Monday, 6 April 2020

Who you gonna call? Gym Owner Monthly Article

The phone has become such a vital part of our lives, we sometimes need reminding where it started. Your members might have an app (or several) that track their fitness, enable them to book classes, stay in touch with their PT, or receive a reminder about their next appointment. But did you know you can also make and receive phone calls?

Despite privacy concerns and worries over app addiction, the fitness industry is racing along on the wave of social media and internet, particularly for sales and marketing, but also for member engagement. In September 2017, the average person scrolled through 300 feet of social feed per day [socialmediaweek], which is the same size as the Statue of Liberty. (The article talks about engagement in a faster flowing social stream). I’m a big fan of technology, and have published some compelling case studies showing the positive effect of apps and software on member retention. But I want to show you that we shouldn’t forget the old methods too.

I encourage you to take a step back and make phone calls to your members. Phone conversations are like hugs; there are not enough of them these days. We rely on email, messages, or push notifications, which have their place, but they just don’t have the same effect as a phone conversation, or even a well-intended, succinct voicemail.

In the same way that a postcard or letter can have a bigger effect due to its rarity, a phone call will stand out. It takes time and effort but is worth it for the return. The wow factor of a call will be appreciated as great customer service, and shared with family and friends.

Sometimes members won’t answer because they don’t recognise your number (and sometimes because they do!), but you can leave a message, and show that you’ve reached out to them personally. If the first time you call a member is about being absent, a missed payment, or cancellation, it’s going to be a more difficult call. So, put in the groundwork now, and you’ll reduce the chance of making those difficult calls in future! When a member joins, you might want to tell them they’ll be getting a 7-day call so they’re expecting it.

Start with why

Before you start to dial, think about why you’re calling the member. What are they going to get out of it? How will you make them feel more motivated after the call, and what will they tell their friends? You need to make the call positive and think about giving rather than getting… after all, the person you’re about to speak with is paying your wages (even if they’re absent or about to leave). Give them some of that amazing customer service we were talking about last month!

7-day call

Many organisations claim to make the new member welcome call at 7-days, or sometimes in the first few weeks. Very few do it well, or consistently, and that’s a great loss. As a gym owner, you must call your new members in the first couple of weeks as a common courtesy.
Thank them for joining, ask how they’re getting on, have they had an induction/booked a class/downloaded your app. Check their expectations are being met (or exceeded), talk about their goals and the staff and members they’ve met so far.
If there are any issues, establish how you can sort them out. Make a note to call them back to check the issue has been resolved. If the conversation’s going well, ask when they’re bringing a friend, or check they don’t want to cancel.

Absentee calls

Some people still advocate not waking sleeping members because they might cancel. They are wrong. The trick is to call members who are recently absent, rather than those who’ve not visited for years. We offer member communications services to message absentees, but phone calls are by far the best way to get them back. A small percentage of absentees will cancel, but the rest always appreciate the call.
In recent analysis of over 1,500 absentee gym calls we found the word ‘back’ mentioned in 76% of calls, ‘busy’ and ‘thanks’ was said in 53%, ‘soon’ 34%, and ‘away’ 31%. There’s a big drop off, and lots more common comments before you get to ‘suspension’ at 11%.


Let’s bust another myth; not all members who want to leave hate you. Some can be saved, but if you don’t call them, you’re unlikely to save them. Calling cancellations gives you the chance to get the member back, or at the very least, get some feedback that you might use to save a member next month. Try to make time to call them all; the more you call, the more you’ll learn, and you’ll get the chance to save more members.

If you’re leaving a message, use a checklist to make sure you’re concise, mention all the relevant points, and give them a number to call back (preferably the number you’re calling from), so you can have the conversation. Follow-up with an email or SMS if it’s a critical call.

Who’s gonna make the call?

Finally, who is the best person to make each call? Should the 7-day call be made by reception or the salesperson, or is the instructor best placed? It depends on your club, but the best person is the one most likely to actually do it. Which is often you, the gym owner.

So, don’t be a stranger, or allow your members to become ghosts. Pick up the phone, make the call, and really get in touch with your members today.

This article was originally published in the April 2020 issue of Gym Owner Monthly.
Book a free coaching call (normally £75) with Guy at during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Fitness Business Survival & Minimising Cancellations

The global fitness industry has taken a massive hit from COVID-19. But health and fitness are now trending keywords, and everyone is talking about being more active, from Boris Johnson to Joe Wicks. If you’re ready, being a gym owner or personal trainer is about to become the new astronaut - one of the best jobs ever!

