Monday, 11 July 2011

Programming for Retention

The exercise programme review is a key part of most clubs’ member journey or retention strategy. Despite this, very few reviews are being completed, which leads to poor member retention. One of our strategies is to offer every member a programme review, when they want it, but allow them to defer it.

A couple of award-winning clubs I know pride themselves on their exercise programme renewal, but analysis showed that over 70% of members’ programmes had expired at both.
Some clubs still ‘mandate’ a review every 8-12 weeks to avoid exercise plateau, maintain motivation, etc. A 1,000 member club doing reviews every 10 weeks will require 3 full-time instructors working constantly on reviews!

  • Firstly, we recommend talking to members about a “review” rather than exercise programme renewal. A review should talk about wants, goals, and preferences and lead on to exercise programming.
  • Next, have a system to track reviews due, done, and deferred. You should know how many reviews were offered and carried out last month, and how many will be due next month.
  • Finally, let’s talk about timescales. At a 1,000 member club, your staff should be doing 150-300 reviews per month, assuming members want a programme review on average every 3-6 months.

Make it easier on yourselves and more engaging for the member by asking when they would like their next review. Write down guidelines, such as no longer than a year between offering a review. For members that “don’t know”, suggest your ‘standard’ period, but let them choose if that feels right for them. This way, when the review comes around, the member will acknowledge it’s their choice, and are more likely to go through with it.

In a study last year of around 1,200 members who were offered reviews in one month, we saw 20% take up the review, and 80% defer the review date. Overall attendance for all 1,200 members increased from less than 1 visit per week to almost 2 visits per week. This year those clubs offer around 500 reviews per month, with a take-up rate of around 80%, and only 20% deferring. The effect of offering the review is always positive on visit frequency.

So make it easier on your staff and members by personalising the review date as much as possible. This might make it more complex for your systems, but they can handle it, and it will give you positive results.

This is an extract from Workout Magazine July 2011

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