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Broken Equipment Can Help Member Retention

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member retention

Member retention is one of the primary focuses of all gyms and fitness clubs. The average gym experiences a turnover rate that is up to five times as high as the average membership-based business across all industries, which makes retention an extremely pressing concern.

The most direct way to deal with this is working to increase member satisfaction. While many gym operators have traditionally addressed customer satisfaction as a rather static figure that is only influenced by the choice of fitness equipment and programming, it is much more dynamic than that.

A member’s perception of their experience needs to be accounted for at all times, especially in interactions with the staff. Staff need to be aware a customer’s perception of the gym may be significantly different than their own, and work to understand why the differences exist.

In many situations, these differences in perception can be proactively dealt with and avoided by increasing a member’s access to information about the gym, equipment, and equipment repair response and schedules. Operators cannot assume members don’t care about the details. The details are often the difference between a satisfied member and one who doesn’t want to renew.

Staff should also be trained in conflict resolution and empowered with tools that allow them to address problems without having to pass a complaint on to a manager or owner. Staff members don’t need to be trained to actually fix malfunctioning machines, plumbing failures or other problems in the gym. They simply need to show the customer they understand the problem and their concerns, while initiating the process for the appropriate repairmen to fix what’s broken.

When problems are dealt with in this way, customer satisfaction will increase. When satisfaction increases, membership renewal increases. While there are many complicated aspects of operating a gym, this small slice of member retention doesn’t need to be difficult. Clubs can implement a strategy that includes an equipment management system, staff response vocabulary and an attunement to members’ perception of quality at the location.

These efforts should take no more than 10 hours a year and help average sized establishments retain roughly 150 members per year.

Russ Hosea MBA, PMP is the chief revenue officer at FitnessEMS. He can be reached at rhosea@fitnessems.com or visit fitnessems.com for more information.

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