Gyms have had to close their doors, but the transition to online digital solutions is incredible. The industry was slowly heading in this direction, but now our hand has been forced, and we’re adapting quickly to change. At the same time as adopting tech solutions, we also need to keep a positive mindset, be more kind, and talk more.

Membership sales focus is out of the window. Now is the time to work harder than ever on your member retention. Here are 3 tips for fitness business survival and coming out the other side fighting fit with as many members as possible.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

EGYM Webinar - Member Retention in Times of Crisis

This is a version of the webinar comissioned by eGym broadcast on 25th and 31st March. We discuss keeping members engaged through digital and traditional channels, with apps, challenges, and phone calls, email and sms. Also maintaining staff engagement - do they need a sense of purpose, or want to help with club comms. Finally, how to manage membership subscriptions, and minimise cancellations.

Friday, 20 March 2020

How to adapt your fitness challenges during Coronavirus

A lot of club-based fitness challenges aren’t feasible right now. Whether you’re in a country on lock-down, or your club is still open but practicing social distancing, you can’t reward members for attending the club or encourage them to visit more if they don’t want to. 

Here’s a handful of challenges that you can still set your members. Some will depend on your business model, systems and software. But you can adapt a lot of these, and as always, simplest is best.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Minimising Membership Cancellations at Gyms and Health Clubs

Health Clubs and Gyms across the world are facing tough times right now. Here's a bunch of ideas and pointers that might help you to minimise membership losses and make the best of a bad situation.

Before they try to cancel...

  • Tell them what you're doing at the club, other options you have for remote training/support/exercise (see below)
  • Any PTs to offer calls to their clients and any other members for an at-home programme, or general support chat, and book a weekly/fortnightly follow-up
  • Be proactive - reach out and appeal to your members goodwill. {e.g. Many of our members have asked how they can help us at this challenging time - if you buy a PT pack now, we'll give you extra credits (e.g. buy 10 sessions get 12)}

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Handling Membership Cancellations

To help support clubs, particularly independent gyms and studios, I recorded a 10 minute version of an adapted version of the leavers section of our Retention Bootcamp. 

I hope it helps you to show your members that you care, get some good feedback from processing leavers better, and possibly turn a few cancellations around.

Friday, 13 March 2020

LetsMove Challenge postponed to 5 October

Technogym have taken the difficult decision to postpone their Let's Move for a Better World campaign due to the restrictions in place around the world.

Let's Move is more than just a fitness challenge, it is a movement in the fight against inactivity, a community engagement campaign with clubs at the heart of the community. 2020 will be the 7th year of LetsMove, with over 500,000 people expected to take part in 1,600+ clubs across 46 countries, so we support and respect their decision to delay Let's Move until 5th October 2020.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Is Customer Service Dead? - Gym Owner Monthly Article

When people ask what I do, I usually say that I help gyms to get their members to stick around. “Ah, that’s a big problem” they say, “what’s the secret?” Customer Service is my quick answer, at which point they often tell me a horror story of bad customer service, sometimes at a gym, other times completely unrelated to fitness.

Studies show that a satisfied customer will tell 2-3 people about their experience. A dissatisfied member will share their story with 8-10 people, and some will push that number to twenty.

With the advent of low-cost gyms, customer service has all but died across the fitness industry.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Are you experienced? - Gym Owner Monthly Article

Since the advent of low-cost clubs, it has become customary to ask new joiners if they are experienced. Aside from building rapport, a big factor for this question is to see if the member needs a welcome session (induction). Whether the member is joining online or in-club, you might think it removes a barrier to joining, but it puts lot of new members at risk!

You know from all the research that members stay longer if they have a welcome session. Yet lots of clubs look for excuses not to deliver one. If you want to get your members to stick around longer, you need to eliminate these excuses, and sell the welcome session to as many members as possible. Let's translate a couple of objections:

Friday, 31 January 2020

mywellness challenge club: Love Group-X

Getting new (and existing or returning) members into the habit of visiting fitness classes is a great idea for February. There may be a few members who attend classes daily, but spot prizes, or a prize draw entry for everyone who does well can boost participation.

Be aware that this challenge only works if your members book classes through the mywellness app. If you use your front of house system instead, then you’ll have to re-think this one.