Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The leaving bonus, or how to get more loyal members

Greg joins a gym, pays the joining fee, and sets up a Direct Debit for the monthly payment. This time he’s going to get fit, make lifestyle changes, and as a result, he’s going to get the girl! He visits twice in the first week, once in the second week, but only manages to squeeze in one quick visit in week four. What happens next?

To his surprise, he gets an e-mail and a call from the club explaining that he didn't make the expected 5 visits in the first month, and that the club “probably isn't for him”. He’s offered a refund on his joining fee and the option to cancel his DD, or he can book an appointment to discuss his needs and goals to see if he needs any extra help with his motivation.
This might sound a little radical, but it is not a new idea – Zappos, the largest online shoe store offers $2,000 to new employees to quit after their first 4-weeks. People who would be likely to jump ship are cleared out early. Over 97% turn down the offer, effectively buying into the company and culture even more.

Members that stay after this offer will have more commitment and attach more value to their gym membership. By flushing out lethargic members at the joining phase, you will increase your overall length of membership, and improve retention.

A more positive spin

Why not turn this on its head, and offer the bonus to instructors that help get members to reach 10 visits in their first month. This might be difficult at local authority clubs, but will put a more positive spin on the whole concept, and ultimately, you’ll be helping members to form the exercise habit!

Read our other future gym posts here

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