Why operators need a 360˚ customer view now more than ever December 16, 2020 •
The global pandemic has made the day-to-day running of a fitness facility infinitely harder. While there is now optimism around the roll out of a successful vaccine, and the return to normality this might bring, there will no doubt be ongoing fallout from COVID-19 for some time. Having a data-driven 360˚ customer view has never been more crucial.
As the sector strives to regain its footing, proving your fitness operation is COVID-secure will continue to add another layer to the age-old challenges facing all operators: membership sales and retention management.
The success of fitness businesses as we move into 2021 is locked up in their gym software – more accurately, in the data that software provides. Only by using technology to gain in-depth insight, to manage prospecting, fitness marketing strategies and membership communications, can operators free up teams for vital member engagements. And after spending the majority of 2020 either training alone or with just digital offerings for company, members will want human interaction more than ever.
For too long, fitness operators have wasted time, effort and revenue jumping between different CRM systems for membership sales and retention management. Often, the process is so complex that those in charge of mining data eschew the software altogether in favour of gut instinct. But only by harnessing unused – and currently hidden – data can the fitness industry create a genuine step change in its own success.
An AI-powered CRM like Keepme enables operators to take actions with confidence, knowing they’re based on fact. This insight ensures businesses can drive additional revenue and increase profitability at every stage.
Keepme’s 360˚ customer view offers operators clear, concise and real-time insights into sales prospect and member behaviours from the point of data capture and through their membership journey thereafter. Machine Learning identifies where early intervention may be required to either close a sale or save a member. With seamless access to data insights, operators can also identify member patterns and tailor engagements accordingly via ongoing automations or suggested campaigns.
Every fitness organisation in the world is capable of being worth more than they think … Keepme allows operators to do things with standard data sets today that this industry couldn’t even begin to imagine five years ago. And this will only continue to improve over time.
The value operators have in their data won’t present in their data sheet, but the 360˚ customer view it affords will be invaluable to success over the next 10 years.
Schedule a free demo of Keepme to see how you can implement a 360˚ customer view in your fitness club today.
About the author
Amanda Hart is Director of Customer Success at Keepme and formerly Director of Sales and Operations at Soho Gyms.
Video: An overview of Keepme Membership December 14, 2020 •
Learn how you can revolutionise your gym’s marketing and retention in our video overview of Keepme Membership. Keepme Membership is a powerful, AI-driven tool that helps fitness operators turbocharge their revenue through increased member retention, secondary spend, and ex-member winback.
Keepme achieves this with its unique AI engine, which identifies your strongest members as well as those at risk, while also highlighting members who are likely to engage in referrals.
Keepme analyzes every single touch-point, transaction, and demographic data point about your members, resulting in the Keepme Score. The Keepme Score reflects the overall health of your membership – in other words, their overall likelihood of retention. Every member receives a score and is segmented into one of three risk profiles, allowing you to develop intelligent marketing and retention strategies. For example, leveraging low risk members to drive referrals and secondary spend, or targeting medium risk members with campaigns designed to improve retention. From there, the possibilities are endless.
In the video, you’ll get a close look at how Keepme Membership:
Helps you track and analyze your past, present and future performance in its powerful AI-driven Dashboard
Allows you to instantly engage with key member groups with its innovative Take Action feature
Send powerful and hyper-targeted campaigns and automations with the built-in communication tools in Keepme Connect
Collect and act on customer feedback with its integrated Net Promoter Score capabilities
Get a complete understanding of your customers with its 360° Member Record to drive better engagements and customer service
By providing you deep insights into your members’ behaviour, along with comprehensive engagement tools, Keepme Membership helps you maximize the value of each member and increase your revenue from day one. Find out more in our overview video below.
To see how Keepme can help you attract and retain more gym members, book a free demo today.
“We’ve learned lessons from our data with Keepme” December 1, 2020 •
Keepme customer Troy Morgan, CEO of Willows Health Group, based in Queensland, Australia, is using AI and data to shape his sales and retention strategy, alongside his COVID recovery plan…
Willows Health & Lifestyle Centre has been using Keepme’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered retention management tool for a little over 13 months ago, and, this month, CEO Troy Morgan also implemented Keepme Sales.
Originally opened in the 1970’s, Morgan took over Willows 14 years ago and started the transformation to a fully functional lifestyle centre. The centre now hosts a fitness centre, plus a 500 square meter Allied Health practice with physiotherapists, occupational therapist, dietitians and psychologists.
“Put simply, fitness businesses sit on mountains of data that is largely unused. Harnessed and reported on, this data can not only create real insights for the business but also a hyper personalised experience for each member,” says Morgan. “Keepme allows us to leverage our mountains of data and make real differences to both our gym sales, our business and our members.”
“When we began working with Keepme, the team took 13 years of our data and cleaned it up – it was a real partnership right from the start. Almost immediately we learnt lessons from that data and began to implement changes, pretty much seamlessly.”
