Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Member Journey - how to keep your members on track

A member journey is for life, not just for the induction. Research shows that the induction is a major factor in retention, but the ongoing journey is also critical.

Many consider the journey to be the induction process, or first 6-12 weeks after joining. When considering your member journey, you should start from the day a prospect first makes contact and plan right through to what happens after the member leaves. If you like, split it into stages, but take in the whole membership lifetime.

Have a few standard new member journeys, for example based on previous workout experience; ‘brand new gym user’, ‘new experienced member’, and ‘returning member’. Each journey should have a number of contact points or milestones to check the member’s progress. Check the member is coming as many times a week as they pledged to and support them with their goals. Think from your members’ viewpoint when planning your member journeys.

It’s more important to ask your member what kind of journey they would like as they join or renew their membership. Building a bespoke journey around the member (or adapting one of your standard journeys) will help their buy-in and show your commitment to helping them toward their fitness goals. Some new members won’t know what they want; ask if they want to choose the standard journey, and they will generally be happy.

Your ongoing journey may also differ for different members, based on membership type, for instance. A common milestone for ongoing members is the exercise programme review. The standard 8-12 week programme review does not work for everyone, but is a good contact point, and you should adjust the timeframe for your average member. Rather than an exercise programme review, try a general review, and again, ask each member when they would next like to check their progress, review their goals, and perhaps modify their exercise programme. Getting their buy-in to the process and tailoring it to them will help them agree to the review, and help to motivate them.

Finally, know where members can drop out of the journey, and plan to catch them, or get them back on track. At any point in time you should be able to say where the majority of your members are on the journey; if you can’t, then you need to redefine the journey. Start with your new and returning members, and then move on to those members who are due a review.

This is an extract from Workout Magazine - January 2011

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