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Managing a fitness center that is profitable, efficient and enjoyed by members is a difficult task. I have heard many people new to the industry admit that they never realized how hard it could be to make everything work well. Regardless of your business model, size of the center or location, there are some things that need to be inspected on a regular basis to ensure a successful center and provide members with a positive experience.
Run usage reports to see if people with membership issues are using the facility. Check-in software can provide notes, sounds or color codes to alert the front desk that something needs to be addressed. Train your front desk staff to monitor the check-in process, and politely approach members to resolve any issues.
Use your software to track inventory. Periodically hand count products and check against item levels in your software. Keeping an eye on your sell-through vs. inventory will shine a light on any potential shrinkage that will chip away at your profits, providing you with an opportunity to remedy the situation before it gets out of hand.
Check your time clock records against workers’ schedules to verify payroll expenditures. Look for missed or duplicate punches that may indicate discrepancies. Work with your department heads to ensure mutually agreed-upon budgets are being upheld.
Inspect all paperwork (new, cancelled, changes) to ensure accurate pricing. If online joining is an option, check that all new memberships are reviewed and posted. Are internal memos, status codes, comments and logs being inspected and updated? Are the prior day’s transactions being scrutinized for accuracy and posting?
Be sure your member charges are clearing at the maximum rate. Review your club’s process for analyzing the EFT journal for credit card expiration dates, missing information, freezes, house charges, etc. prior to sending for processing.
Proactively follow up on outstanding balances. Communicate frequently with your collection agency or billing company (if they offer this service). If you manage your own receivables, set up a process to send emails to past due accounts with a follow-up call to get the members current.
Monitor phone calls, e-mails, appointments and club tours to determine which combination of techniques provides the highest prospect closing percentage. Track referrals and marketing sources to devise a “sales success formula” for your club.
Train your staff to enter all prospects into your software, then market to and follow-up on these leads. Approach alumni periodically to either renew their memberships or provide leads. Be sure your sales team is recording areas of interest for prospects and members to gather information for targeted marketing campaigns.
Retention Team/Fitness Team
Is someone on your staff managing these important tasks?
• Performing surveys and tracking responses in your software for follow-up marketing emails. Take action to rectify potential problem areas.
• Running usage reports and contacting members whose visits have slowed. Offer free personal training visits to get low-usage members back into the club.
• Contacting members coming up for renewal. Communicate with members who may cancel to fix problems where necessary or talk them out of leaving.
• Tracking complimentary orientation visits (percentages used), personal training presentations (percentages closed) and packages (percentage renewed).
• Listening in on how the staff interacts with prospects and members to ensure they are using the scripts they have been trained to use. Secret shoppers can be a powerful tool, because your staff won’t know you are listening!
As the center manager, it is your responsibility to make sure each department head is held responsible for their domain. If inspection finds flaws (and it will), corrective actions need to be taken and inspected again to look for positive trends. If you currently do not know how to run some of the reports needed for your inspections, call your club-management software provider for help.
Most successful club managers have a “to-do” list of periodic checks on different operational areas of the club. Inspecting these areas will help you act promptly when red flags pop up. With a good system in place, any center can improve the member experience and, at the same time, boost revenue.
Len Bell is a sales associate with Twin Oaks Software. He can be contacted at 866.278.6750, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.tosd.com.