Friday, 10 December 2010

The IOU guide to retention - FitPro Business Article


At this year's Leisure Industry Week, five experts gathered for The Independent Operators Guide to Fantastic Retention Results. With Dave Wright of Creative Fitness Marketing leading the debate, the panel discussed their views about what the industry needs to be doing to improve retention standards.

RICHARD BLACKMORE – Marketing director, Fitness Industry Association
“Retention is about a consistent member experience and consistent member communication. Letting members know that we care about them and want them to succeed is absolutely crucial. This can be done in all sorts of ways – from interaction on the gym floor, to investing in new equipment and technology."

MIKE HILLS - Retention director, The Retention People
"Retaining members could be compared to holding on to water. It's not an easy process, and one that needs a lot of time and effort dedicated to it. Start by looking for the evidence of what really works. Look at the journey from when a member first signs up, right through to when they terminate their contract - the marketing, sales structure, and induction. Each stage needs to be planned carefully and the member engaged with. Add value where possible too. We overestimate how many self-motivated people are coming to our gyms and health clubs. Are you giving them any support? How many of your members would actually score you 9/10 or 10/10? You need to work on getting up to that score."

GUY GRIFFTHS - Director, GG Fit
"Use technical systems, to record as much information as possible about your members - visits, visit history, goals, etc. Communication is vital throughout the whole process, from encouraging members, to listening to their goals and aspirations, and providing them with a good journey. Remember to keep your staff happy too - if the people in control are dissatisfied, this will reflect on your members who are looking to be inspired and motivated."

INNES KERR - Operations director, énergie fitness
"If a member doesn't lose weight from going to the gym, who will they blame? There needs to be constant member communication and they need to be educated on subjects such as nutrition, so that they come to realise it takes more than exercise alone to get the desired results. When a member decides to leave, you need to spend time getting to know the real reasons. It is typical for the level of service to come down for long-term members; you put all your efforts into acquiring new members, and forget about the people already paying for your service. Offer existing members rewards for being with your club over a certain period - you can give them priority booking for classes,free PT taster sessions, multi-buy offers for sunbeds, free guest passes, or a loyalty card for retail or beauty purchases. The list is endless."

MARC JONES - Head of commercial sales, Aquaterra Leisure
"Joining fees have come down lately but you need to have confidence in your gym package and stop offering discounts. Stop trying to fix people too, but instead provide a service that facilitates change - it's the only way to increase the 12% penetration figure. Customers join and say "fix me" and so we give them a programme and tell them to do it three times a week. That's a big ask. We need to be supporting people through this huge lifestyle change. Contracts are there to tie people down, often as the only way of holding on to them (or their money). If members were given a good enough experience, gym contracts wouldn't be necessary. People continue to go to pubs even though prices are increasing. They'll save money for this pleasure, and they don't need to be tied to a contract to do so. The fitness industry needs to get to this stage. You need to be identifying customers who are at risk of leaving and then interact with them, before it's too late. Evaluate the effect your fitness team is having on retention, and empower your staff to seek out customers who need help and to take the responsibility to help them."

This is an extract from FitPro Business Magazine, Jan/Feb/Mar 2011 issue

click here for a 4 minute video of Guy's talk

1 comment:

Louisa Radice said...

Is it appropriate for gyms to have sunbeds, given what is known about the link between frequent sunbed use and skin cancer? One could even argue that they are as out of place as cigarette vending machines!