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Ask the Expert on Member Onboarding: Kate Golden

Kate Golden talks member onboarding

You have questions, we have answers. This month we spoke with Kate Golden, the director of people and fitness operations at Newtown Athletic Club, about member onboarding.

Why is it important for clubs to onboard members and integrate them into the club community?

KG: When we think of the many benefits that come with properly onboarding new members, examples that immediately come to mind include lifetime loyalty, retention, increased spending, referrals and improved attendance — to name a few. But it is also about much more than that. Properly onboarding members is about living out our mission to “make lives better” and fulfilling the promise we give members that we will help them achieve their health, fitness and wellness goals.

How does NAC make members feel welcome?

KG: Our member experience team has a systematic approach to welcoming members throughout the first year of membership. We send them a welcome email within 24 hours of enrollment and then call or email at the seven, 21, 60 and 90 day marks. We also send a check-in email with a survey at six months, and again at nine months. It is also key to coordinate your membership outreach systems so new members don’t feel overwhelmed or bothered by the phone calls and emails.

Having multiple touchpoints throughout their first year of membership demonstrates you care. The more outreach you provide, the more comfortable and welcome members will feel in your facility.

How does NAC introduce members to personal training and group exercise?

KG: Our sales team introduces personal training to prospects on all tours, presenting it as an opportunity to jump-start their journey, and to meet and exceed their goals. Everybody needs a coach, and at the NAC we have the ability to ensure members find the perfect match with a trainer.

As Annemarie Sterner, the member experience manager for NAC, would say, the match making happens during a new customer’s member experience session. During this appointment, a NAC employee becomes the member’s “first friend.” They ask guided questions to get to know the member and use the information to match them to the right trainer. Then they create a week plan for the member that includes personal or group training, as well as Group X classes. When your friend recommends a place to eat or an event to attend, you normally take their recommendation. This is our thought process to engage our members into all of our services, from group fitness to paid training, depending on their needs and interests.

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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