It’s far easier to retain a member than to constantly try to find new ones. If this is a simple concept, why do a lot of places suffer from poor retention numbers? There are various reasons and we won’t go into why you’re losing members — instead let’s focus on how you can keep them.
You as the manager/owner have a responsibility to your members day in and day out. They need to know you that you know who they are. Something as simple as calling a member by their name goes a long way with customer service. With the explosion of boutique/specialty gyms that offer essentially the same thing, you have to stand out through your customer service.
I know this can be a daunting task when you’re talking about thousands of members, but you need to at least make an effort. A simple idea is to simply get out of your office. Whatever you’re doing can wait five minutes while you walk the floor connecting with members. Get your staff in the habit of doing this as well. It will pay off tremendously.
Gyms have become social hangouts too. People get together to get fit, but also catch up with friends. Why not leverage this idea and get your members to connect with each other? While conversing with a member, try introducing them to another member. Maybe try to find some common ground. I was talking to a member one day about the Philadelphia Eagles making it to the Super Bowl when I remembered that another member in the gym was also from Philly. After a quick introduction they began chatting for about 20 minutes together. Now every time they’re in the gym together they always talk to each other.
People like the idea of being a part of something. It goes back to our hierarchy of needs. If members feel like they are just another spoke in the wheel, it’s only a matter of time before they leave.
Lastly, analyze your staff. If they aren’t delivering a quality experience to your members you’ll have to step in and correct this. In order to do this you’ll have to observe them, talk to their clients, and talk to other members in the gym (preferably ones you trust will give you honest feedback).
Best of luck in 2018.
Don Suarez is the manager of The HitFit Gym. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.