Building relationships with clients is a long-lasting process that requires the involvement of not only the client, but above all the club or sports center owner. Acquiring new club members is more difficult and more expensive than maintaining the current ones. Therefore, the main goal of a fitness club or leisure facility is to maintain high retention rates, like frequent visits, members' engagement in the club's life, regular class booking and long-term memberships. Research on the American market shows that 50% of all members resign from a membership after 12 months. No wonder that owners and managers are going the extra mile to find more and more creative ways to keep their members.
Discover the value of your clients
Before we focus on retention, let's take a look at the strategic client value (strategic lifetime value), that is the maximum profit that the club can generate from a member. The value of the customer can be described as the difference between the value of revenues generated by the customer and the costs of sales, service and customer acquisition. The main benefits generated by a client are revenues and referrals. Clubs should therefore strive to maximize the benefits generated by customers and reduce costs resulting from customer service.
Focus on relationships
With the growing competition and increased members' requirements, it is easy to lose sight of what is most important: customer relationships. This is the foundation of any business that signs long-term contracts. Relations are built based on trust and quality of services. Club members appreciate professional equipment and excellent service. The IHRSA report confirmed that more members stay in modern clubs with high membership fees. This does not mean that a club with a lower standard can not have a high retention rate. The customers will stay in the club if they feel comfortable in it. Their sense of comfort results from many factors like: equipment, additional amenities and relationships built with the club team and other members. The likelihood of extending a membership is greater if a member is attending group classes or private training sessions, where the relationship with the club is naturally enhanced.
Maximize the benefits generated by customers
A customer is someone more than just the person paying for the membership. Every club member is an unique ambassador of your brand. They have a direct influence on the amount of clients of the club. High customer acquisition comers primarily from the nurturing of already existing relationships. Make sure that your club members are kept up to date with news about the club as well as special deals, events or upcoming fees. Communicate with them via e-mails, SMS or push notifications, while also caring about more human relationships and individual conversations. Take a few minutes for each member to find out about their impressions and needs. These few moments can make a huge difference.
The income generated by a member should be greater than the costs of his acquisition and customer service. In the first 6 months you will face higher costs and it only depends on you whether your clients will not lose their motivation and eventually give up their membership. The first months are crucial. This is your time to convince the club member to your offer and to the club. Help him plan his time in the gym, take care of his comfort during the training, provide knowledge and advice to give him the confidence he needs to pursue his goals. Afterwards optimize the costs of service. Use a management system that will help you communicate with your clients.
Manage relationships with a system
Knowing the value of your clients, set a maximum budget for the service in the initial stages of a membership as well as in the subsequent years. This will allow you to understand how much time your employees should devote to customer service, and how much should the system. Regardless of the size of your club, a club management system including an automation center is necessary to build long-term relationships. Thanks to this feature, you can have an overview of membership status and the members activities, necessary to build marketing strategies and direct relationships. Having detailed information about your last visits, purchases or booked classes, plan your communication tailored to the needs of different club members. A customer segmentation system will help you create several communication paths so that everyone receives useful information instead of being spammed with unnecessary data. Relations based on communication and transparency result in great trust, which translates into referrals and higher value generated by members.
Do you want higher retention? Start with the basics, that is building a strong foundation and strong relationships with clients.