The member retention conundrum
“For me, Keepme’s value is in being able to navigate an increasingly difficult marketplace with certainty,” says Morgan. “I can take actions with confidence as they’re based on fact, not gut instinct. Clubs like Willows need confidence in our actions now more than ever, as with COVID we find ourselves in increasingly sensitive times.
“I check the retention management dashboard daily; it’s like a living, breathing system that shows me the members we need to invest resources in … those most likely to leave, to stay and to spend. Being a small, standalone facility we have finite resources; I need to be sure to direct them to what – and who – will give returns.
“From the second the Keepme system went live I was able to risk stratify my membership base, see who was at risk of leaving and put a monetary value on those members, so we could build strategies on how to improve retention. It took just 30 days to see a reduction in cancellation rates.
“Rather than waiting for a 30-day report, we can now take daily action. So if a high frequency member is suddenly absent, my team gets in touch. Just this afternoon we made a call around a sudden absence, and the gratitude from that member was huge; it blew their mind.”
A COVID recovery plan
During lockdown, Morgan used Keepme to hyper-personalise Willows’ digital offer so that now, as the club works to find its footing again, the system can help him make decisions about the very real financial challenges he faces. “Now is not the time for guestimates on customer acquisition, retention, marketing strategies and cash flow,” he says.
Willows is unusual in that it doesn’t operate contracts. As a community-based business, Morgan prefers to build trust within that community, so his members know if Willows is not delivering the wellbeing service that’s truly right for them, they’re free to leave.
“We back our ability to provide customer-centric service, delivered through the personalisation of our offering,” he explains. “This means we have points throughout the entire life of our members and have created an ecosystem that incorporates both technology and face-to-face services. Keepme closes the loop, allowing us to learn from our members’ interactions with the business in a truly scaled way and continually improve our service offering.”
Willows’ membership base was at 2,200 pre-COVID. The club has already built back up to 1,600 members, despite a number of social distancing restrictions remaining in place. “Keepme gave me a fine-tuned understanding of each customer’s probable return, which allowed me to rebuild the membership base very quickly,” says Morgan.
Improving membership sales
In November 2020, Morgan implemented Keepme Sales. “Now, for the first time, I’m able to get a 360˚ view of customers, from pre-sale all the way to post membership, should they choose leave,” he says.
“The AI is constantly learning about our prospects and processes, allowing me to automate tasks and make sure we focus on the sales leads with the highest likelihood of conversion. I can make hyper personalised engagements with potential customers as I know where they came from and when, what their sales process was and what they’re most likely to want.
“I’ve been blown away by how precise the whole Keepme system is, especially with regards to whether a member will leave or not; it’s scarily accurate! I couldn’t run my business without it now.”
About the author
Troy Morgan has been in the industry for a quarter of a century and as well as his role as CEO of Willows Health Group, he is a Head of Wellbeing Strategy at health technology platform MySpringDay , Director of Wellbeing Strategy at Well360, a national speaker and a business investor.
To find out what Keepme can do for your club’s sales and retention, book a free demotoday.
Video: Keepme Connect, the fitness industry’s leading engagement tool November 4, 2020 •
When it comes to attracting, retaining, and engaging members, it’s hard to overstate the importance of targeted and personalized communications. That’s why we built Keepme Connect – the fitness industry’s leading suite of engagement tools.
With Connect, fitness operators can send laser-targeted and highly personalized communications via email, SMS, and more. When you add Connect’s ability to automate, you have a tool that is capable of everything from sending targeted sales campaigns to automating your entire new member journey. Sending the right communication, to the right member, at the right time has never been so effortless.
Watch the video below to see how Keepme Connect can revolutionise the way you approach membership sales, retention management, and more.
Want to see firsthand why Keepme is the best software for gym sales and marketing? We invite you to book a demo today.
Video: The future of digital in fitness with Ian Mullane and Simon Kemp October 9, 2020 •
Check out the highlights from the UKActive Active Uprising session featuring Keepme’s founder and CEO, Ian Mullane, and global digital marketing thought leader and CEO of Kepios, Simon Kemp.
In this insightful discussion, they reflect on how technological advances such as 5G are changing ways in which people consume fitness content, how member data will shape the offerings and services that operators provide, and much more. In short, it’s a conversation filled with forward-thinking statistics and trends for operators to be aware of.
To see how Keepme could help you uncover insights in your member data and drive revenue in your club, book a demo today.
Video: A conversation with Keepme customer Troy Morgan at Active Uprising October 6, 2020 •
On August 25th, our founder and CEO Ian Mullane joined Keepme customer Troy Morgan (CEO, Willows Health Group) for a fascinating discussion on artificial intelligence and digital transformation as part of UKActive’s Active Uprising event.
During the session, Troy spoke about his journey implementing AI into his health club, and how the predictive insights in Keepme helped his team paint a more complete and nuanced picture of the member. He also went into detail about how, armed with these powerful insights, they were able to build hyper-personalized campaigns that generated significant revenue.
