them feel like their complaint brought change, they will be loyal to you alone.
What’s more, the cheaper gym across town won’t be able to buy them from you. Not when you have their loyalty.
This issue is a tough one. First, you have to train yourself to treat your staff like you want them to treat customers. Second, you need to train them to do the same.
Always lead by example. Don’t let customers always see five or more staff members “manning” the front desk. And never let your staff be idly playing on their phones.
Customers see this and make all the worst assumptions. Even worse is to let this go on when there is plenty to do out on the floor or in the locker rooms.
Discounts for Off Peak Hours
Everyone knows what a hassle working out can be. It’s even worse if you have to wait 5-30 minutes just to use one piece or equipment.
This retention strategy may not be necessary all year long. Use it only as needed.
Try offering customers small discounts to workout at slower times. Midday, later evening or early morning are usually slower times at the gym.
Make Your Gym a Success
Remember, new customers cost much more than current customers do. If nothing else, make sure you contact customers who left to find out why. You can’t always bring them back, but you can prevent repeats of the same problem.
Your gym doesn’t have to be one that flounders with no real growth. Aim high with your retention strategy and keep it above 90%.
Above all, make sure your customers feel like you heard their voice. For more software services look into all the features and benefits of mygymsoftware.com.