Why Building Relationships improves Member Retention

Encouraging fitness staff to build positive customer relationships with gym members can have a significant impact on member retention.
September 26th, 2019
Why Building Relationships improves Member Retention

Updated - June 13 2023

Encouraging fitness staff to build positive customer relationships with gym members can have a significant impact on member retention.

Building positive, sustainable relationships is crucial when it comes to attracting and retaining new customers. For gym owners, this has never been more pertinent. With competition fiercer than ever, they cannot afford to lose customers due to poor customer experience.

Members want to feel a sense of belonging when it comes to their gym. It’s not just a place to get in shape, rather it’s a part of their routine and part of who they are. 

If a member feels emotionally connected to the gym and its community, they are much less likely to cancel their membership. Or be swayed by a competitor’s introductory offer. 

However, this can be difficult in busy gyms or 24-hour gyms where staffing levels can be sporadic and members can come at any time of the day or night.

Every interaction, therefore, has to be a valuable one. 

Member Retention – communication is key

A TRP study found that the most effective salespeople are the fitness staff themselves, revealing that fitness-staff members can generate 600% more income per member than salespeople alone.

The study also determined that frequent interaction between staff and gym members has a direct impact on how often members frequent the gym and how likely they are to renew their memberships when they come to an end.

This 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 daily to ensure that their experience is a positive one. Members need to be satisfied with the service they receive, and they are provided with opportunities to socialize and make friends.

On top of this, they need to see they are hitting their fitness goals, and making new ones when they do.

Data can be captured when members join a gym or through routine surveys or even via social listening. However, the ‘human intelligence’ gathered by staff who walk the floor and communicate with customers can provide enormous value. This shouldn’t be overlooked when trying to devise a smart member retention strategy. 

Fitness staff need to be trained in how to approach members and ask questions to generate meaningful and valuable feedback. 

They need to know how to engage in constructive dialogue with members consistently, so they feel valued, heard and motivated. 

This positive messaging, delivered face-to-face can have a significant impact on how members view their gym sessions. and the company.  It can even inspire them to share their positive experience thus strengthening trust and their impression of the brand. This will, in turn, increase brand loyalty and impress new potential members simultaneously. 

Member Retention and Customer Loyalty

Developing a loyal client base is imperative if gym owners hope to see retention rates improve. Recent studies have emphasized the vital relationship between customer satisfaction and retention and how important retention is for a business’s continued success. 

It is the role of member-facing staff to seek to understand member concerns and to answer their questions.

This deepens the emotional connection and fosters commitment and loyalty through the development of long-term relationships. 

Cultivating these personal relationships takes time and effort. But, by providing a unique, tailored experience for each member, meaningful relationships can flourish. 

It is, however, an ongoing process. Those members that are taken for granted or ignored will quickly disengage and become at risk of terminating their membership.

A Walker study revealed that customer experience would likely overtake price and product as the critical brand differentiator. Experience can, of course, be related to the products and services offered. But the experience of being at the gym and how staff members make customers feel will 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 member retention strategy. By being dedicated to exceeding expectations and providing unique experiences through strengthening bonds between members, the gym and the brand, owners can hope to see a rise in loyal, satisfied, spending customers and a subsequent increase in retention rates.

Closing the Loop

While gym staff needs to engage with customers, the knowledge and insight they gain need to be retained.

If they quit or, worse, go work for a competitor, all that member information goes with them. Build data capture into your processes. The more information staff members can add to each customer profile the more effectively they can be supported.

Capturing this zero-party data makes it easier to communicate with your members. It makes it easier to identify potential upsell opportunities or re-engage with members who are at risk of churn.

Utilize this data to personalize your communication campaigns to make sure your members receive the most relevant offers and services. 

The more relevant the communication the more likely members are to convert. 

To learn more about how you can utilize personalized communications to engage with your audience, get in touch today to request a demo.

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