Watch the highlights below! If you would like to learn how Keepme could help increase revenue in your club, book a demo today.
We’re Proud To Introduce Keepme V2, A Next-Generation CRM for Fitness Operators September 1, 2020 •
There’s excitement in the air at Keepme HQ! After months of tireless work and thousands of development hours, our team is proud to bring you Keepme V2 – the fitness industry’s first comprehensive, AI-powered gym CRM.
A genuine step change in club technology, Keepme V2 enables operators to drive additional revenue and increase profitability at every stage of the membership lifecycle – from lead capture and sales, to membership retention and secondary spend, to ex-member win back. All of this is backed by proven Artificial Intelligence, allowing operators to uncover revenue opportunities that are hidden in their data and act on them with the click of a button. No more jumping between tools, no more guesswork.
Our brand new Keepme Sales module is a true one-stop solution, empowering gym sales teams to capture, allocate, manage, communicate with, and close leads all in one place. Keepme’s AI evaluates each lead and funnels them into tailored sales flows, while our sales playbooks and automations ensure every single lead is followed up with. And Keepme Sales isn’t limited to gym membership sales – it allows your reps to effortlessly manage inside sales for services like PT, massage, swim lessons, and anything else your club offers. To sum it up, Keepme Sales was purpose-built to turbocharge your sales team’s productivity and help them shatter their sales targets.
Once a lead becomes a member, Keepme Membership provides you with industry-leading tools to maximize their lifetime value. Building on our proven Keepme retention platform, Keepme Membership’s AI identifies at-risk members and other critical member groups with pinpoint accuracy, while our new ‘Take Action’ features allow you to engage them with a single click. Building campaigns and automations has never been easier with Keepme’s best-in-class communications suite, which now includes a library of pre-built automations so operators can build world class member journeys right out of the box. Whether it’s re-engaging members who are slipping away, sending offers to members who are likely to purchase class packs, or reaching out to ex-members to win them back, Keepme Membership helps you achieve maximum revenue for every member in your club.
We firmly believe that no operator should settle for band-aid solutions. If you have any questions about Keepme V2, please reach out to us via our live chat in the corner below. And if you would like a personalized tour to see how Keepme V2 could help your club, we warmly invite you to book a demo today.
— Team Keepme
Video: Introducing Keepme V2 August 27, 2020 •
We’re proud to present Keepme V2!
The first comprehensive, AI-driven CRM for the fitness industry.
Based on conversations with hundreds of operators, we knew there was a need for an AI-powered gym CRM that could manage the whole member lifecycle — from lead capture and sales, to retention, secondary spend, and ex-member win back. Over the past few months, our team has been working tirelessly to bring this vision to life.
With a brand new lead management system and industry-leading communications tools, Keepme V2 is quite simply the most advanced gym sales and retention tool built from the ground up for fitness operators. At its heart? An AI engine that helps operators make data-driven decisions to maximize revenue.
NPS: Why it matters, who you should send it to, and how do you read the results? December 12, 2019 •
Understanding why NPS could be helpful to your business when to send it, and how to interpret results will help businesses create a powerful action plan and retention strategy to increase customer loyalty, revenue, and business growth.
A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is widely thought of as one of the optimum ways to measure how loyal a customer is to a particular business. The metric was introduced by Fred Reichheld in 1993 and is essentially a single metric that enables companies to ascertain how strong their relationship is with their customers. NPS also allows the operator to identify areas where an operator can improve, therefore bettering their relationship.
An NPS can come in different formats and can be modified to suit different businesses. However, the most important question is one that asks customers to give an overall rating from 1-10 on how likely they are to recommend the company to someone else. Businesses can also include several closed questions and a comment box where customers can write more freely or add specific details to explain their scores or describe their unique customer experience.
The overall rating reflects how likely customers are to recommend that brand or product to someone else. The closed questions are set to find out more about specific details, some of which may or may not be relevant to that particular customer, but are of interest to the business. The free text box, therefore, is essential, so customers are given the freedom to tell the company what they think and why.
Why is NPS so important?
Mike O’Connor, the Founder of Service Professionals Network, said of NPS “(It) nurtures growth because it collects detailed customer feedback on experiences. Nobody else is better qualified to tell a brand how they can improve! Using NPS helps any business develop their processes, people, products, pricing, and overall experiences for the long term.”
The NPS format us so useful because it gives businesses precise data on their overall performance in terms of customer loyalty, and by correlating scores given with the freely written responses, companies can get a much better understanding of why any single customer is particularly loyal or disloyal. By analysing the NPS in detail, they can then begin to create strategies that allow them to improve customer experience and boost customer loyalty.
NPS does not focus on how happy customers are with a particular event, service, or product within the business. Instead, it focuses on whether that customer would be willing to recommend the company overall, so the resulting score is a robust indicator of sustainability as well as the potential for growth through word of mouth recommendations.
In the 2003 Harvard Business Review, Reichheld wrote, “evangelistic customer loyalty is clearly one of the most important drivers of growth. While it doesn’t guarantee growth, in general, profitable growth can’t be achieved without it.”
