Besides moving or just flat out giving up on fitness people leave your gym for a reason. How can you provide the excellent experience that will keep them as a member? Create an exceptional experience! This is something marketers will often profess as a great idea. Duh, I hope no one plans on giving their clients a crappy experience. Thanks for the awesome advice Mr. marketer. The second problem with this solution is we need to define what exceptional means for your specific business. In our case it is fitness.
In fitness your gym needs to be clean and presentable, but coaching and client relationship skills need to be top notch also. Do not forget about results, one of the most important things to track and deliver.
Everyone has their opinion though. Take a look at a few comments I received…
“The gym is always so clean, we need more equipment to use though”
“I love how much open space their is, but it really needs a good cleaning.”
Some people care about more equipment and some people care about a clean facility. Others want a good deal and the next person needs more coaching. As an owner you need to give your clients exactly what they want. I will tell you right now what the number one thing is and that is results. If you do not deliver on your promise of fitness people will leave. Another key to figuring out what makes your specific clientele happy is…just ask.
Ask them in a few different ways. First email out a survey every couple months. Make it simple, quick and easy for them to fill out. What is important to them? What would they change? Here is an example of one I put together on Survey Monkey for free. Check it out HERE
The folks over at Social WOD have created a great survey for CrossFit owners to look over. “What Makes a Great Gym.” They surveyed over 200 athletes and asked some great questions. Hop over to their site and check out the free report, it is definitely worth a look! Social WOD
The second thing you can do is have a suggestion box in the gym. A simple box in the office or one in the gym that all the members know about is a perfect way to consistently get client feedback.
The third thing is send a quick email to people when they leave or quit asking them a few questions. Even if you know the reason already just drop them a line and ask what was your reason for leaving? did you enjoy your experience here? What is one thing you would change? This is two fold, if they were a satisfied client you can accumulate a long list of testimonials this way.
Exceptional is good, but you should always think about “wowing” your clients. Henry Ford said if he asked the people what they wanted they would have said “faster horses.” It was his ingenuity, creativity, and desire that lead him to develop something truly special. Sometimes even if you ask your clients they do not know what they really want.
So how can you wow your customers. Well I will give you a few examples that you are welcome to use, but remember to think outside the box and try to develop systems that work for you.
-1 month after someone joins you give them a personal phone call asking about their experience and what you can improve on. Selling nothing.
-People hit personal records, lose weight or make progress everyday what if you took a day every month and personally mailed a “Congratulations Card” to a few select people. The impact this can have is significant.
-If a member mentions a new book they want to get that involves some of the things you have been teaching them order it on the business from amazing (some books are under 5 bucks) and give it to them next time they are in the gym. Usually they will give it back and you can develop a library of books you lend out.
-Child care is a big reason people will attended a big box gym. What if you provided free child care. Give one of your younger members a free membership to come in for three hours a night to watch kids. The reaction you will have from parents will be amazing.
-Every gym has pot lucks and cookouts, but what if you the owner set it all up. Get it catered or grill yourself to save money. Call it your client appreciation dinner and they will be amazed at the effort you put forth to keep them happy.
Some require money, some require time and they all require effort. Keeping your gym clean, greeting your clients by their first name and being friendly are nice. But seriously step it up and imagine the things that will be said about your gym if you wow people. If 50 of your members write about the client appreciation dinner they just attended it will get the attention and drive in new business. The connections you will make and the stories people will share about your gym will be one of the best marketing tools you have on your tool belt.
If you have an idea for a wow strategy leave a comment below. I would love to hear about it.
5 Ways To Keep Your Trainers is another good read