It happens all the time. Gym owners get so focused on marketing and sales that they forget the follow-up after the customer becomes a member or joins a program. We are taught that to increase revenue we need to increase our lead generation and make more sales. But a simple approach to increase revenue is by preventing revenue loss. You can do this by increasing gym member retention. This really is a simple fix. It will take a few hours to create a plan. Even less if you base it off the one I offer below. Then some additional time to train staff on the new procedure, purchase items for swag bags, and set up the automated systems needed. Once this is all in place, it will help increase your retention rate, prevent deteriorating membership, and foster a happier gym community. The video below will help you figure out where you’re at in terms of retention rate.
What is a Client Care Plan?
A client care plan is a way to show up for your clients throughout their fitness journey. A way to show them that you are interested in their success, their struggles, and their experience at your facility. You can create a plan that is as long as you want and has as many touch points as you want. In this article, I will give you our suggested 180-day customer care plan. It is a tool that we use in The Academy to help our clients increase their gym membership retention rates. You can take this plan and use it exactly as it is or you can adjust it and personalize it to your business.
Customer Care Starts Before the Sale:
Customer care begins before they decide to sign up for one of your offers. It starts with your marketing and then your sales process. Your advertising is the very first touch point that you have with your future clients. So you want to ensure that your marketing shows who you are as a gym. That it lets them know that you care about their fitness goals. That you are on their side. Along with giving them information about your offers and how they can sign up. You can learn more about marketing and advertising fundamentals here.
Now you’ve gotten their interest. They want to sit down with you to learn more about your programs. You want to make sure that you have a sales conversation process that makes them feel comfortable and excited to work with you. If you are using some sales script or techniques that are pushy, you may want to re-evaluate that. You may be getting sales, but ask yourself “How do they feel leaving the room?” Do they feel like they got pushed into something? If they do, they may not stick around or be motivated to reach their goals after a month or two. If you want them to feel excited about their fitness goals then you can learn our simple 5-step Sales Process here. This process sets them up for success by using their aspirations as an anchor to keep them involved when the going gets tough. This process alone is going to seriously help your retention rates!
The Day of the Sale:
The first thing you want to do when they choose to work with you is congratulate them. Celebrate their choice to get fit and begin reaching their goals. If you haven’t already, give them an in depth tour of the facility so they feel comfortable with the layout and know where everything is. Introduce them to a few trainers on the floor so they can start to feel like they are part of the community. If they are joining a program, one of your Front End Offers, (learn how to make one here) make sure that the trainer who runs the program knows that they are joining. Have them introduce them to the group so they feel welcomed and comfortable. The final thing you want to do is have a welcome bag prepared for them. It could be a branded bag with a tee-shirt, a foam roller, rest & recovery resources, nutrition guide or anything that fits with your offer.
These are the three things you want to make your new client feel:
- Welcomed and celebrated for making the choice to get fit
- A part of your gym community
- That they have made a positive choice and will reach their goals
On the first day they should receive an email directly from you. It does not need to be personalized, it could be a template that you use for all new members. Use this to reinforce everything from the day of the sale. Celebrate and congratulate them again. Include a schedule of training programs and how they can sign up. Also, anything that they need to know about your gym and what they can expect. You can go even further by including recommendations on nutrition, techniques to help with muscle soreness, or information about other providers that can help them on their fitness journey. The key is to give them lots of value and make them feel welcomed.
Send them a letter. Yes, I’m serious. Send them a postcard to their home mailbox. This is really going to wow them. You know the feeling when you’re going through your mail. “Bill. Bill. Advert. Bill. Woah! A postcard for me?” This is going to show that you really went out of your way for them, it just makes them feel good. It keeps you on their mind. The note doesn’t have to be anything specific or extravagant. It could simply say:
“Hey First Name, I just wanted to thank you for trusting us with helping you reach your fitness goals. I’m glad that you decided to join Gym Name. See you soon.”
Then sign your name. Make sure it is handwritten and directly from you. You can write these out in advance and have your staff send them out for you.
Give them a call. This is another way that you can show them that you personally care about their growth. You want to also see if there is anything that they are not enjoying about their experience. This is a great way to show them you care and gather information on what you and your staff could do better. Call them and ask how they are doing? Are they attending their program? Are they starting to see any results? Is there anything they need from you or your staff? It is always best for this call to come from you, the owner, but if you don’t have the time then a trainer or another staff member can make the call. Just make sure that they report back to you. If there is an issue, make sure that you directly address it with the member. You want to show that you and your staff are there to serve them and that you take it seriously.
Do the “First 30” check in. Set up a meeting with the client so you can check in on everything that is going on for them. If they are struggling you can remind them of their aspirations that they talked about in the sales conversation. This will help ground them and remind them of what they were committed to. You know how easily people can get distracted from their fitness goals. Maybe the thing they are struggling with is something they had mentioned as a previous challenge. Take this opportunity to coach them through it. This will benefit them greatly. Plus, if you can help them reach their goal then your gym will become known as the gym that can produce results for people. This will only help to generate more referrals which are so much easier to close in the sales conversation than leads generated in other methods. You can also use this conversation to upgrade their membership for a lower cost. They will walk away feeling proud to be a part of your gym.
After day 30, the client is officially onboarded. You’ve let them know what type of attention and service that you are going to give them. If any issue arises before day 60, promptly address the concerns. On day 60, you can have another sit down meeting to check in on progress. If there is something specific that they are struggling with you can help them by offering a free product. Maybe you offer supplements or books on nutrition at your gym. This is a good time to give them something free of charge to show how you are still invested and involved in their journey. Of course, you can use the same techniques discussed in “Day Thirty” to help them over their obstacles.
If they haven’t had the opportunity to upgrade to a higher tier membership this is a good time to make that offer. The best way to do this is by sending them a gift. Don’t bring them in for another sales conversation. Doing this may make them feel like you are more concerned with their money than their progress. You want to make this a very soft nudge in a new direction. Put together another “swag bag” and include a special offer to upgrade their membership. Make sure that the offer is specific to them and their needs so it doesn’t feel generic. The items in the swag bag can also be specific to their fitness goals. This is part of your customer care plan, make it more about giving them value and showing you care than making a sale.
At this point they have been with you for a half of a year. They are integrated into your gym community and they have probably seen some results. If they are still with you, there is a good chance they are going to be one of your long-term members. This is when you want to really finish off your customer care plan strong. Make a time to meet them for coffee or tea off property. Make it feel really informal and friendly so that you can get to know them a little more outside the realm of fitness. This will allow them to be open about their life. It will build a strong bond between you and your member. The more connections you have like this with your members the more your gym culture will reflect the community. They will know how invested you are in their lives. This will make your members want to bring in friends and family to become a part of your gym community.
Please take this customer care plan and implement it as soon as you can. Over the next few months you will be able to see the impact it has on your customer interactions and your gym culture. If you want to increase your membership retention rate then you need to build a strong gym community. The more people feel like they are a part of something, a family, the less likely they are to leave and abandon their own fitness goals. This customer care plan will help you foster the right kind of gym community.
If you are looking for help to know what is your next best step in growing your gym then fill out our quick Needs Assessment™. It will give you a free report of where you’re at with your business and tell you what you need to focus on next.