How to analyse NPS Results
Those who give a score of 0 to 6 are known as detractors, and are dissatisfied with the company and may share their negative opinion with others. Those who provide a score of 7 to 8 are called passives and are unlikely to go out of their way to recommend the company to anyone else. Finally, those who score the business a 9 or 10 are likely to endorse them to others actively and are known as promoters. The NPS score is calculated using a specific formula that subtracts the percentage of people who are detractors from those who are promoters. Passive responders are dismissed. The final score can be anything from -100 to 100.
Businesses can use this figure as a starting point to understand where they sit in terms of customer loyalty. If they have a positive NPS, this indicates that the number of people recommending the business outweighs the number who are saying negative things about it. A negative NPS score means the opposite.
It is also helpful to connect responses to the amount of revenue a customer brings in. From this information, they can better understand how much of their income is generated by customers who have a positive and robust relationship with the brand compared to those at risk of moving away and finding the same to similar products and services elsewhere. Doing this provides precious insights that can then be used to develop strategies to create growth year upon year.
Of course, why the score as a standalone metric is valuable, businesses that focus on their NPS score, in combination with the comments provided in the free text box, can gain even more powerful insights into customer behaviour. From this data, they can predict future actions more keenly as well as understand the areas in which the business needs to improve.
NPS is so valuable because it helps companies better understand their customers, and how those customers feel about the company. By sending NPS to customers at the right time, owners and their teams can hope to analyse the resulting data and not only better predict customer behaviour on an individual level but also pinpoint common denominators that affect customer experience and change/ remove/ improve them to ensure the NPS score improves.
So who should you send the NPS to, and when?
If a company decides to engage in NPS, researching which customers to send it to and the best time to do so is crucial. A business will naturally want to ensure a significant response, and identifying at what point in a customer journey they would be most receptive can help with that. It is also essential to consider how frequently to survey members.
KeepMe software enables gym owners to send NPS to the right members, at the ideal time in their member journeys, meaning response rates will be high. It can also analyse the sentiment in easily digestible ways, breaking down information, so it’s easier to understand and turn into actionable and practical retention strategies. By using KeepMe as the vehicle to find out the NPS, gym owners are able to be proactive with customers. They are given an excellent insight into red flags that signify an at-risk member and can understand the bigger picture. An NPS can assess the overall ‘health’ of the relationship between members and the club while simultaneously identifying any specific issues that can be quickly addressed to ensure member satisfaction and loyalty once more.
If you want help with your NPS, why not book a demo to see how KeepMe can help today?
Which came first, retention or referral? December 5, 2019 •
Getting new member referrals is the holy grail of marketing; you’re turning your members into one-person marketing operations. So should referrals come before retention? Or do you need to improve gym retention to generate referrals? We investigate.
Referral marketing is extremely powerful. People frequently talk about products and services that they get value from, and the gym is no exception. The vast majority of consumers trust recommendations from word of mouth. In fact, people are 4 times more likely to buy goods referred to them by a friend, according to Nielsen. And when it comes to social media, people are more likely to buy based on posts from friends and family than they are from brand accounts.
Mark Zukerberg is someone who knows a thing or too about the power of leveraging human relationships to create loyal consumers. Here’s his take on the importance of referral marketing:
“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising.”
Which came first, membership referral or gym retention?
You’re not going to be able to get referrals out of people if they themselves don’t stick with your gym.
But on the other hand, it’s only through getting referrals from trusted sources and having a social reason to stick with a gym that you are going to get the most out of your customer retention strategies.
But it is worth understanding that there is a cyclical relationship between referral and gym retention.
To get more referrals you need to improve gym retention… and in the process of getting more referrals you will make it easier to retain your members.
So to get a referral you need to make sure your gym members are active and engaged and that their experience is a positive one. In a word, you have to increase the chances they’ll stick with your gym.
So how do you get referrals to your gym?
Well, first of all your members need to have an exceptional experience of your gym. You can give them this by…
Having a strong onboarding process so members hit the ground running when they join your gym and are predisposed to stick around.
Building relationships with your gym members to make them feel connected to your gym.
Using customer retention software to reach out to at risk members and identify potential gym “promoters”.
Using Net Promoter Scores to get more gym membership referrals
One of the major advantages of using AI membership retention software is that you can tap into the power of Net Promoter Scores (NPS).
NPS scores are a customer loyalty metric that is used across many different industries. The scores are worked out by asking people how likely they are to recommend a brand to a friend or colleague by giving a score out of 10.
Net Promoter Scores identify whether customers have a positive or negative sentiment towards your products and services, categorising customers as either ‘detractors’ (unhappy, will actively discourage people), ‘passives’ (relatively happy, but might leave for other brands), or ‘promoters’ (have a great experience, will recommend to friends and family).
Gym retention software helps you track people based on their NPS scores. This means you can reach out to ‘promoters’ to get them involved in your referral program. You can motivate them to get involved by offering them referral rewards.
