Gym cancellation policies vary across the board. Some gyms allow members to cancel online while others require an in-person conversation or mailed request. Regardless of the current approach, gym cancellation policies are undergoing increased scrutiny as consumers have come to expect a frictionless experience.
Here, fitness experts share their philosophies regarding gym cancellation policies and how they’ve evolved over the years.
Robert Creech, the president of DAC Fitness:
We allow members to cancel online, in-person and/or send notification via mail. We want to make it as easy as possible for our members to cancel their memberships with us. Oddly enough and statistically speaking, most of our members still cancel via mail, followed by in-person and online cancellations. We thought the online cancellation method would be the most used [avenue], but it isn’t. We have offered that method for years and it’s the method we, as an organization, push the most. I think the main thing from a customer service standpoint is having multiple options to which then the member can choose which is easiest for them.
Post-pandemic our member demographic has become younger, but our average age still sits at 37. This is still young enough where we thought the majority of our cancels would come from the online method or at least mirror our online join percentage, which is approximately 30%, but it’s just not the case.
One thing I am happy about is the customer complaints about our cancellation procedures have essentially gone away. And our MXM scores are very high in the ease of cancellation category. This was the main purpose for offering multiple methods of cancellation.
Trey Moser, the COO of Crunch Fitness:
Ease of exit should be just as easy as ease of entry. Eliminate the barrier of exit just like we would do in eliminating the barrier of entry. Canceling a membership should have one step — one signature — acknowledging the cancellation, and [allow the customer to] pay the early penalty/cancelation fee they agreed to in their membership agreement. Cancellation fees should be less than $100. The likelihood of a member rejoining all depends on how challenging it was to leave.
Amber Martinez, the COO of POUND Rockout. Workout:
I grew up believing and enforcing a cancellation policy that required members to speak with a qualified member on my team. The belief system here is if we get a chance to speak with the canceling member, we get to work through their challenges together. We get to reset their goals and expectations and ensure they have a solid plan to achieve the goals they walked in with, or potentially add new goals. If we don’t take the time to connect with you upon exiting, that demonstrates we don’t really care. We just wanted the sale and that has never been the kind of business I run. We also implemented cancellation audits and follow up tactics to engage those who chose to stay and those who didn’t. Map out unique journeys to leverage this exit as an opportunity to prove ourselves and to the member that you belong with us and that we’ve got your back.
Fast forward, we are in a different environment today. People are turned off by processes that consume their valuable time. Consumers want and expect things to be easy, managed at the click of a button. Anything other than that fuels a negative customer experience. The reality is this: Once a member is coming into cancel, it’s late in the game to deploy.
*Answers have been edited for clarity.
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