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Retaining customers at a fitness club is more important than ever. As a manager or owner, we are seeing greater competition appear all around our clubs in a variety of forms. Long-time customers can quickly become defectors if we don’t have suitable retention activity to hold onto them.
One of your secret weapons may be closer than you think. Do you have any Retention Rock Stars? These are those employees who through personality and possibly training are fabulous at dealing with customers. Sure, we have people who work for us who are great at dealing with customers, but they are not in the same league as a Rock Star.
What makes a Rock Star so different? They have the ability to bring together customers like followers. They come up with ideas that most managers wouldn’t even think of. By this I mean they get people going crazy — even the customers who rarely step out of the shadows. These employees are your Retention Rock Stars and you may not even know that they are one of your greatest assets. Being Rock Stars, they can pull customers and non-customers together almost like a fan club. Whatever they do (given the freedom), there is always a great uptake.
These Rock Stars need to be carefully managed with a soft touch, as sometimes they can cross the line. They need to be given space and freedom to work their magic and they can produce amazing results. You will also need to ensure that you look after these people, because their interactions at the club will make them sought after by other business owners.
There is no easy way to define the qualities the Rock Stars posses. In many cases, they somehow appear in your business and you realize just how good they are. They can bring different skills and approach things in a variety of ways, but they get the same result — a buzz. This buzz is people talking about them (in a good way) and it can include following them or coming together because of what they do. All of these things can help your retention.
As a leader, you can look for certain personal traits in the interview process with new recruits. You can train or coach certain employees who you think stand out from the crowd. Sometimes you just need to be able to spot a star and then nurture them and watch them grow in confidence. Once they hit that Retention Rock Star status, make sure to keep them close and support them. Just like real Rock Stars, they can easily fade away or go and smash up their equipment. Your job as manager is to keep them honest and keep them producing results.
When you do get a Retention Rock Star you will definitely be tested in many ways as a manager. You just need to be able to let go sometimes even when your gut feeling says no. Get it right and you have a walking, talking retention machine, but get it wrong and it could end disastrously. Have you got any Retention Rock Stars in the making?
Paul Conway is the owner of Crown Fitness and is also a consultant with Retentionetix, which is a consultancy that assists gyms in improving the retention of customers. He can be contacted at email@example.com.