Retention is the secret to getting more membership referrals
Whilst there is a circular relationship between customer retention and referral, having an effective membership retention strategy is the necessary foundation on which to build a referral programme.
Use automated gym retention software to track member data to help keep your retention strategy firing on all cylinders.
Once you have this foundation of member retention, it’s time to focus on the most engaged and loyal customers and encourage them to actively spread the word to friends and family.
This will result in glowing referrals far more powerful than anything dreamt up by your marketing team alone.
All customer retention strategies are greatly improved by the use of AI retention software like KeepMe, which is fully customisable to boost retention for your gym brand.
To find out how this software can solve your unique retention needs, you can book a free demo of our software today.
Contract vs. Pay As You Go: Members Who Commit To Staying October 3, 2019 •
Should gym operators focus on persuading members to sign up for longer contract lengths, or is pay as you go better for retention? A careful combination might be the best way.
Understanding what effect membership plans have on gym membership retention rates can provide a useful insight to enable operators to market one or the other more strongly, and should be considered when devising a smart retention strategy.
There are, of course, benefits to both members and the club to offer different membership types. Most gyms can charge more if they offer a ‘drop-in’ or pay as you go service. However, convincing members to sign up for a 12-month contract means that the business has greater financial security and can forecast and make budgeting and growth plans more easily.
So how does each membership type effect retention rates?
The 12-month contract
Those who commit to a 12-month contract, be that by paying a monthly fee or paying the entire sum upfront, naturally have a higher retention rate than those who only pay from month to month or simply pay each time they visit. This, of course, is understandable as if a person feels tied into a service that they have committed to pay for for a particular length of time, they are more likely to use it to get their monies worth.
Persuading members to sign up for a 12-month contract can give operators more stability and financial security, and because this is the standard for many gyms, there is less likely to be much resistance if dealing with an engaged and motivated member.
However, it is important to acknowledge that offering flexibility and freedom in a members contract can also work well. Members who don’t feel ‘trapped’ and who see going to the gym as a choice that they are fully in control of, rather than an activity that they have been coerced into are perhaps more likely to remain motivated and inspired to continue. Exercise quickly becomes unenjoyable if a person feels as though they are being forced into it against their will.
Similarly, if a person can no longer afford to pay the monthly fee, and has the flexibility to pause their membership for a while, they may be more likely to return to the gym when their income increases again. Those who have committed to a 12-month contract they can’t get out of, who then fall upon hard times, may end up feeling extremely resentful towards the gym when they have to continue to pay even though they are struggling to afford it. This could lead to a negative association, and even if they then become more affluent and can afford to rejoin, may refuse to do so because of the negative experience they underwent the first time.
Membership types – the figures
According to a study, numbers indicate that members who commit to 12-month membership agreements have a higher rate of retention than members who join month-to-month without any commitment. The research shows that those who pay month-to-month decrease significantly beginning at three months.
What is interesting to point out, however, is that the same study also revealed that of the 1.47 million memberships sold, 80% of these are month-to-month plans, and only 20% are 12-month agreements. This indicates that month to month contracts remains a more popular choice for people and that they do crave options, get-out clauses, and flexibility in their memberships. However, being given that choice, then makes it much easier to leave – and they are reminded of that possibility every month when given the option to renew.
The maths makes this even more plain to see. In short, those who have a month by month contract have 12 chances to leave every year, while those who sign up for a 12-month contract only have one chance. As a gym operator, it’s easy to see which odds are more attractive when trying to boost member retention rates.
In terms of revenue, however, it might not make a great deal of difference. Since the more attractive option to entice new members appears to be the month by month payment option, selling a greater number of these membership types could offset losses made when members do quit. What it does mean, however, it that gyms have to fight each month to find new members, where those who are signed up to a 12-month contract remain secure, for the time being.
Better sales techniques = better retention rates
The truth of the matter is that the more you can sell to a member, the better the chances are of them remaining committed to the gym. Joining fees, longer contract lengths, added extras, higher price points – these are all challenging to sell. However, if a salesperson is able to get a potential member to make that commitment, once they have signed on the dotted line, they will be more motivated to ensure that they obtain value from that commitment.
So should operators push for 12-month contracts?
It is important, as always, for gym operators to gather data, research member behaviour, and offer tailored marketing plans, personalised memberships, and flexible options if they wish to optimise retention rates. For example, focusing on customer service, on excellent orientation and onboarding procedures can help to ensure a member remains more committed. Encouraging members to attend the gym more frequently and create a routine can also help to boost retention. In fact, doing so means a member is likely to stay an additional six months longer than one who visits the gym on a more ad hoc basis.
Certainly, operators have begun to change their business models, and brands such as The Gym Group and PayasUGym use these flexible contract types as one of their main benefits to entice members away from bigger gyms who want to tie them into a longer contract length.
