Retention: Resolve to be Different

The New Year is here and new members, old members, resolutioners and more are swarming our clubs. So, what will this New Year bring? Likely, the same old same old. You see, like the saying, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity,” retention efforts are similar. Some in the industry just churn out the same efforts day in and day out, year after year.

This year resolve to be different, to act bolder and to experiment more. Make this year the year you impact retention once and for all. Here are some tips to help:

Actually care about the members. Don’t just sell a membership and move on to the next prospect. If you’re not sure you buy this one, answer this question: How much does it cost you to get a new member versus keeping a current one? Get to know your members, get personal. Remember that customers build relationships with people, not businesses.

Invest in retention. We allocate money for capital purchases and spend 5 percent of our revenue on marketing for new members. But what investments do we make in retention? Could you allocate 2 to 3 percent for T-shirts, fun games, member appreciation events or thank you gifts? Why do the new members get T-shirts and bags for joining, but existing members who have been there for years have to cough up referrals for free swag?

Grow your team. The more your team lives a culture of purpose, service and gratitude, the better the impact. Teach them to make the member’s day, to make a difference, to own their club. Give them freedom to do things and not fear making mistakes. Empower them to impact the member’s journey, to create that great experience and watch them grow.

Lastly, change yourself. By that I mean change your mindset, beliefs and habits. Don’t operate the same way you did years ago. It’s a new world. Let’s go make a difference.

  Mark Miller is the vice president of Merritt Athletic Clubs. For more information, he can be reached at mmiller@merrittclubs.com.

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