As club and fitness center managers and leaders, you most likely spend all day and all year focused on one thing: member satisfaction. And with good reason: IHRSA reports that the annual attrition rate for members is almost 27%. That’s a third of your business that walks out of the door and doesn’t come back every calendar year. So, as we close the books on 2023 and implement plans for business growth this year and beyond, it’s a good idea to take the time to fully understand member preferences and satisfaction and to ask a critical question: just how strong is my fitness business? Here are five simple ways to answer that – and keep members engaged and coming back to help you grow.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Make a plan throughout the year to conduct frequent member satisfaction surveys in order to benchmark just what members like, dislike and more importantly, the things that need to change. Regular surveys via email, your club app and in-person at the club can help you identify any satisfaction shortfalls or opportunities to do better in a timely fashion. Include criteria like
cleanliness of the facility, the availability of specialty equipment at times of day and night, the overall effectiveness and variety of your fitness programs, as well as overall satisfaction with the services and club environment. Create metrics for responses and analyze the data to track up and down ticks in club, instructor, and trainer performances.
Member Retention Analysis
Every member that stays for the year ahead adds to bottom line growth. Track member retention rates by comparing the number of new memberships acquired early in the year versus the number who renewed their memberships. Analyze your data to determine trends and patterns in member retention, such as peak renewal times or common reasons for non-renewal. Understanding the strength or weakness of retention and more critically reasons for dissatisfaction will help your team proactively address the causes in future or maybe even reach out to cancelling members with a promise to do better that might bring them back on board. Be sure to analyze for trends related specifically to your things like pricing, promotions, policy changes and new offerings to help determine how receptive members are to your strategies and business decisions.
Use On-Demand and Streaming Technology
If you’re using a sophisticated on-demand content platform like Fitness On Demand work with your customer success representative and reporting to understand member response to your entire digital offerings. What types of class from cardio to core to winddown are engaging the most members? Are new library additions trending more than existing content? Engage members too in voting for their top on-demand classes or specialty workouts to identify areas for expansion in your library or focus on class type. Test reactions to streaming events too. How many at-home members are streaming live classes from the club and ask how it is possible to grow engagement. And what does app usage look like for accessing classes, downloading workouts and overall engagement. Your on-demand platform isn’t just about premium content delivery, it’s a live business tool to help you learn and make data-informed decisions to excite, engage and activate members.
Financial Health Assessment
Conduct a comprehensive financial analysis to assess the club's fiscal health at least once each year. This should include reviewing revenue streams, profit margins, and expense ratios. Analyzing financial data can help target areas of financial strength, potential cost-saving opportunities with services and staffing, as well as spotlight possible investments that may be needed to maintain standards or improve member usage and perceptions. Consider conducting a cost-benefit analysis for technology and equipment investments and how they contribute to the bottom line. You may find expanding your digital, mobile, and streaming offerings could be much more cost-efficient in reaching and empowering members versus a planned costly expenditure on equipment that will depreciate and age more quickly.
Mystery Shopping and Customer Service Audits:
Implement “mystery shopping” programs with outside assistance to get a true and accurate read on one critical element to member retention and growth: club experience. Your secret shopper should inquire about and monitor criteria including staff friendliness and helpfulness, responsiveness to requests and needs and adherence to your club policies. Insights gained can be very valuable in adapting staff training, refining the customer service process and delivering an overall member experience that is consistently high and continues to evolve.
In an industry where we’re always focused on our member customers, taking a step back to examine the methods, policies and ways in which you provide services to members can reveal a great deal about just how strong your member relationships and your business is for the year ahead.
Todd Wiginton is a seasoned fitness professional with over a decade of experience in the industry, currently serving as the Director of Operations at Fitness On Demand. His career, marked by roles such as Personal Training Manager and Strength and Conditioning Coach, showcases his dedication to fostering personal and professional growth in ever-changing environments.