What Your Loyal Club Members Care About Most

For Gym Operators

What Your Loyal Club Members Care About Most

Keeping your club members satisfied may be worth more than you think.

When you take into account marketing, sales and onboarding, it costs nine times more to acquire a new member than it does to retain an existing one. With that in mind, you may want to take a closer look at how you're encouraging and rewarding customer loyalty. Here are a few suggestions on how you can make sure your members keep coming back.

The following is a summarization of an education session from the 2015 IHRSA Convention, produced with full permission from IHRSA. The full-length video is available for purchase at ihrsastore.com.

About the Speaker

Richard Thomas is the Executive Vice President of Listen360, a company dedicated to helping companies build better customer relationships. 

Stuart Perrin is the Sales Director and Chief Operations Officer at Xercise4Less. He has extensive knowledge regarding budgets, operating activities, and management within the health and fitness industry.

Loyal clients typically spend more, come back more often, are less price sensitive, have higher retention rates, are less costly to market to, and tell their friends about your facility. Listen360 surveyed one million fitness and health clubs to collect data from loyal members about what they want most from fitness facilities, including gyms, boutiques, class-based wellness facilities, and children’s facilities.

Club member loyalty

The Top Five Things Clients Care Most About

  • Friendly staff, trainers and instructors
  • High-quality equipment available
  • Variety and schedule of classes and programs
  • Clean, well-maintained facilities
  • Good customer service

What Drives Clients Away

  • Too crowded, long wait for equipment
  • Broken equipment
  • Dirty locker rooms and shower
  • Insufficient class variety
  • Too expensive

Members Want You to Deliver on Basic Expectations

Members want to learn how to work out but do not always receive the help and support they need. Approach your customer service from the members’ perspective to meet their needs.

Members Want You to Address the Emotional Side of the Relationship

Members are not numbers. Learn their names, listen, and respond to their needs. Be sincere in your actions. People have the option of home workouts through online streams or videos. But those avenues do not provide human interaction and connections that gyms provide.

Members visit gyms to interact and connect with trainers who help them reach their fitness goals. Be inclusive and welcome members.

Members Want You to Follow Up in a Timely Manner

Engage with clients in a sincere way and be responsive to them. They must be a priority. Follow up with their progress and offer advice.

Members Want You to Empower Staff to Resolve Issues

Empower staff to address billing problems and basic customer services. Authorize your staff with some degree of power to address pressing issues and make decisions on their own, rather than delay a client resolution.

Make It Systematic

Measure, analyze, and improve your systems. Make this a part of your everyday management process and part of your staff’s daily tasks. Your business and your staff should be constantly growing and improving.

What Gets Measured Gets Done

Ask members how likely they’d be to recommend the club to a friend or associate. It is essential to measure loyalty between a business and a client. Specific metrics will allow you to predict business growth and create benchmarks, which can be used to determine whether your business is improving.

Break the data into categories such as gender, age, type of membership, and instructor. This will enable an understanding of root causes of failures or improvements. Analyze your data to delineate trends and determine the best business strategies to be executed.

Once you have gathered and analyzed the data, it’s time to improve. Follow up with clients in a timely manner, work hard to address their concerns. Share feedback with the employees responsible for customer service. Make changes that will impact your business positively.

Address complaints in a timely manner. Provide feedback through email and allow your members to submit feedback through email. Give your members a voice and let them know you care. Strive for a short reaction/response time.

Operational Infrastructure

Invest in software that automatically collects feedback as members use the facility. This unburdens staff while improving your business. Software sends immediate notifications of member concerns to you and your staff for a timely follow up. Visibility allows you to observe every level of your organization. Clients’ expectations change over time and monitoring your services will keep you on top of expectations.

Online reviews are very important but only a small percentage of businesses ask clients for online reviews. Once you have happy, loyal customers, ask them to review your business and services. Profitable, sustainable, and organic growth occurs most often when customers and employees enjoy their business relationship and willingly sing its praises.