Knowledge is power, so said Sir Francis Bacon in the 1500s. This is especially true when it comes to knowledge concerning your club’s attrition and retention rates. That is because if you don’t know your members are leaving, how will you know you need to take action?
“We look at attrition and retention data monthly as a driver of our total number of members — the one metric we would want to know if we were stranded on an island, with no other available information about how the business is doing,” said Debbie Lee, the director of marketing for Gainesville Health and Fitness (GHF) in Gainesville, Florida.
That is why GHF tracks its retention and attrition rates using the club’s proprietary club management software called the Facility Management System. “It’s easily accessible, accurate and fast, compared to manual data,” said Lee.
According to Lee, tracking this information is so important because it allows the club to identify a problem (high attrition), and then provide a solution. If GHF notices its attrition rates are rising, Lee explained the first step is to pinpoint whether or not there’s a specific group the club is losing members from.
“We look at attrition by groups, such as age, gender, club locations, zip code, type of membership and participation in personal training,” Lee explained. “Attrition segmentation allows us to identify the problem group for a tailored solution. Our next phase is to look at attrition in the following groups — members who bring guests to visit and guests that join, members in CrossFit, Pilates, small group training and members who use our kid’s clubs.”
According to Lee, the Facility Management System also allows GHF to look ahead, before the issue of attrition has even arisen. “We also run reports to proactively identify potential attrition,” explained Lee. “We know that if members are not using the gym, there’s a greater chance of attrition.”
That is why GHF tracks the number of visits a member takes to the gym over the course of each month. “Our goal is to get the non-users back in the gym, getting results and getting healthy, and staying a member,” said Lee.
Another useful factor in helping counteract attrition has been the use of Medallia, a survey tool used to measure customer engagement. “The significance of this practice in our business is that it allows us to find solutions to our members’ most important issues,” said Lee. “We believe this will result in higher retention and lower attrition. The members feel they have a voice, we listen and we respond — a differentiator for our business.”
Bottom line: Don’t be passive in assessing your attrition rates. Track your attrition and retention rates on a monthly basis, and pinpoint which specific groups you’re losing members from. Use the power of knowledge to better your business and solidify its future success.
By Rachel Zabonick