It also might be worth considering and revising systems for chasing those customers who fail to pay. Debt collection should be handled sensitively and if not done so could trigger a backlash from upset members, which could then damage the reputation of the gym.
Providing flexibility is also crucial. While collecting monies via direct debit is the preferred option, it could be well worth gyms offering different payment offers to suit various cohorts of customers, such as allowing members to pay on any day in a given month. Being sensitive to different members budgets can also help operators come up with a range of membership plans to cater to everyone. Offering different types of payment plans and lower-cost memberships can encourage members to commit for longer, and can also foster customer loyalty from a broader range of members. The rise in popularity of fitness passports which offers those who sign up access to a wide variety of gyms and other health and fitness facilities in their local area is also a consideration that gym owners should consider buying into.
Why Building Relationships With Members Matters September 26, 2019 •
Encouraging fitness staff to build positive customer relationships with gym members can have a significant impact on member retention.
All smart business owners agree that building relationships is crucial when it comes to attracting and retaining new customers. For gym owners, this has never been more pertinent, and with competition fiercer than ever, they cannot afford to lose customers to competitors because of poor customer experience.
If a member feels emotionally connected to the gym, if they feel as though they are part of a community, and going to the gym is a positive and social experience, they are much less likely to cancel their membership or be swayed by a competitor’s more attractive offer.
Member retention – communication is key
Building robust and lasting relationships between members and fitness staff and demonstrates that nothing quite beats the human touch to increase emotional engagement and brand loyalty.
It is up to the employees of the gym who interact with members on a daily basis to ensure that their experience is a positive one, that they are satisfied with the service they receive, that they are provided with opportunities to socialise and make friends and that they are hitting their fitness goals, and making new ones when they do.
While data can be captured when members join a gym or through routine surveys or even via social listening, the information that those members of staff who walk the floor and who are communicating with customers can provide is enormously valuable and shouldn’t be overlooked when trying to devise a smart member retention strategy.
If fitness staff are briefed on how to approach members, what the right questions are to ask to generate meaningful and valuable feedback, and are able to engage in positive and motivational dialogue with members consistently, they will make them feel valued, heard and motivated. This positive messaging, delivered face to face can have a massive impact on how a member views their gym sessions, their overall experience of dealing with the company, and can even inspire them to share their positive experience thus strengthening trust and creating a better impression of the brand which will, in turn, increase brand loyalty and impress new potential members simultaneously.
Excellent customer relationships mean increased customer loyalty
Developing a meaningful client base is imperative if gym owners hope to see retention rates improve. Recent studies have placed emphasis on the vital relationship between customer satisfaction and retention and how important retention is for a business’s continued success. It is the role of those who interact with members to seek to understand their concerns, to answer their questions and to build an emotional connection that fosters commitment and loyalty through the development of long term relationships. Cultivating these personal relationships takes time and effort, and it is by providing a unique, tailored experience for each member that meaningful relationships can flourish. It is an ongoing process too, for those that are taken for granted or ignored for too long will quickly deteriorate leaving the neglected member vulnerable and at risk of terminating their membership or being tempted by a hovering competitor
A Walker study revealed that customer experience would likely overtake price and product as the critical brand differentiator as early as next year. Experience can, of course, be related to the products and services offered, but it is also the experience of being at the gym, of how staff members make customers feel from the moment they arrive to the moment that they leave that could have the most significant impact.
If your gym focuses on building these customer relationships, getting to know your members, and providing a level of customer service that goes beyond the expected, this acts as a point of differentiation between you and your competitors. Therefore, relationship building should be an integral part of any smart retention strategy, and by being dedicated to exceeding expectations and providing unique experiences through strengthening bonds between member, gym and brand, owners can hope to see a rise in loyal, satisfied, spending customers and a subsequent increase in retention rates.
How A Smart Member Onboarding Experience Helps Better Retention August 22, 2019 •
Paying attention to your member onboarding process can have a significant impact on member retention.
The member onboarding process plays a crucial role in maximising retention and can help ensure that new members turn into loyal customers who continue to use the gym facilities and engage with the gym in a positive way.
A smart, thoughtful, cleverly designed onboarding process is crucial to ensure member loyalty, just as a poor, badly planned onboarding process can lead customers to terminate their membership.
Onboarding is also known as ‘organizational socialization.’ In short, it is the process by which a person acquires information, knowledge, and skills as well as learning appropriate behaviours to become an ‘effective organisational member.’ When applied to the gym member onboarding process, this is the way that a new member becomes familiar with the gym’s facilities, equipment, and processes via different interactions and experiences. Done well, and this process will positively change a member’s behaviour and attitude towards working out, as well as developing a positive relationship with staff, the gym, and the brand.
So why does good onboarding help with member retention?
An excellent first impression will last. From the moment a new member walks through the door and is greeted by reception staff to how much they enjoy the facilities, the quality of their workout, the options for exercise available, and how they are treated by staff all form an opinion of the gym. If overall the member finds the experience positive and enjoyable, the benefits of continuing as a member will far outweigh the expense and effort, and therefore that new member will turn into a loyal customer – providing the balance remains tipped this way.
