This is a busy time for gym managers. Across the country people are making new year’s resolutions. Gym memberships will spike as people seek a healthier start to 2018. But getting new people in is only half the battle. After all, very few of them are resolving to become regular gym members. So how do you turn new and potential customers into a year-round cashflow boost?
According to 2017 YouGov research, the most popular new year’s resolutions relate to health and finance. The top 4 were: losing weight, improving fitness, saving money and improving diet. I imagine it will be similar this year, giving gyms an interesting challenge. Losing weight and improving fitness are key drivers of new gym memberships. The potential health benefits outweigh the extra cost. But the membership reality doesn’t always meet these expectations. Habits fade and the desire to save money becomes stronger. Churn increases and cashflow drops.

Understand new members’ expectations

The first step to strong customer retention is to understand how and why people signed up. Most gyms already do this quite well. They ask new members about their goals, preferences and previous experiences. To dig a little deeper, ask about why they chose you over other gyms and exercise options. What are their assumptions about the experiences they will get? Will they be comparing it to previous memberships or the service they get elsewhere?

Aggregate and share customer insights

Having asked new members about their needs and expectations, the next step is to make these insights actionable. To do this:
  • All staff need to be asking consistent questions. If different staff ask different questions, the data becomes much harder to aggregate.
  • Combine all the responses in a single location. Whether its a google sheet, shared folder or your CRM system, make the insights easy to find.
  • Summarise and share the key insights with all staff. Consistent decisions need everyone to be on the same page. Work out the key insights everyone should know, and capture them in a simple 1-page template.

Monitor real customer experiences

The final step is to track how expectations are aligning to reality. This requires asking consistent questions and listening to what members have to say.
  • Ask survey questions that align to the insights gained when members joined.
  • Make it easy for all members to share ad hoc feedback.
  • Collect customer comments made on social media.
As before, combine this feedback to create a simple view of real customer experiences. You can then see where and how experiences are delivering on customer expectations. This view gives you an early warning mechanism. You will see when customer experiences might need to reviewing. You will also see where it is customer expectations or choices that need to be changed.

Taking action

Increasing new member retention is more art than science. Different customers will need different experiences. To deliver these compelling experiences, and achieve customer and revenue growth:
  1. Ask consistent questions to build a deep understanding of your new members expectations
  2. Combine customer insights and share them across the team
  3. Keep your customer insights fresh, by monitoring how real experiences compare to expectations

Learn more

MyCustomerLens is an easy to use insight platform, custom-built to meet the needs of the sport and fitness industry. Our machine learning algorithms automatically capture, filter and tag actual customer comments. Online conversations, CRM and survey data are quickly transformed into a shared view of real customers in real-time. This enables gyms to make faster more informed decisions. Learn more about driving customer-led growth here.