If you’re looking to get the most out of NPS at your fitness center – your Net Promoter Score surveys – the first thing you need to know is this: NPS isn’t really about predicting gym membership retention. This is a common misperception and leads to important insights being missed.
In fact, fitness centers’ NPS data is most valuable when viewed as a window on what’s going on within your clubs. In turn, it can alert you to factors that may influence gym membership retention – and allow you to act on them as part of fine-tuned member retention strategies – but in themselves, your NPS won’t actually tell you who will stay and who will leave.
How NPS can shape your member retention strategies
Allow us to elaborate on the value that can be extracted when NPS is viewed as a window on your clubs – and how you best extract it.
Where data capture is concerned, an NPS fitness survey contains two distinct elements: the 1–10 score; and the free-form text where customers share the reasons why they gave the score they did.
In practice, it tends to be the 1–10 score that’s analyzed and followed by business leadership. Promoters are thanked and gently nudged towards gym referral programs. Detractors are contacted as part of gym member retention programs. (At least, they are when the processes work properly, which we’ll come back to shortly.)
Meanwhile, there’s arguably even more value to be extracted from the free-form text – yet all too often this lies untapped.
Providing context, detail and insights that wouldn’t have been attributed to the 1–10 score, this text is pure gold whether you look at it from a gym sales perspective (identifying issues that might be putting prospects off) or a retention management agenda (picking up on recurring problems that are stewing beneath the surface, or equally identifying positive themes the club can build on).
NPS: Fitness centers’ untapped seam of gold
So, why is this data rarely leveraged as much as it could – and arguably should – be?
Say you’re conducting NPS among your fitness center members throughout the year, with the possibility that around 30 per cent of them will respond. It quickly becomes an issue of volume: if you have 10,000 members, the easy part is collating the 3,000 scores – but what do you do with 3,000 free-form text submissions?
If you’re the unlucky intern, you may be asked to go through them all and pick out themes and points of note. In reality, however, this is rarely done; if it is, it’s done poorly and loaded with human bias to the desired outcome.
Of course, there is gym software that can help with this analysis, including specialist NPS software such as Listen360. Alternatively, gyms can harness the power of end-to-end AI gym software such as Keepme to ensure no one element is looked at in isolation. Keepme draws invaluable insights from NPS fitness surveys and places them into an AI-optimized jigsaw that spans everything from gym sales to member retention programs, ensuring every element of the prospect-to-member journey is firing on supercharged cylinders.
But that’s the big picture. Let’s step back to look specifically at the NPS from your fitness center and understand how AI can help you extract maximum value from it.
Why AI gym software is key to extracting NPS value
With AI, every free-form comment that comes back to you can be passed through language sentiment analysis. Regardless of what language is used (including Emoji which, go figure, is viewed as a language in itself), each comment is assessed and given a positive, negative or neutral score.
Easy enough, you say: the intern may not like it, but they could still do it. And yes, they could. But even if we ignore the fact that every person comes with a built-in bias around what they want to see, or how they feel on the day of the task, how would they deal with the following?
“Great staff, great location, but the changing rooms require restoration.”
Overall a positive? Does the negative mean it’s neutral?
We would argue that the value is actually in looking at this differently. By all means apply an overall sentiment, but ideally this feedback would be broken down and the comment also scored across three distinct areas: staff, location, and changing rooms. That way, you the club operator would be able to look up core aspects of the business, see how they’re perceived by members, and understand the overall sentiment of the feedback for that specific area of the business.
When you also apply age and gender filters, you can then paint a picture of what’s important to each group, how they perceive certain factors in the business, and how they describe them.
The simple NPS customer survey becomes a turbo-charged tool that not only gives you a headline score on how you’re doing with customers, but also goes beyond to show where you’re powerful and where not so strong, along with additional pointers on which parts of the business to emphasize to which target audiences.
And that, of course, makes for seriously powerful gym member retention programs, as well as optimized gym marketing campaigns to drive increased gym sales.
The vital role of gym automation
Let’s now go back to the point about “when the processes work properly” – because the problem with so many processes in gyms is that they rely heavily on humans to make them happen.
At best, it’s wonderful, bringing a rich human touch to the member experience at just the right time. But so often, the planned processes just don’t happen. It’s that little thing called human error, or else not having time, or simply forgetting. We humans are, sadly, fallible.
Gym automation can therefore improve the member journey in many cases, simply by ensuring the intended processes are correctly executed every single time. Your fitness center’s NPS is a great example of this.
With gym automation, you have the ability to set up your NPS process once, define what you would like the automation to do with each eventuality, and leave the process to occur. The only manpower investment after that comes when there’s an exception to be dealt with, or if you’ve added a non-automated step.
Say the automation is to send NPS fitness surveys to each member twice a year. You can set your criteria: they need to have visited the club in the last 60 days, they shouldn’t be high-risk (no point in waking the sleeping), plus any other criteria you wish – membership type or class participants, for example.
The AI will find every member who qualifies, validate that they meet the criteria, ensure their communication preferences allow the NPS to be sent, and check they haven’t already completed an NPS survey in the last 180 days. Your automation then sends the survey out to the relevant individuals.
You can then have additional rules in place. For example, once sent, if no response has been received in seven days, you can have the automation send a prompt. If after 30 days no response has been received, the automation can try again in a further 60 days. If a response is received, but not until 21 days from sending the request, the automation can not only process it but also note this date of receipt as the point from which that member’s next NPS date should be calculated.
Then let’s say it’s a member’s birthday, and a greeting engagement is set to be sent as part of your gym member retention program. Your gym automation knows this is the priority and sends that first, with the NPS following seven days later – a prioritization of messages that takes place automatically, 24/7, driving an increase in responses and engagement.
And if your automation sees a mail or message bounce, no problem: it automatically chooses another contact method to request updated details from the member – a simple, automated way to prevent the deterioration of member databases and, in turn, clubs’ ability to contact their members.
Automated workflows to drive gym membership retention
Automated workflows also ensure every NPS response is instantly routed to the correct person.
Let’s start with the Detractors – an important group. These are members who, while scoring you low, are still more likely to stay with you than a member who doesn’t reply at all. They’re feeding back to you because they want you to do better; engaging them is vital to your gym membership retention performance.
It’s therefore critically important that an automated workflow be put in place to ensure every Detractor is promptly routed to a manager – and that your gym automation also tracks whether action has been taken.
And how about the Promoters, those wonderful members who gave you 9s and 10s? Your automation sees them and, at the moment of your choosing, triggers a gym loyalty program initiative that sees them being sent a fantastic referral offer; any responses are routed to your gym’s sales team.
An entire process monitored, delivered and optimized 24/7, driving increased engagement, revenues and customer satisfaction. All without the need for intervention, unless that intervention adds value.
This is the power of AI to maximize the impact and value of your fitness center’s NPS.
Find out more: book a Keepme demo now.