How can gyms improve the onboarding experience for their customers?
In a survey taken by the American Society for Quality Control, results showed that the number one reason why companies lose customers is down to an attitude of indifference on the part of an employee. This demonstrates the importance of building customer relationships, of getting to know your members, of showing that you have a genuine interest in their health and wellbeing and that you and your teams want to make their customer experience the very best it can be from start to finish.
Your gym’s USP might be state of the art equipment or offering the cheapest and most flexible deals, but without providing an excellent level of customer service, this may not matter.
By considering every aspect of the customer experience, particularly during the onboarding process, clubs can hope to provide a seamless journey that allows them to make the most of the gym and enjoy their visits time and time again. They will have certain expectations, and particular needs, and the more these are being met or surpassed effortlessly, the more likely a gym is to retain that member going forward.
Points to consider include:
Function – does the gym meet the customer’s needs? This encompasses everything from changing room and locker facilities to the provision of refreshments and training classes and equipment.
Accessibility – how easy is it for members to do what they want to do at the club? Be that finding their way around, getting information, or having flexibility within their membership?
Emotional connection – do customers feel valued and respected? Do they think staff care about them as individuals?
If a gym can better understand a member’s expectations of the club, as well as their interests, the goals and so on, that they can provide an onboarding journey that meets and surpasses them. It is through research and listening to customers that gyms can discover what is important to their customers and identify opportunities to provide them with satisfactory solutions and improve their service to align with customer’s needs and desires.
Simple onboarding tips to improve retention
Talk to members about their fitness goals and help them to devise a plan that will help them achieve these goals. Create both short term and long term plans, so after they have finished their initiation, they still feel as though the gym is guiding and supporting them.
Encourage a high frequency of visits. Attendance and retention are linked, and the more frequently a member visits the gym, the more likely they are to perceive value from their membership investment.
Manage expectations. The more information you can give members during the onboarding process, the better. If a member knows what to expect from the gym, they are less likely to feel disappointed when something they might have taken as a given is not a possibility. If a class always gets booked up in advance, for example, let them know this so they can decide whether that is important to them, rather than not letting them know and then risking disappointment or frustration after they have joined.
Provide incentives. Providing members with time-bound incentives can encourage them to continue attending the gym and will create a sense of urgency to do so. Anything from free PT sessions to vouchers in the cafe can help provide instant value and create a good first impression.
Track their engagement. Make sure that you have the tools in place to track member behaviour from the moment they join. Being able to use data collected and ascertain how engaged your members are will help you to identify when they are becoming at-risk and allow for intervention before the member is lost.
Follow up regularly. Don’t let a member feel as though they are no longer important to you. Make sure staff members follow up after the first 30, 60, and 90 days. Send induction emails and congratulatory emails when they have completed their first class, let them know of any discount, offers, or new classes – keep communicating and keep them engaged.
Ask for feedback. Remember, as part of your onboarding process you can ask new members what they liked, and where there is room for improvement. Take feedback seriously and act on it to demonstrate to customers that they are at the heart of everything you do.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
An onboarding process should be designed to educate, engage and entice new members so that they not only understand where to go and what to do at the gym but also start to build positive relationships with your team and fellow members, and provide them with excellent reasons to keep coming back time and time again.
To learn more about our powerful AI-driven retention tool, book a demo today.
Understanding CRM Systems to Improve Customer Retention July 4, 2019 •
What is a CRM system?
According to Bain & Company, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a process that companies use to understand their customer demographics and respond efficiently to changes in their customers’ preferences.
A CRM system, in turn, is a tool that enables a company’s’ CRM process. A CRM system compiles crucial customer data across different points of contact between the company and customers. Such data usually focuses on the unique features of the relationship that a customer has with a company. For example, how many times a customer has been contacted, how much business they’ve done with the company, and what sort of conversations have taken place between a customer and the company.
Why use a CRM system?
Customers are at the heart of every successful business. Increasingly, it has also been shown that careful attention to one’s customers is an important factor that determines whether or not a company makes it or breaks it. It is widely predicted that, by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator when making consumer choices. At the same time, customers are also growing increasingly discerning. More than ever before, customers are expecting higher standards from the customer service they receive, with many, as PwC found, even willing to pay more to ensure better service.
Thus, businesses must address the evolving demands of their consumers in order to supply effective customer service. As Harry Gordon Selfridge (the retail magnate behind department store chain Selfridges) once said: “People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.”
And what do customers consider better service? PwC found that nearly 80% of consumers point to speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service as the most important elements of a positive customer experience. Think With Google insights also indicate that consumers also expect more personalised service, and a “frictionless” transactional experience.
Thus, CRM systems can be a great asset in ensuring that these customer service features are provided to customers to improve both customer satisfaction and membership retention. In the next part of this article, we’ll explore how CRM systems do so.
How does a CRM system improve customer service?
