Are you “sticky?” According to the website Investorwords.com, the definition of “stickiness” is, “The degree to which the existing use of a product or service encourages its continued use as opposed to that of a competitor.”
With this concept in mind, do you have enough “stickiness” in your club to prevent your members from going to a competitor? The first thing you have to know is who your competitor is. You need to have a good understanding of the services, facilities and pricing that they offer. Once you know your competition, you need to focus on the areas where you can add, improve or change the things that will impact your club’s “stickiness.”
Here are a few things to consider that might help you:
1. Communication: Members like to know what is going on in and around the club. Keeping regular contact with your members through email keeps them informed, interested and involved. You can let members know about special events, new programs and services, membership specials, leagues and much more. If you don’t let members know what services you have that they can be involved in, they could go somewhere else to look for it.
Today, email communication is very commonplace, and it’s something that members really appreciate and rely on in many clubs. I would suggest using email to announce club improvements, the promotion of staff and new hires. Regardless of what kind of club you operate, members like to feel that they belong, not just that they attend. Including them in exciting news makes them feel like you care. Make sure that your emails contain a way for members to easily get in touch with club staff to solve a problem or get answers about anything related to your club. Ensure that reply doesn’t take more than a day at the most.
2. Online member access: Members want to be able to manage their own account and get information quickly. Your club should have an online portal to allow members to login and easily view information, perform registrations and reservations, make purchases, pay balances, and submit account changes. This is a very important “sticky” item. As much as you might enjoy giving personal service to members, they want to help themselves when it is convenient for them — not you. A member-specific portal should include a scheduling and registration component to allow members to easily browse your programs, courts or services, and enroll or purchase. There should be an area to show members their purchasing history and usage, as well as printing it. Members will also need access to their billing account to change information. Don’t forget that renewing or upgrading memberships online is also important. All of the tasks I mention are much easier for a member to do online. Member convenience makes for “stickiness.”
3. Club website, social media and apps: Your club website should make a good impression that invites members to visit often and spend a lot of time browsing. They want to see pictures of events (especially pictures of themselves), make purchases from your online store and get helpful information. Adding a club Facebook page is a great way to communicate with members and keep them informed about club happenings and, depending on how you set it up, they can communicate with your staff and other members. Just make sure you police the account and have appropriate restrictions in place.
Club apps for your members also add to your stickiness factor. Apps give members a window into your club in a way that is different from your website and consistently reinforces your brand. Apps become a tool that members come to rely on.
4. Rewards or referral programs: If you have your members involved in a club rewards or referral program, they are less likely to think about cancelling or becoming bored. These kinds of programs not only increase “stickiness,” but also add to your club member referrals and could increase revenues if structured correctly.
Review these factors at your club and see where you can be more “sticky.” Don’t let your club fall victim to a follow-the-leader or copycat mentality — this will only lead to the possibility that your “stickiness” will become slippery and members will want to look elsewhere.
Susanne Nauseda has an Exercise Science Degree that she put to use in the industry for 10 years prior to joining Twin Oaks Software, where she has worked for the last 12 years. You can reach her at 866.278.6750 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.