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Customer Service: The End All, Be All


In the past, new member sales were the driving force behind marketing strategies for the health club industry. Owners/Operators focused predominantly on expanding the membership base and reaching those potential prospects.

However, in today’s highly competitive market, growth and vitality goes far beyond new member recruitment. In this new environment, total member satisfaction is key.

Let’s take a look at three vital membership categories within each fitness facility: the new join (0-6 months), the recently joined (6 months – 2 years) and the loyal member (2 plus years).

New Joins. For the amount of time and money spent recruiting a new member, the attrition rate is rather high. What are we doing wrong?

We need to ensure that each member’s individual health and wellness needs are being met. We accomplish this by offering complimentary fitness assessments with a Health Coach and scheduling (and following through with) in depth facility and equipment orientations. This will not only acclimate new members to the unique environment of your facility but enable them to utilize the equipment safely and effectively, thus reaching their health and wellness goals faster.

Within those first 3 months, each new member should also receive a complimentary appointment with a certified fitness professional. Have a member that is overly introverted? Offer to take a group fitness class with them. Share in the experience. It will show your members that you care.

Recently Joined. After a new member has had time to meet with your team, settle into a routine, try a few classes and participate in wellness seminars, it’s time to ask them a very important question: Are we delivering on our promise to provide you with the resources you need to meet your health and wellness goals?

How do we do this? Motivation through open communication. We stay in contact with our members. Whether it’s via social media – a Facebook status that informs them of a new class, schedule change, or program offering – email marketing or virtual newsletter, it’s important to keep members “in the know.”  This allows for increased engagement and ownership which leads toward member satisfaction, retention and referrals.

Loyal Members. This falls back to the Pareto principle also known as the 80/20 rule. From a business standpoint, the rule states that, in any given situation, 80 percent of your sales come from 20 percent of your clients. This is especially true for the fitness industry. While a loyal member is less likely to leave your facility, there is always that missed opportunity. Your program offerings aren’t on point with current trends, a veteran trainer with a large following retires, their work/life situation changes or you really just dropped the ball on making them feel appreciated. The loss of a loyal member is more detrimental to your bottom line and organizational culture than the loss of a handful of new recruits.

For this reason, it is important to recognize the regulars. Offer five, ten, or fifteen year anniversary gifts such as a complimentary month of membership, a free massage with your on-staff therapist, or a personal training package. Host member appreciation days. Send ‘Thank You Cards’.

Remember, member acquisition goes far beyond the point of sale and member satisfaction is a combination of daily efforts done correctly over and over and over again.


Gavin Reath

Gavin Reath is a personal training director for Meridian Fitness & Wellness.

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