As briefly mentioned, CRM systems keep a log of the relationship between a customer and the business. It consolidates customer information and documents into a single database, so business users can more easily access and manage such user data. This increases the efficiency of customer service interactions (for both customer and staff), the effectiveness of your customer service strategy, and reduces avoidable human error.
Accenture found that 89% of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives. Since CRM systems keep a detailed log of the relationship between a customer and the business, any changes in the staff members handling a customer’s case can be done with ease, since the representative can refer to the CRM system without the customer having to go through the pain of repeating themselves. In addition, since customer data is not ‘tied’ to any particular member of staff, staff can join and leave the business without customer data (and customer-business relationships!) being affected by such changes.
While efficiency certainly plays into how effective customer service is, only having a quick response is not enough. Imagine having an urgent or important concern that you want resolved from a business that you patronise. Now imagine that concern not being resolved, not because you didn’t get a response quick enough, but because the customer service representative you are speaking to is not informed enough about the issue at hand. That’s got to be frustrating, right? Indeed, 84% of consumers are frustrated when the agent does not have information.
However, with a robust CRM system, members of staff can, at any time, easily access a clear picture of any customer’s interaction with the brand. When staff are able to get accurate information about the customer they are dealing with, they are better positioned to make the best customer service decision possible.
3. Error reducing:
Finally, having a CRM system reduces human error. Without a standardised CRM system, data about your customers is at the mercy of the way that your staff takes notes on their interactions with clients. Sure, some of your staff may be extremely organised, meticulously making digital copies of everything they note down accessible to the whole team. However, more realistically, you may find notes about your clients lost on post-it notes, scribbled down on napkins, or not taken down at all in the first place! A CRM system protects you from such ‘nightmare’ scenarios.
In addition, CRM systems are another way for you to get an accurate snapshot of your customer demographic and the segments that it’s comprised of. This is an important aspect of risk scoring and targeted marketing, another important part of improving membership retention.
In summary, a good CRM system can elevate the standard of customer service that you can offer your clients, increase customer satisfaction, and boost your customer retention rates. What’s not to love?
Book a 30mins demo, to discover more about how you can take back control of member retention with our powerful retention tool.
Boost Member Retention By Motivating Your Gym Employees December 29, 2018 •
As Kotler stated in his 1994 article, “The key to customer retention is customer satisfaction.” The core of any effective membership retention strategy is creating a positive experience of your brand for your customer. Such a positive experience often entails two main components.
Some common ways that gyms attempt to improve customer service and create a sense of community in a gym include group classes, the gamification of member experiences, and strategic communication. However, there is one commonly overlooked aspect of gym management that, if well-managed, can drastically improve both customer service and customer’s sense of belonging in a gym – its employees. In this article, I’ll explore the important role that gym employees play in customer satisfaction and customer retention strategy.
The relationship between employees and member retention
The experience that gym staff have of the company that they work for, from higher management to the brand itself, has a strong impact on the membership retention rate of that company. Besides your customers, the best advocates for your business are your employees themselves.
The most straightforward way to find out what would motivate and encourage your employees is, simply, to just ask them. Never underestimate the power of creating an open channel of communication between employees and managers, particularly in organisations such as gyms, where gym owners and upper management rarely interact with gym staff on a day-to-day basis.
Find out what your employees enjoy most about their jobs, and what they enjoy least. If there are complaints that come up again and again, consider making some organisational changes. This process doesn’t have to be impractical or time-consuming. It could take the form of something as simple as feedback forms for employees to anonymously submit their thoughts about the company. If your employees feel heard, they’re more likely to feel valued by the organisation, which will, in turn, make them feel more connected to the company, and motivated to work hard.
Put down the carrots and sticks
It may seem tempting to ‘incentivise’ greater employee productivity through measures such as forcing employees to work for commission or to ‘incentivise’ better employee-customer engagement by mandating that employees engage with a certain number of customers every work day.
So, instead of constructing rigid organisational structures intending to compel employees to be more motivated and provide better customer service, how about investing in them instead? For example, employees of the health and fitness industry like personal trainers and group fitness instructors often have to invest large amounts of money into getting the necessary fitness qualifications to teach and improve in their career. A gym who wishes to invest in their employees could consider starting a ‘talent development fund’ to subsidise some of these training costs. This not only will make staff immediately feel valued, acknowledged, and supported, but will also improve the quality of service that they (and consequently, your gym) can provide to customers.
Create the right connections
Once you’ve succeeded in winning over your employees, don’t forget to connect them with your clients. 70% of customer perception of a brand is determined by experiences with people. For example, encourage your employees to interact with your clients on social media once they’ve left the gym, or create fun social events in the gym space that are open to both clients and employees. This will not only link up your strongest brand advocates (employees) with your customers, but will also foster a sense of community for both customers and employees alike.
In this article, we’ve explored the importance of the role that employees play in ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction and customer retention. So, the next time you’re looking for brand ambassadors, don’t forget – they’re right under your nose!