Generally, there are three ways to drive business:
Effective fitness programming can be a great non-dues revenue stream and positively impact retention. We know from industry data that the camaraderie, accountability and relationships people establish while participating in team fitness programming is leading to more engagement and success stories. A previous Club Solutions article eloquently put that Engagement = Retention. Retention = Referrals. Referrals = Revenue. And revenue is good for the bottom line!
Here are some strategies to consider for process integration of a new or existing team fitness program.
After key leadership has fully grasped all aspects of the program, clear and concise communication should be shared with the team. This includes everybody under your employment who interacts with the customer. The better they know, the better the advertisement.
Clear expectations for participants should also be shared (e.g., level of commitment, program structure, exercise programming). The consumer should understand the level of commitment and layout of the program they are signing up for to mentally prepare. This will help with compliance.
A successful systemic integration involves commitment from the team. The people who are talking about it daily with your members (e.g., front desk, membership, fitness department) need to know the purpose of the program, why it exists, how it works, when it’s offered, and how to match the goals of the program to the goals of the member. This is key. You might even consider letting your team try the program prior to offering to members so they can get a first-hand experience participating in the program.
This can help your staff relate to what the member will experience and foster a stronger connection with the member. This also may provide useful feedback for you and the team facilitating the fitness experiences. Plus, if your staff has fun in the experience, it will be easier for them to sell the program. It’s a lot easier to sell something that you enjoyed versus something you’re unfamiliar with.
It’s not enough to simply collect data — that does absolutely no good unless something is done with it. However, if you can determine some key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate program success, also develop action plans related to those indicators.
For example, you may determine that the conversion rate and program retention are two KPIs you want to track. Excellent! What are the processes to measure and track these metrics? What systems are in place to optimize the conversion of a prospect into a paying customer? What are you doing to maximize program retention? Document the process, reflect on it, and adjust as needed.
Just like exercise, quality over quantity. As operators, we should always assume that our customers expect quality – and surpass that. Of course, the volume of paying participants is important. However, if the quality of the service is poor, the number of paying customers will inherently drop. Ensuring your product is quality from start to finish bolsters raving fans and keeps people coming back for more, which may lead to referrals.
But it’s not enough to say, “deliver quality services.” How are you measuring your program’s quality? This is where customer feedback tools such as surveys, testimonials, social media content and feedback are critical. Make this follow-up a standard component of program delivery process. Listen to your customer.
Using your team, KPIs, customer feedback tools, in addition to industry data/trends, always strive to identify opportunities for improvement. Leverage all of your available tools to comprehensively incorporate positive change. Lead the change with inspiration and clear communication.
Eddie Davila, MS, ACSM-CEP, EP-C, is co-owner/operator of Urban Fitness in Bozeman, Montana. He can be reached at email@example.com, on Instagram (@urbanfitnessmt), Facebook, LinkedIn, or visit www.urbanfitnessmt.com.