Sure, clients always come and go, but have you noticed more of them going than coming lately?
Whether clients are stampeding out your door or leaving in a slow trickle, here are seven things that might be driving them to leave.
1. Unprofessional Staff
Nothing will send customers out the door faster than interacting with unprofessional staff. If you suspect your facility has a problem with inattentive, rude or just poorly educated staff when you're not around, consider contracting a few "secret shoppers" to give you their candid impressions.
2. Dirty Locker Rooms
Many people have a built-in "ick" factor when they step into a locker room.
They may be uncomfortable getting naked or having naked bodies around them, or just squeamish about the puddles left by wet towels or water from the shower. And that's with a clean locker room. Those same people will flee immediately -- and probably never come back -- if they find dirt tracked across the floor, piles of dirty towels or grime on the lockers. Don't let cleaning be a once-daily affair; contract cleaning staff to make frequent sweeps and touch-ups in the locker room, and have same-sex facility managers do frequent walkthroughs so they can quickly spot any trouble areas.
3. Dirty Workout Areas
Workout equipment gets sweaty, and while you should definitely provide sanitizing sprays and towels to your clients, it's ultimately up to you and your floor staff to make sure things are clean. A good rule is that if your floor staff doesn't have anything else to do, they should be wiping down equipment.
4. Rickety Equipment
You don't have to be an expert exerciser to recognize that a rickety squat rack is dangerous.
It's okay if your equipment isn't brand new, but it should always be clean and safe. Keep an eye out for loose frames, rusty equipment and frayed connectors that signal danger. If you can't make an immediate fix, hang an out of order sign on the equipment, then get it repaired ASAP.
5. Missing Basic Equipment
Do you have an assisted pull-up machine? How about a leg press machine, a squat rack, a vertical knee raise machine, a cable machine and several adjustable-incline benches? You don't need to have every piece of exercise equipment ever created, but if you're missing any of these staple pieces, your clients may start looking for alternative gyms.
6. No Childcare
Even serious bodybuilders and fitness fanatics have kids, and on-site childcare makes it easier for them to visit your facility frequently. If you offer the childcare as a free perk of membership, the parents will be that much more likely to come to your gym or upgrade their membership to receive that perk.
7. An Obnoxious Environment
Loud music blasting over the speakers is one example of what might drive your customers away, but if you've established a gym culture where that music is welcomed and even expected, turning it down may be just as disruptive. The key is to aim for consistency, and to stay tuned in to your customers and the type of environment they want.
Actively solicit feedback in your newsletters or social media engagement, but take it a step further by doing a follow-up phone call with new members and asking for their feedback, without trying to sell anything. You can do sporadic follow-ups with continuing members, or have your front desk staff ask them to fill out anonymous feedback cards when they come in.