Friday, 13 December 2013

Retention Focus - Do we need people?

The LFX event in Ireland last month was a great success, with some really good audience interaction and debate around member retention. There were many good questions, one of which we’d like to expand on here – please let us know your thoughts in the comments below?

“Should we focus more on staff coaching or member messaging… surely staff are more effective at interacting with members and improving retention than sending messages.”

The Three Cornerstones of Good Retention
In presenting the balanced club, we always look for equal focus between people, communications, and systems. Leisure Centres traditionally concentrate more on people and interaction in the club, whereas Budget Clubs place more attention on member messaging (as they usually have better data, and less staff).

In our experience, a well-trained and motivated team of staff really has the best effect on member retention. By interacting face-to-face with members, they have the ideal opportunity to turn around a member who is at risk of leaving, and keep all the visiting members happy.

However, sending messages to members can be a really important second string to your retention bow, for 3 main reasons:

1. Absent Members

Firstly, absent members will miss the in-club staff interaction simply because they are not visiting. A text, email, postcard or other message will encourage them back, and hopefully direct them to have a face-to-face interaction.

2. Staying On Message

Unless you have a team of robots, your staff interactions won’t be standardised, and some members could miss out on an important interaction if they always visit at busy times or just avoid the instructors. Having a standard messaging journey helps to plug these gaps, and ensures communications are ‘on message’ with corporate branding and style (although they should also be personalised towards the member).

3. Closing the Loop

Messaging helps to drive more staff interaction. When a member returns, or a shy member is encouraged to approach an instructor following a message, it’s important that staff react in the right way, welcoming the member back, for example. Staff need to know what messages are being sent, when and why, and understand that the messages are supporting their role in the club.

So you should focus on both staff interaction and member messaging. The balance depends where your team’s strengths and messaging journey are at the moment, and how you want to drive your retention strategy going forwards.

Please add your thoughts/comments or experiences below.

No comments: