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The ABC’s of Management Software, Part 2


As a health club operator, you’re always striving to improve your club’s income per square foot. And a great place to start is ensuring your collections process is as smooth and efficient as possible.

According to Bob Surface, the vice president of sales for ABC Financial, improving collections starts with having a clear understanding of all things in the process that will affect your collections rate.

“Have a process that ensures club staff are collecting the most accurate information when enrolling new members,” added Surface. “And, employ a systematic approach in which you leverage automated processes to help assist club staff, to ensure members are fully aware if they have a delinquent account. Train staff on how to address declined members when they enter the club, in a manner that gets more people to pay past-due balances and update the accounts with new payment information.”

In addition, having clear reporting and alerts that help staff recognize opportunities to bring an account up to date is key, such as alerts that pop up during the check-in process. “Reports can also help identify staff members who may not be addressing members who have past-due payments,” said Surface.

According to Surface, reports that can aid in the collections process include:

  • Collection Versus Decline
  • Monthly and Yearly Attrition
  • Check-ins with Alerts
  • Declined Member
  • Declined Members Recovered
  • First Payment Declined
  • New Members Set Up Without CC or ACH Information
  • Expiring Credit Card reports to proactively address updating information before a decline occurs

In addition, Surface explained there are a variety of common mistakes clubs make when it comes to collections, including:

  • Not having a defined process to address past-due clients.
  • Not implementing multiple strategies to help assist in the collection of past-due members.
  • Relying on club staff to do timely and thorough delinquency follow-up.

An important aspect of collections is a club’s billing and collections partner. Club operators should invest in a software company that can not only limit much of the stress of the collections process, but also improve results.

According to Surface, club operators should look for a software partner that has the ability to input accurate information for new and existing members via paperless membership agreements, driver’s license readers, credit card swipes, and automated postal address verification whenever a member’s address is entered or updated.

“A great software partner has the ability to automate key reports that will assist club staff with identifying delinquent members, and allow members to provide a secondary dues payment method for times when the primary payment method declines,” explained Surface. “It should also boast a standard procedure that is consistent in automating follow-up communication, via text, email, call and mail, for example.”

Lastly, Surface explained it’s important for a software partner to make it easy for members to update information in-club, or via the club’s website, mobile app or website.

“A partner should also have the ability to draft 365 days a year and at different frequencies, such as weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.,” added Surface.

In summary, here are five ways to improve collections:

  1. Have a process that ensures club staff are collecting the most accurate information when enrolling new members.
  2. Collect a secondary payment option, for times when the primary payment method declines. Your software partner should allow this.
  3. Train staff on how to address declined members, in a manner that gets more people to pay past-due balances and update the accounts with new payment information.
  4. Utilize reports that aid in the collections process, such as Collection Versus Decline, and Monthly and Yearly Attrition.
  5. Invest in a software partner that automates the collections process, provides key reports that assist club staff, and that can draft 365 days a year and at different frequencies.

Although collections may not be a top priority for all club operators, it should be, considering the dramatic impact it can have on a club’s bottom line. Use these tips as a starting point for an improved collections process.

This article is brought to you by ABC Financial. For more information on how ABC Financial can help you improve your collections process, email Bob Surface at bob.surface@abcfinancial.com, or visit http://www.abcfinancial.com/.

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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