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Everyone talks about retention as the industry’s last frontier — the achilles heel if you will. Truth be told, if we could ever truly figure this monster out, watch what an impact we would have.
Trying to determine a universal way to truly look at, analyze and measure retention is the first key to success. Should you measure length of membership, aka customer life cycle? Or should you look somewhere in between, factoring out controllable or uncontrollable factors such as medical, moving, etc.?
Regardless of how or what, as long as we are consistent year over year we can make some assumptions. Yet these are just measures, or data points. What factors affect this data? What is the why behind the what?
From a quick blush of thoughts, I would wager to say three jump to the top of my mind.
1. Cleanliness. Facilities need to be clean. It’s a basic of business and one that must be attended to.
2. Friendliness. The experience members have is shaped by staff. Friendly staff make for great experiences. Remember the “Cheers” show where “everyone knows your name?” What would it be like if that really happened in your clubs, and you greeted every member by name as they entered your doors?
3. Welcoming. Along the lines of above, ever come home to your dog excited to see you? Is he jumping wildly at the door or window? How do you feel? Now imagine if the same effect happened at the club. If everyone that attended felt welcomed, why would they not want to come back? Why would they want to leave a place where they are known and welcomed? They wouldn’t.
Now are these the only factors? No, of course not, but they are the basics, the foundation, the starting point. Without these three forces in play, don’t even bother being in the retention game. But, get these three things going, and then let’s talk about what’s next.
Mark Miller is the vice president of Merritt Athletic Clubs. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.