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Additional Insights from Professionals on Retention


blairwebClub Works

MXM/Medallia is a customer experience management (CEM) technology. It is sold and serviced by Club Works. We enable club companies to build loyalty using the world’s leading CEM technology. We can do this because we understand both CEM and health club operations. Retention is just one behavior of loyal customers. We build all of them and help you create loyal lifelong fans.

There are a few key things I’d like clubs to know about retention. The first is to think less about retaining a customer’s account and more about retaining their heart. All of your customers will cancel at some point — or their estate will. Life changes. But would they be willing to re-join? Stop thinking about how you keep a member from leaving and start thinking about how you make them want to stay. That’s what belonging is. As Peter Block said, “Belonging is the opposite of thinking that wherever I am I would be better off somewhere else.”

Second, retention is a necessary “end of relationship” reactive tactic, which is made less necessary when loyalty is your strategy. For those with grit enough to take on loyalty as strategy, you will be compelled to build it into everything — sourcing, hiring, onboarding, training and more. This is why it is so powerful. It integrates your entire operation around loyalty.

Third, kill your current cancellation process. Rebuild it to be painless, easy and to create fans of exiting members. Rename it the “Alumni Creation Process.” What can you offer? Passes? Special alumni days at the club? Information on staying active and fit? You will soon discover two things — first, if no one wants to be your alumni, you have bigger issues than cancellation. Next, if you are successful at building your alumni base, many will eventually rejoin.

We are CEM technology but I don’t think it’s the only technology you should utilize to build loyalty. Great technology can help you make better decisions. It will make sense out of mass amounts of data. Some decisions will be tactical, ongoing and day-to-day. Some will be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Some will be quarterly, annually and more strategic. Technology will let you see the unseen, make sense of chaos and bring clarity to confusion, hence better decisions.

Here is the “secret” to loyalty — it starts with new ideas and innovations that turn into actual action on your part, which causes positive feelings, feedback and compliments from customers. These turn into higher customer satisfaction scores and better loyalty, which turns into market share, reputation, profits and revenue.

Ideas and actions are the driver. But where do the right ideas come from? They come from feedback and insights that are enabled through customer experience technology.

Blair McHaney is the President of Club Works and a Medallia Institute Educator. He can be reached at blair@medallia.com or 509.630.7307.



First and foremost, retention is about engagement. Connected cardio equipment and fitness apps and devices have changed consumers’ fitness experience and clubs’ abilities to interact and engage with members. The Netpulse platform captures data from the cardio equipment (treadmills, cycling bikes, etc.) inside the facility and leading apps and devices outside the clubs into a single club-branded solution with mobile, web and cardio touch screen interaction points. Members are able to set goals, participate in club challenges and the data is automatically tracked.

Fitness data should be an integral part of the member experience and should be interconnected with existing products and services you provide to make them even more powerful. The Netpulse platform connects with rewards programs, training services, member management systems and point of sale to provide a fully integrated experience.

By 2017, the number of wearable devices in the market will be close to 170 million. This is a tremendous opportunity for clubs to have valuable tools to learn more about their members and deliver programs and services. However, clubs need a single platform to aggregate all the fitness data from inside and outside the club into a single solution, under their brand, in order to be the center of the consumer fitness lifestyle.

Technology is a great way to change the numbers game. Right now your members outnumber your staff by a tremendous ratio. Technology enables clubs to increase the number of interactions and level of personalization of each engagement. Trainers can increase the number of members they can work with and still monitor each member›s’ workouts and nutrition — encouraging success, satisfaction, loyalty and retention through personalized attention.

Technology and personalization is not nice to have — it is a need to have to be able to compete in the new landscape. Technology is really an effective tool to increasing retention. Guessing is expensive. With digital tracking and a completely integrated ecosystem, like Netpulse, clubs are better able to understand how members utilize their clubs, programs and services — taking much of the guesswork out of uncovering what members want.

Mobile is often a misused retention tool by clubs. Providing group exercise schedules is the only thing most club apps provide. Clubs should take the opportunity to have mobile be a complete digital extension of their club and be focused around fitness data, tracking and events in order to keep the member engaged and opening the app — and connecting with your brand  — on a daily basis.

Bryan Arp is the CEO of Netpulse. He can be reached at bryana@netpulse.com or 877.NETPULSE.

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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