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Additional Insights from Professionals on Effective Billing and Collections

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EZFacility

One of the biggest mistakes clubs make is not making members aware of exactly how billing works, or being negligent when it comes to getting the proper forms filled out and contracts signed. This can be a big downfall at a health club. In today’s society where “the customer is always right,” protection of your business is key. In short, having proper documentation is key in order to have proof of signing and avoiding mis-communication with members.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice that we could share is ensuring you are comfortable with the software and billing service that you choose. Selecting software with bells and whistles doesn’t necessarily lead to more effective billing and collections. We recommend a club that does its homework about each potential software billing/collections provider and research thoroughly before committing.

Be aware of, and keep in touch with your members frequently. Ensure you have all of their information from the start, and update and validate this information yearly. By doing so, club owners avoid a lot of potential declines throughout the course of a client’s membership. Keeping member data organized is the best way to make sure you don’t get into A/R trouble.

Performing follow-up and billing correction calls in-house is costly (both in time and money). Having an outside agency assist can cut back on both the stress and the cost of getting delinquent members updated and paid. This takes pressure off of the club so it can focus on selling and keeping current members happy. By having a third party service that can contact past-due members and also serve as a contact point for current members to update and get basic information on their membership, a lot of time and stress that would normally fall on the club owner and staff will be eliminated.

The goal of any billing and collections program is to collect money more efficiently. Therefore, to be efficient and effective in your billing efforts, be aware and keep records up-to-date. Getting to a member right away after they’ve missed a payment or had a rejection dramatically increases your chances to receive those funds. Once members become 30 days past due or more, the collection rate on these past-due receivables drops down with each passing week. As you grow larger, realizing that you won’t collect 100 percent of past-due amounts is also important, but you can grow smarter and more effective at collecting the highest percentage possible for your facility. Placing a focus on the members immediately past due, will achieve a higher percentage of revenues retained from billing issues.

For additional Information, contact Carolina Atai, the marketing manager for EZFacility at catai@ezfacility.com or at 515.336.6536.

Volo

The biggest mistake clubs make is not implementing a membership policy or structure that is consistent with its business’ objectives. In the rush to sign up new members, owners tend to be too flexible on key terms like payments and attendance, resulting in less member accountability or commitment, higher attrition and lost revenue.

Be consistent. Develop memberships and policies, communicate and apply them as consistently as possible. By acting quickly, the club operator can avoid lost revenue resulting from missed trainings, cancellations and delinquencies. Professional, prompt action will result in an increase in retention and revenue.

Pay attention. Use the tools in your software to update attendance records, check reports and see exactly what is happening in your business. Regardless if you are using a billing company or self-billing, by utilizing the software that you have to run your business, you will be able to act in a timely manner to communicate with your members and achieve the desired result.

Focus on the critical success drivers of your business, such as acquiring new members and delivering great service to the ones that you have. Systematize your billing and collections efforts and either delegate within your organization or utilize a professional billing service to enable you to focus on what you enjoy and what will drive your business.

Attempt to get every penny that is due for delivering service. That means being very disciplined about processing payments when due and acting on missed payments promptly and professionally to minimize delinquencies, and the attrition that often results from it.
Protect yourself and your members. Implement processes that are consistent with the Payment Card Industry standards and make sure that any service providers that you use are fully certified.

Two key ways software can help with retention are by being proactive and creating engagement. Knowing which members are using different services and when they were in last enables you to be proactive in communicating the benefits of fitness and provide them with tools to keep them committed to their plan. With a member portal you can create valuable content for your members, keeping them updated while they are booking their appointments for the week. An engaged member has been proven to stay longer!

For additional Information, contact Nikki Layton at nikki@myvolo.com or at 604.638.0213.

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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